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Another expensive nuclear weapons race about to take off

Are We Headed for Another Expensive Nuclear Arms Race? Could Be.   https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/world/europe/arms-race-russia-china.html, By Steven Erlanger,Aug. 8, 2019   BRUSSELS — After the recent death of the treaty covering intermediate-range missiles, a new arms race appears to be taking shape, drawing in more players, more money and more weapons at a time of increased global instability and anxiety about nuclear proliferation.

The arms control architecture of the Cold War, involving tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, was laboriously designed over years of hard-fought negotiations between two superpowers — the United States and the Soviet Union. The elaborate treaties helped keep the world from nuclear annihilation.

Today, those treaties are being abandoned by the United States and Russia just as new strategic competitors not covered by the Cold War accords — like China, North Korea and Iran — are asserting themselves as regional powers and challenging American hegemony.

The dismantling of “arms control,” a Cold War mantra, is now heightening the risks of a new era when nuclear powers like India and Pakistan are clashing over Kashmir, and when nuclear Israel feels threatened by Iran, North Korea is testing new missiles, and other countries like Saudi Arabia are thought to have access to nuclear weapons or to be capable of building them.

The consequence, experts say, is likely to be a more dangerous and unstable environment, even in the near term, that could precipitate unwanted conflicts and demand vast new military spending among the world’s biggest powers, including the United States.

If there’s not nuclear disarmament, there will be proliferation,” said Joseph Cirincione, a nuclear analyst and president of the Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation. “If big powers race to build up their arsenals, smaller powers will follow.”

As long as the big boys cling to their toys, others will want them,” he added, quoting the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei.

Not only are the big boys clinging to them, there are more big boys now, and they want more toys. Continue reading

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August 10, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

The IEA supports nuclear power, BUT realises that its future prospects are poor

June 3, 2019 Posted by | politics international, Women | Leave a comment

Despite misogyny, women continue to fight the reckless spending on nuclear weapons

May 25, 2019 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

Women poorly represented in, and disparaged by, the nuclear security “priesthood”

The Nuclear Weapons Sisterhood,  It’s hard for women to be hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security establishment. NYT, By Carol Giacomo, Ms. Giacomo is a member of the editorial board, May 15, 2019 In the mid-1990s, Laura Holgate, then a senior Defense Department official, was in Moscow leading a delegation to discuss ways the United States could help the Russians secure plutonium from dismantled nuclear weapons.

image – New York Times

After a male Russian official gave a confusing explanation about the Kremlin’s storage plans, she sought clarification. The Russian, his voice dripping with sarcasm, offered to “put this in terms a woman would understand” and then described loading plutonium into a “cooking pot and putting a lid on it.”

……. For women, people of color and transgender people, sexism, discrimination and harassment are often barriers to being hired, promoted or taken seriously in the national security bureaucracy — overseas and at home.

…….Women are particularly underrepresented in senior positions dealing with nuclear issues, according to a study by New America, part of a growing effort involving various groups and individuals to make the fields more welcoming to women.

Part of the problem is the discipline itself, the study found. Policies involving the building, deployment, targeting and use of nuclear weapons have long been the province of an insular, innovation-averse group of men. Discussions by this “priesthood” conflate national security and manliness with sexualized jargon about vertical erector launchers and thrust-to-weight ratios. The demand for nuclear orthodoxy has excluded outsiders, particularly women, placing them in a “consensual straitjacket” of conformity in a male-dominated world.

Just consider Donald Regan, the former White House chief of staff, who before President Ronald Reagan’s summit with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 said women were “not going to understand throw-weights” or other national security issues raised at the meeting.

The numbers show how this order became so entrenched. From the 1970s to 2019, the study found, women held 11 of 68 of senior positions dealing with nuclear weapons, arms control and nonproliferation at the State Department, 13 of 109 of these jobs at the now-defunct Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, five of 63 at the Defense Department, five of 36 at the Energy Department and two of 21 national security adviser positions. ……

To be successful in these posts so critical to national security, women pay a “gender tax,” performing “the constant mental and emotional calculus that comes with implicit sexism; explicit sexism and discrimination; gender and sexual harassment; and gendered expectations,” according to the New America study, based on interviews with 23 women who held senior government positions.

Nearly all of the 23 said they were harassed or saw others harassed, and when a foreign official was involved, the stress was magnified because it could cause an international incident.

During a round-table discussion with Global Politico in 2017, Laura Rosenberger, who spent 11 years at the State Department and the National Security Council, talked about wearing more pantsuits and baggier tops as a defense mechanism “to make myself seem less attractive in the workplace.”


Mieke Eoyang,
 who served 12 years as a staff member on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee, has described how she would walk into a meeting and be asked to get coffee or how a committee chairman cornered her at a reception to discuss his sexual prowess. ….

To encourage progress, Pamela Hamamoto, who served as United States ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, began a program called Gender Champions to identify international leaders committed to advancing women, and Ms. Holgate, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, replicated it in the United States. …..https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/opinion/women-national-security.html

May 16, 2019 Posted by | USA, Women | Leave a comment

Hanoi nuclear summit: Where were the women?

Hanoi Summit: Where were the women?Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists  By Rachel Emond, March 7, 2019 Based on the pictures from the second Trump-Kim summit, it looks like the women who spent the most time in the room where the leaders met were the interpreters.

This is a far cry from previous administrations that had women running or helping to run nuclear negotiations—Madeleine AlbrightCondoleezza RiceWendy Sherman, and Rose Gottemoeller, to name a few.

No doubt, there were women present at the margins in Hanoi. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was in the room with Vietnamese officials when the Trump administration pitched arms exports from the United States to their hosts. Kim Yo-jong—Kim Jong-un’s younger sister—was spotted holding an ashtray for the North Korean leader and mostly stayed not more than a few feet from her brother throughout the summit. Other women were serving in support roles back in Washington, but that’s not the same as being at the table.

So who are the women that have been most involved in the Trump-Kim summit process so far?……..

By excluding women from active negotiating roles, Washington and Pyongyang reduced their possible chances for success. There is no excuse for this, as there are scores of women experts on North Korea nuclear policy, and more who focus on the peace process. For example, Women Cross DMZ—a group of female activists working to achieve a peaceful end to the Korean conflict—places a special emphasis on the role that women should play in peace negotiations. Their philosophy is not baseless. According to research, peace agreements that are signed by women feature higher-quality content and higher rates of implementation than those not signed by women, and therefore lead to longer-lasting agreements. On the whole, women are also more likely to insist that parties stay at the table until an agreement is made. There were a lot of factors that played into the outcome (or lack thereof) of the summit in Hanoi, but to ensure future success, leaders in Washington and Pyongyang should think about bringing more women to the next negotiations. …… https://thebulletin.org/2019/03/hanoi-summit-where-were-the-women/?utm_source=Bulletin%20Newsletter&utm_medium=iContact%20email&utm_campaign=WomenatSummit_030720

March 12, 2019 Posted by | politics international, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

The over-looked solution to climate change – equality for women

Gender equity is the most overlooked solution for climate change https://www.fastcompany.com/90274155/gender-equity-is-the-most-overlooked-solution-for-climate-change

Gender and climate are inextricably linked.” BY ADELE PETERS, 30 Nov 18

The list of solutions to climate change usually focuses on technology: solar power, electric cars, devices that suck carbon out of the atmosphere. But one impactful solution is often overlooked.

At TEDWomen, TED’s conference focused on women and girls, environmentalist Katharine Wilkinson explained why gender equity is a critical piece of addressing climate change. “Gender and climate are inextricably linked,” said Wilkinson, one of the authors of Project Drawdown, a book that takes a deep dive into the most effective ways to fight global warming, and found that empowering women and girls was one of the top solutions.

Women and girls face more risks as the climate changes, from higher odds of being killed during a natural disaster to a greater risk of being forced into an early marriage or prostitution if prolonged drought or floods destroy a family’s finances. But improving gender equity can also directly impact emissions.

In lower-income countries, female farmers grow most of the food on small farms. But women don’t have the same access to resources as men who farm–from credit to training and tools. “They farm as capably and efficiently as men, but this well-documented disparity in resources and rights means women produce less food on the same amount of land,” said Wilkinson. When farms are less productive, that leads to deforestation, as farmers clear more land to grow the same amount of food. If women had the same tools as male farmers, Project Drawdown calculates that they could grow 20-30% more food on the same amount of land. That translates into 2 billion tons of emissions that could be avoided between now and 2050.

Gender equity in education also matters for the climate. One-hundred-thirty million girls still don’t have the right to attend school. When girls go to school, it changes many things–their health, their financial security, and their agency. But it also means that they’re more likely to marry later and choose to have fewer children. Family size is also obviously impacted by access to contraception; hundreds of millions of women say that they want to decide when to have children, but aren’t using contraception. If women have the right to choose to have smaller families, it could lead to one billion fewer people inhabiting Earth by midcentury, and dramatically reduced demand for food, electricity, and other basic services. That could mean avoiding 120 billion tons of emissions.

“If we gain ground on gender equity, we also gain ground on addressing global warming,” Wilkinson said.

December 1, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Women | Leave a comment

Study shows that women care more than men do, about climate change

Gender Differences in Public Understanding of Climate Change, Yale Program on Climate Change Communication By Matthew BallewJennifer MarlonAnthony Leiserowitz and Edward Maibach , 21 Nov 18, While political views play a strong role in Americans’ opinions on climate change, there are many other individual, social, and cultural factors that influence public understanding of the issue. Here we explore how views on climate change differ between men and women. A large body of research shows a small—but consistent—gender gap in environmental views and climate change opinions. On average, women are slightly more likely than men to be concerned about the environment and have stronger pro-climate opinions and beliefs. Scholars have proposed several explanations for this gender gap, including differences in gender socialization and resulting value systems (e.g., altruism, compassion), perceptions of general risk and vulnerability, and feminist beliefs including commitment to egalitarian values of fairness and social justice. Some researchers also note that some of the strongest gender differences are found in concern about specific environmental problems, particularly local problems that pose health risks.In our research, we find that, although a similar proportion of men and women think global warming is happening and is human-caused, women consistently have higher risk perceptions that global warming will harm them personally, and will harm people in the U.S., plants and animals, and future generations of people (Fig. 1 on original). Also compared with men, a greater proportion of women worry about global warming, think that it is currently harming the U.S., and support certain climate change mitigation policies, specifically regulating CO 2 as a pollutant and setting strict CO 2 limits on coal power plants……….

on average, women scored lower than men in scientific knowledge on climate change ……..Women were also more likely than men to express uncertainty about a variety of questions. For instance, respondents were asked how much several factors contribute to global warming (e.g., deforestation, nuclear power plants, burning fossil fuels, the sun, cars and trucks). Across many of these questions, a greater proportion of women said “don’t know” than did men

Closing gender gaps in knowledge and understanding of the problem, therefore, ought to receive more attention in climate education and outreach efforts to further engage and empower women in climate issues. This is especially important because women are more likely than men to be harmed by environmental problems like climate change—both nationally and globally. In a recent BBC News Science & Environment article, U.N. data show that globally women make up 80% of people who are displaced by climate change. Because women in many countries tend to have roles as primary caregivers and food providers—and tend to have less socioeconomic power than men—they are more vulnerable to climate problems including natural hazards like flooding, droughts, and hurricanes. In the U.S., for instance, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research reported that 83% of low-income, single mothers did not return to their homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. In terms of public health, air pollution is considered a leading threat to pregnant women and their babies-to-be.

Women play an essential role in responding to climate change. In fact, out of 100 substantive climate solutions identified through rigorous empirical modeling, improving the education of women and girls represents one of the top solutions (#6) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming—similar in ranking to restoring tropical forests and ranking above increased solar energy generation. Women in leadership positions can also foster climate policy solutions. A study on gender equality and state-level environmentalism found that, across 130 countries, women in government positions were more likely to sign on to international treaties to reduce global warming than men. Promoting the participation of diverse women in leadership positions, as well as climate science, can also inspire young women to participate too.

……… For more information on survey methods, please review the 2010 Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change report and 2018 Climate Change in the American Mind reporthttp://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/gender-differences-in-public-understanding-of-climate-change/

November 22, 2018 Posted by | climate change, USA, Women | 1 Comment

Study of 120,000 hibakusha atomic bomb survivors shows raised risk of breast cancer

October 29, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women, Women | Leave a comment

Gender and radiation impact project 

 https://www.genderandradiation.org/basics

“For too long, girls and women have been invisible in the construction of radiation standards to protect heath. We are ready to expand the research base and collective will to change this – starting right now.”

— Mary Olson, Founder

THE BASICS

It is widely known that ionizing radiation – radioactivity powerful enough to strip electrons from atoms, break chemical bonds of molecules, and even break chromosomes – can be extremely harmful to humans. Even at low levels, ionizing radiation has the potential to cause DNA damage resulting in an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells, or what is commonly known as cancer.  

While this public health threat impacts us all, the risk is dramatically greater for women and girls.

For every two men who develop cancer through exposure to ionizing radiation, three women will get the disease.Further, while children as a whole are more harmed by radiation than adults, infant and young girls, when exposed, run the highest risk of cancer across their lifetime, and teenage girls will suffer almost double rates of cancer compared to boys in the same juvenile group and the same level of exposure.

The information above, derived from data contained in the 2006 National Academy of Sciences Report Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation VII, or BEIR VII, clearly shows that gender is a major factor in determining who suffers harm from exposure to ionizing radiation, yet this fact has not been widely reported and is not reflected in regulations or practice.

Yet, there is reason to hope. With the participation of 135 nations, the preamble of the 2017 UN Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was written to include the following stanza:

Cognizant that the catastrophic consequences of nuclear weapons cannot be adequately addressed, transcend national borders, pose grave implications for human survival, the environment, socioeconomic development, the global economy, food security and the health of current and future generations, and have a disproportionate impact on women and girls, including as a result of ionizing radiation (emphasis added)

The fact this treaty was crafted to include language referring to impact on girls and women demonstrates we have a window to examine why this is the case, which will lead to better and healthier solutions for everyone.

It is time to ask the right questions and educate the public about the policy and lifestyle choices related to ionizing radiation.

October 18, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Women | 1 Comment

Trump to address U.N. on nuclear non proliferation (pardon my mirth)

September 21, 2018 Posted by | weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

Korean women lead the peace movement , supported by international delegation of women

Seventy Years After Korea’s Division, Women Lead Push for Peace Truthout,  May 25, 2018By Jon Letman,    When scores of Korean women representing a coalition of some 30 peace groups and NGOs entered South Korea’s National Assembly on the banks of Seoul’s Han River, they weren’t alone. This week, the Korean peace makers were joined by an international delegation of women peace activists for a symposium focused on ending the Korean War. A women’s peace walk along the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) is scheduled for May 26.

For the fourth time since 2015, these activists gathered to strategize how to most effectively advance peace on the Korean Peninsula and support diplomatic efforts to that end. #WomenPeaceKorea delegates’ efforts include engaging with South Korean government officials, foreign diplomats and US embassy officials.

Most of the international delegates are members of Women Cross DMZ and the Nobel Women’s Initiative who have traveled to Seoul to lend their support and raise awareness of the vital role women play in ending conflict.

Multiple studies have shown that when women participate in negotiations, the likelihood of achieving peace increases substantially and that peace lasts longer.

Ahn Kim Jeong-ae, one of the symposium’s organizers, said the diplomatic thaw between North and South Korea makes this week’s events even more crucial.

Ahn Kim noted that 2018 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of separate governments in Seoul and Pyongyang. This spring was also the 70th anniversary of the April 3 incident in which some 30,000 civilians on South Korea’s Jeju Island were massacred over a seven-year period when US military-backed right-wing forces violently purged opponents of a divided and occupied Korea.

“We want to commemorate these historical facts on May 24, International Women’s Day for Disarmament and Peace,” Ahn Kim said, noting that because women suffer disproportionately in war, they have a critical role to play in conflict resolution.

A Change in Tone

Christine Ahn is the international coordinator for Women Cross DMZ, which crossed from North to South Korea in 2015. She said the fact that this year’s symposium was held at the National Assembly (the South Korean equivalent of the US Congress), was “hugely significant.”

Unlike in 2015, when Women Cross DMZ was barely acknowledged by South Korea’s Ministry of Unification, this year’s symposium was financed by the South Korean Ministry of Gender, Equality and Family, Ahn said.

The difference reflects a dramatic change from the administration of deposed South Korean President Park Guen-hye to the progressive administration of current President Moon Jae-in, who favors engagement with the North.……..http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/44590-seventy-years-after-korea-s-division-women-lead-push-for-peace

 

May 26, 2018 Posted by | politics international, Women | Leave a comment

The carbon footprint of huge digital data centres

Energy Hogs: Can World’s Huge Data Centers Be Made More Efficient?
The gigantic data centers that power the internet consume vast amounts of electricity and emit 3 percent of global CO2 emissions. To change that, data companies need to turn to clean energy sources and dramatically improve energy efficiency.
 Yale  Environment 360   

The cloud is coming back to Earth with a bump. That ethereal place where we store our data, stream our movies, and email the world has a physical presence – in hundreds of giant data centers that are taking a growing toll on the planet.

Data centers are the factories of the digital age. These mostly windowless, featureless boxes are scattered across the globe – from Las Vegas to Bangalore, and Des Moines to Reykjavik. They run the planet’s digital services. Their construction alone costs around $20 billion a year worldwide.

The biggest, covering a million square feet or more, consume as much power as a city of a million people. In total, they eat up more than 2 percent of the world’s electricity and produce 3 percent of CO2 emissions, as much as the airline industry. And with global data traffic more than doubling every four years, they are growing fast.

Yet if there is a data center near you, the chances are you don’t know about it. And you still have no way of knowing which center delivers your Netflix download, nor whether it runs on renewable energy using processors cooled by Arctic air, or runs on coal power and sits in desert heat, cooled by gigantically inefficient banks of refrigerators.

We are often told that the world’s economy is dematerializing – that physical analog stuff is being replaced by digital data, and that this data has minimal ecological footprint. But not so fast. If the global IT industry were a country, only China and the United States would contribute more to climate change, according to a Greenpeace report investigating “the race to build a green internet,” published last year.

Storing, moving, processing, and analyzing data all require energy. Lots of it. The processors in the biggest data centers hum with as much energy as can be delivered by a large power station, 1,000 megawatts or more. And it can take as much energy again to keep the servers and surrounding buildings from overheating.

Almost every keystroke adds to this. Google estimates that a typical searchusing its services requires as much energy as illuminating a 60-watt light bulb for 17 seconds and typically is responsible for emitting 0.2 grams of CO2. Which doesn’t sound a lot until you begin to think about how many searches you might make in a year.

And these days, Google is data-lite. Streaming video through the internet is what really racks up the data count. IT company Cisco, which tracks these things, reckons video will make up 82 percent of internet traffic by 2021, up from 73 percent in 2016. Around a third of internet traffic in North America is already dedicated to streaming Netflix services alone.

Two things matter if we are to tame these runaway beasts: One is making them use renewable or other low-carbon energy sources; the other is ramping up their energy efficiency. On both fronts, there is some good news to report. Even Greenpeace says so. “We are seeing a significant increase in the prioritization of renewables among some of the largest internet companies,” last year’s report concluded.

More and more IT companies are boasting of their commitment to achieving 100 percent reliance on renewable energy. To fulfil such pledges, some of the biggest are building their own energy campuses. In February, cloud giant Switch, which runs three of the world’s top 10 data centers, announced plansfor a solar-powered hub in central Nevada that will be the largest anywhere outside China.

More often, the data titans sign contracts to receive dedicated supply from existing wind and solar farms. In the U.S., those can still be hard to come by. The availability of renewable energy is one reason Google and Microsoft have recently built hubs in Finland, and Facebook in Denmark and Sweden. Google last year also signed a deal to buy all the energy from the Netherlands’ largest solar energy park, to power one of its four European data centers.

Of the mainstream data crunchers for consumers, Greenpeace singled out Netflix for criticism. It does not have its own data centers. Instead, it uses contractors such as Amazon Web Services, the world’s largest cloud-computing company, which Greenpeace charged with being “almost completely non-transparent about the energy footprint of its massive operations.” Amazon Web Services contested this. A spokesperson told Yale Environment 360 that the company had a “long-term commitment to 100 percent renewable energy” and had launched a series of wind and solar farm projects now able to deliver around 40 percent of its energy. Netflix did not respond to requests for comment.

Amazon Web Services has some of its largest operations in Northern Virginia, an area just over the Potomac River from Washington D.C. that has the largest concentration of data centers in the world. Virginia gets less than 3 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, plus 33 percent from nuclear, according to Greenpeace.

Some industry insiders detect an element of smoke and mirrors in the green claims of the internet giants. “When most data center companies talk about renewable energy, they are referring to renewable energy certificates,” Phillip Sandino, vice-president of data centers at RagingWire, which has centers in Virginia, California, and Texas, claimed in an online trade journal recently. In the U.S. and some other countries, renewable energy certificates are issued to companies generating renewable energy for a grid, according to the amount generated. The certificates can then be traded and used by purchasers to claim their electricity is from a renewable source, regardless of exactly where their electricity comes from. “In fact,” Sandino said, “the energy [the data centers] buy from the power utility is not renewable.”

Others, including Microsoft, help sustain their claims to carbon neutrality through carbon offsetting projects, such as investing in forests to soak up the CO2 from their continued emissions.

All this matters because the differences in carbon emissions between data centers with different energy sources can be dramatic, says Geoff Fox, innovation chief at DigiPlex, which builds and operates centers in Scandinavia. Using data compiled by Swedish state-owned energy giant Vattenfall, he claims that in Norway, where most of the energy comes from hydroelectricity, generating a kilowatt-hour of electricity emits only 3 grams of CO2. By comparison, in France it is 100 grams, in California 300 grams, in Virginia almost 600 grams, in New Mexico more than 800 grams.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern about the carbon footprint of centers being built for Asian internet giants such as Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba in China; Naver in South Korea; and Tulip Telecom in India. Asia is where the fastest global growth in data traffic is now taking place. These corporations have been tight-lipped about their energy performance, claims Greenpeace. But with most of the region’s energy coming from coal-fired power stations, their carbon footprint cannot be anything but large.

Vattenfall estimates the carbon emissions in Bangalore, home of Tulip’s giant Indian data center, at 900 grams per kilowatt-hour. Even more troubling, the world’s largest center is currently the Range International Information Hub, a cloud-data store at Langfang near the megacity of Tianjin in northeast China, where it takes more than 1,000 grams of CO2 for every kilowatt-hour.

Almost as important as switching data centers to low-carbon energy sources is improving their energy efficiency. Much of this comes down to the energy needed to keep the processors cool. Insanely, most of the world’s largest centers are in hot or temperate climates, where vast amounts of energy are used to keep them from overheating. Of the world’s 10 largest, two are in the desert heat of Nevada, and others are in Georgia, Virginia, and Bangalore.

Most would dramatically reduce their energy requirements if they relocated to a cool climate like Scandinavia or Iceland. One fast-emerging data hub is Iceland, where Verne Global, a London company, set up its main operation.

…….. Greenpeace says the very size of the internet business, and its exposure to criticism for its contribution to climate change, has the potential to turn it from being part of the problem to part of the solution. Data centers have the resources to change rapidly. And pressure is growing for them to do so.The hope is that they will bring many other giant corporations with them. “The leadership by major internet companies has been an important catalyst among a much broader range of corporations to adopt 100 percent renewable goals,” says Gary Cook, the lead author of the Greenpeace report. “Their actions send an important market signal.”

But the biggest signal, says Fox, will come from us, the digital consumers. Increasingly, he says, “they understand that every cloud lives inside a data center. And each has a different footprint.” We will, he believes, soon all demand to know the carbon footprint of our video streams and internet searches. The more far-sighted of the big data companies are gearing up for that day. “I fully expect we may see green labelling for digital sources as routine within five years.” https://e360.yale.edu/features/energy-hogs-can-huge-data-centers-be-made-more-efficient

April 4, 2018 Posted by | climate change, Reference, Women | Leave a comment

Women, today and always, understand and fight the peril of nuclear war, nuclear pollution

WOMEN WILL RID THE WORLD OF NUCLEAR BOMBS, https://www.damemagazine.com/2018/03/09/women-will-rid-the-world-of-nuclear-bombs/ While Trump and Kim Jong-un plan to compare button sizes, female activists are working to erase nuclear threat. But will it be enough?, Dame,  

During this dangerous time, women are leading the charge to eradicate weapons of mass destruction and forestall nuclear war. We saw this most recently in the 2017 U.N. Treaty to Prohibit the Use of Nuclear Weapons. Approved with 122 states voting for, and one against, it is the first legally binding global ban on nuclear weapons, with the intention of moving toward their complete elimination. The preamble to the treaty recognizes the maltreatment suffered as a result of nuclear weapons, including the disproportionate impact on women and girls, and on indigenous peoples around the world. The treaty has been predominantly championed and promoted by women.

My interest in nuclear issues began nearly 10 years ago when I first uncovered my mother’s work as an antinuclear activist with a group called Women Strike for Peace. I have been following women doing nuclear activism all over the world—writing about them, protesting with them, teaching about them in my university classes—and I often bring my daughter with me. My mother’s story is being passed down through an intergenerational maternal line, and with it, the activism that may help save the world, or at least help shift its view on disastrous weapons. Learning about my mother’s work radically changed my perception of her. It also changed my life.

Between 1945 and 1963, more than 200 atmospheric, underwater, and space nuclear bomb tests were conducted by the U.S., primarily in the Nevada desert and the Marshall Islands. Hundreds more took place around the world. In many instances citizens were not informed of the tests, nor were they warned of their effects. The negative health impacts of the testing and exposure to ionizing radiation turned out to be vast: early death, cancer, heart disease, and a range of other incurable illnesses, including neurological disabilities, weakened immune systems, infertility, and miscarriage. Ionizing radiation damages genes (it is mutagenic), so the health ramifications of exposures are passed down through the generations.

In the 1950s, scientists concerned with the health impacts of bomb testing and the spread of ionizing radiation conducted the St. Louis Baby Tooth Survey. The survey showed that radioactive fallout had traveled far and wide. Cow and breast milk contaminated with the isotope strontium 90 had entered children’s teeth. Strontium 90 metabolizes as calcium and these isotopes remain active in the body for many years. When Dagmar Wilson and Bella Abzug—who went on to become a Congresswoman and co-founder of the National Women’s Political Caucus with Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan—learned the results of the Baby Tooth Survey, they formed Women Strike for Peace. The group brought together concerned mothers from across the U.S. The women organized. First within their communities. And then, 50,000 mothers protested across the country, and 15,000 descended on Washington, D.C. for Women’s Strike for Peace Lobbying Day on November 1, 1961. My mother was one of those 15,000 protestors. The group’s efforts brought vast political attention to the dire health consequences of radioactive fallout and led to the banning of atmospheric bomb testing by the U.S., Great Britain, and the former Soviet Union in 1963, with the signing of the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

Women Strike for Peace reflects a cultural nuclear gender binary—with women constructed as peaceful antinuclear protectors of children and the nation, and men positioned as perpetrators of nuclear war—the designers, planners, and regulators of weapons of mass destruction.

Has this exclusion of women from nuclear decision-making led to our current crisis—a host of locations worldwide contaminated with radioactive waste, and the great potential for nuclear war? Leading anti-nuclear activists seem to think so.

Since the dawn of the nuclear age men have dominated and controlled nuclear weapons design and policy. As Benjamin A. Valentino, Associate Professor of Government, and Coordinator, War and Peace Studies Program, Dickey Center for International Understanding at Dartmouth College says, it is only recently that women have had access to positions of power in the military sphere. This is true in weapons’ sciences and engineering as well. While many women worked on the Manhattan Project, most held administrative roles. Has this exclusion of women from nuclear decision-making led to our current crisis—a host of locations worldwide contaminated with radioactive waste, and the great potential for nuclear war? Leading anti-nuclear activists seem to think so.

Carol Cohn, founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights at the University of Massachusetts-Boston suggests that nuclear-weapons discourse is deeply rooted in hegemonic patriarchy. In nuclear techno-language metaphors of male sexual activity are used to describe nuclear violence. Nuclear missiles are referred to in phallic terms. The violence of nuclear war is described in abstract and impersonal terms, such as “collateral damage.” In her recent New York Times op-ed, Cohn finds it unsurprising that hypermasculine nuclear language has surfaced so blatantly today with Trump’s tweets about the size of his nuclear button and his overall muscular championing of expanding the nuclear weapons complex.

Following the Women Strike for Peace model, legions of anti-nuclear NGOs worldwide are predominantly led by women, including Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Reaching Critical Will, the German Green Party, Mothers for Peace, Just Moms (St. Louis), International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, Green Action Japan, the women of Koondakulam in India, the antinuclear nuns Megan Rice, Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, and many more.

At the U.N. conference to ban nuclear weapons in 2017, I asked Civil Society experts and participants about the importance of women as leaders in the antinuclear movement, and about the hegemony of masculinity in the nuclear weapons complex.

“Of course many men support disarmament and have participated in the treaty and current anti-nuclear efforts in general, but women overwhelmingly lead,” said Tim Wright, of the Australian branch of ICAN. ICAN won the 2017 Nobel Prize for their work on The Treaty to Prohibit the Use of Nuclear Weapons.

Ray Acheson, of Reaching Critical Will, said the proliferation of nuclear weapons is deeply embedded in “a misogynist and hegemonic culture of violence.” She stated this culture is oppressive to women, LGBTQ, the poor, and people of color, and, “we must smash patriarchy.” Such is the feminist cry heard around the world, but in this case, it might actually save us.

Beatrice Fihn, director of ICAN, explained that men are raised to be violent, to think it’s necessary to resolve differences through force, while “women, conversely, are socially trained to negotiate and compromise.”

According to Fihn, the problem in a patriarchal world is that peaceful negotiations are viewed as weak. The U.S. misogynist-in-chief feels we must drop nuclear bombs, expand our nuclear arsenal, and strong-arm competing nations, such as North Korea and Russia. The very act of supporting disarmament efforts in a patriarchal framework places “you in a feminine category,” Fihn stressed. “Those in favor of abolishing nuclear weapons, whether male or female, are characterized in negative, feminized terms. This characterization must be changed. It is not weak to abolish weapons of mass destruction. It is life-affirming.”

Women better understand this because they are the ones in charge of improving quality of life for all. Women most often function as caretakers of children and the elderly, they are aware of the human cost of war and radioactive disaster. When thinking about nuclear war, they wonder, if war breaks out, “How will we feed our children, how will we feed our sick? What will happen to our communities?” Fihn says she fears nuclear violence in respect to the safety of her own children. Fihn’s concern for her children echoes the concerns of my mother and her antinuclear cohort in the 1950s and ’60s. Like Fihn, they worked to save their children—all children—from radiation contamination and nuclear war. I hope I can carry on that legacy, and that my daughter chooses to pick up the cause as well.

For the 2017 UN Treaty to Prohibit the Use of Nuclear Weapons, women helped prepare key elements of the document and gave vital health testimony. Particularly poignant were tales from Australian Indigenous, Marshallese, and Hibakusha (Hiroshima and Nagasaki survivors) women. I interviewed many of these women. Abacca Anjain-Madison, a former Senator of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, told me that between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. conducted 67 nuclear bomb tests on the Atoll Islands. Many babies born during the testing period resembled jellyfish and died quickly after their births. The Marshallese developed very high rates of cancer (and other diseases) as a result of ionizing radiation exposures. Now, with climate change, the radioactive dangers persist. Rising sea levels threaten the Runit Dome—a sealed space that contains large amounts of radioactive contamination. The dome has also begun to crack, and the U.S. has no plans to assist Marshallese with this crisis. They finished the cleanup and sealed the dome in 1979. Abacca Anjain-Madison asserts the clean up was not sufficient and the dome was never meant to be permanent. The Marshallese to do not have the means to protect themselves from the impending disaster.

Mary Olson, Southeast Director of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, gave a presentation at the UN on the unequal health impacts of radiation exposures. Women remain unaccounted for in nuclear regulatory safety standards. Based on the data set from the BEIR VII report that both Olson and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research have studied, women are twice as likely to get cancer, and nearly twice as likely than men to die from cancer associated with ionizing radiation exposures. Children are five to 10 times more likely to develop cancer in their lifetimes from radiation exposures than adult males, and girls are most vulnerable of all. Scientists do not yet understand why there is an age and gender disparity. The standard “reference man” by which radiation safety regulations are set are based on a white adult male. Olson and Makhijani argue that safety regulations must change to account for age and gender disparities. Further studies are needed to assess how people of different races are impacted by radiation exposures. To date, no such completed studies exist.

At the closing of the conference and signing of the 2017 UN Treaty to Prohibit the Use of Nuclear Weapons, two speeches were made—one by Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, and leading campaigner for the prohibition of nuclear weapons. Abacca Anjain-Madison of the Marshall Islands also spoke.

Setsuko Thurlow told her story of beholding the bomb dropping on her city in 1945. She described how, as an 13-year-old child, she witnessed the death of her brother, and “unthinkable” violence thrust upon on her people. For Thurlow, the signing of the UN Treaty to ban nuclear weapons is a miracle, but she believes we must rid the world of weapons entirely. She will not give up her efforts until that day comes. Neither will I.

Heidi Hutner is a writer and professor at Stony Brook University in New York. She teaches and writes about ecofeminism, literature, film and environmental studies. Currently, Hutner is working on a narrative nonfiction book manuscript titled, “Accidents Can Happen: Women and Nuclear Disaster Stories From the Field.”   Find her @HeidiHutner

March 31, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, weapons and war, Women | 1 Comment

Women lead in USA campaign to protect the world from a U.S. nuclear trigger finger

Some cities and states are taking their own initiative to protect the world from a U.S. trigger finger. And they’re mostly led by women.

Dropping an atomic bomb doesn’t happen as fast as it does in the movies. There’s no room with a red, shiny “nuclear button” primed for the pressing. But in the U.S., launching a nuclear weapon does depend on just one trigger finger: The President’s.

Peace builders, activists, and congressional leaders have tried unsuccessfully to take away this unilateral ability since the Cold War, when nuclear war with Russia felt imminent daily. Now, the threat looms again, as tensions between North Korea and the U.S. simmer—and a new group of local legislators are taking the lead.

A broad coalition of representatives, delegates, and state senators from eight states (California, Georgia, Vermont, Maryland, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Iowa) have begun pushing resolutionsthat put additional pressure on Congress to stop the president’s first-strike powers. And cities such as Northampton, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and counties across Washington State have drafted local resolutions of their own.

 As it turns out, almost all of them are sponsored by women. This is no coincidence. In fact, women have been leading nuclear deterrence efforts since the height of the Cold War………https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/03/nuclear-disarmament-women/555854/?utm_source=twb

March 27, 2018 Posted by | USA, weapons and war, Women | Leave a comment

Remembering Katsuko Saruhashi’s pioneering scientific achievement and anti nuclear work

KATSUKO SARUHASHIThe first woman to earn a chemistry PhD in Japan traced the global reach of nuclear fallout https://qz.com/1235386/katsuko-saruhashi-todays-google-doodle-celebrates-the-outspoken-geochemist-and-nuclear-pacifist/    Katsuko Saruhashi, a Japanese geochemist, became one of the leading voices in nuclear disarmament and female empowerment through her work in the late 20th century. She’s being memorialized today (March 22) with a Google Doodle on what would have been her 98th birthday.

Saruhashi, born in Tokyo in 1920, lived through World War II as a young adult. Global events undoubtedly shaped her field of research.

Katsuko Saruhashi’s pioneering work

After graduating from Toho University (formerly the Imperial Women’s College of Science) in 1943, she went on to study carbon dioxide in ocean water at the Meteorological Research Institute. In 1957, she became the first woman in Japan to earn her PhD in chemistry from the University of Tokyo.

Few researchers were interested in studying carbon-dioxide levels in water when Saruhashi embarked on her work, which ended up being instrumental for decades. She penned the formula that would allow scientists to determine the amount of carbonic acid in oceans—now one of the hallmark measures of climate change—by hand. Now, researchers use computers for that task.

Saruhashi also studied the amount of radioactive isotopes of elements in seawater following nuclear- bomb test detonations. Working at the Central Meteorological Observatory, she found that tiny radioactive particles floating in the ocean waters along the coast of Japan resulting from the 67 nuclear explosions the US detonated in the Marshall Islands. “There was a controversy over her argument that the radioactive fallout in seawater was more than what they used to think,” Toshihiro Higuchi, a historian at Georgetown University, told the Verge.

Scientists at the US Atomic Energy Commission quickly became interested in her work, and invited Saruhashi to work at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego to compare US methods of measuring these radioactive isotopes to those used by the Japanese. It wasn’t entirely a friendly working environment: One of her American male colleagues, Theodore Folsom, told her that there was no need for her to come into the office daily, and that instead she should work out of an isolated wooden hut (pdf, p. 4).

Nevertheless, Saruhashi persisted. Her analyses of radioactive isotopes were essentially identical to Folsom’s, despite her inferior working conditions.

Saruhashi became a beacon for women in science

Saruhashi became an advocate for her fellow female scientists and for world peace. In 1958, she co-founded Society of Japanese Women Scientists, and in 1981 established a prize in her name awarded annually to young Japanese female scientists for their excellence in research and mentorship. In 1980, she became the first woman elected to the Science Council of Japan, and went on to receive the Miyake Prize for geochemistry and the Tanaka Prize from the Society of Sea Water Sciences.

She died in September 2007, and her legacy as a scientist, pacifist, and feminist lives on. “I wanted to highlight the capabilities of women scientists,” she said. “Until now, those capabilities have been secret, under the surface.”

March 22, 2018 Posted by | PERSONAL STORIES, Women | Leave a comment