On April 22, Earth Day, millions of people around the world will take action on various issues to protect the Earth.
One of these issues is nuclear abolition. The production and testing of nuclear weapons has created catastrophic impact on people’s health and the environment. The use of just a small number of nuclear weapons in populated areas would cause unprecedented casualties and could plunge the world into another ice age. The $100 billion spent annually on nuclear weapons is sorely needed for climate protection, renewable energies and other environmental and social needs.
A simple action to take on Earth Day is to organise a ‘Wave goodbye to nuclear weapons’ at your local Earth Day commemoration as part of Global Wave 2015.
In Seattle, the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and several other activist groups will hold a Global Wave action as part of their Funeral for the Earth on April 21, the eve of Earth Day in response to the increasing risk of nuclear war.
Ground Zero invites the public to gather with them in Westlake Center Park at noon to watch a symbolic street theater performance depicting a memorial service for the earth in the aftermath of a nuclear holocaust. Following the twenty-minute performance, monks will carry the casket along the sidewalk to the Henry Jackson Federal Building and perform the same mock funeral again before visiting the office of Senator Patty Murray. A ‘wave goodbye to nuclear weapons’ will be done at both the Westlake Park and the Federal Building.
Ground Zero Center was established in 1977 to non-violently oppose the nuclear weapons submarine base being built nearby in Bangor WA (on the North-West coast of the United States). Ground Zero was inspired by Robert Aldridge, who quit his job at Lockheed directing the development of the Trident system’s sea-launched first-strike capability. Hundreds of protesters from all walks of life have been arrested for peaceful, non-violent protests at Bangor against the Trident nuclear weapons system. Buddhist monks from Japan have participated regularly in memory of Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb victims.
The April 21 action calls public attention to what Ground Zero Center considers to be perilous and illegal policies of first-strike and ‘launch-on-warning’ that are even more dangerous as relations between the United States and Russia deteriorate over tensions in the Ukraine.
“The modernized Trident system is not a defensive weapon but a first strike weapon. Once launched, it cannot be called back,” insists the event coordinator, Mona Lee. “This motivates and threatens other nuclear-armed nations, so they are modernizing their own weapons systems, increasing the danger. This creates a hair-trigger, where if another nuclear nation perceives a threat, they will have only a few minutes to use their nuclear weapons or lose them, making a nuclear war more likely now than in previous decades.’
‘From an Earth Day perspective, the nuclear weapons currently deployed by all the nuclear-armed nations represent the most inconvenient truth of our time,’ says Leonard Eiger, Coordinator of the NO To NEW TRIDENT Campaign. ‘The risk of nuclear omnicide looms large, and is unacceptable!’
Over on the East Coast of the United States, the New Haven Friends Meeting (Quakers), Promoting Enduring Peace and some other local organisations are planning a ‘wave goodbye to nuclear weapons’ at the Green Festival in East Rock, New Haven. The wave will follow after the Rock-to-Rock Earth Day ride on April 25 - a fundraising and awareness raising bicycle ride with about 1000 riders.
EarthAction, a global network of over 2,500 partner organizations in 165 countries, has circulated a notice to its membership making the links between nuclear abolition and the environment and encouraging them to organise Global Wave actions. EarthAction also chairs Fact Countdown which circulates an interesting (or alarming) fact every day until the Peace and Planet Conference, Rally and Global Wave in New York.