Nuclear weapons are game-changing devices. They are more than weapons. They are annihilators, capable of causing catastrophic damage to cities and countries. They have the destructive power to bring civilization to its knees. They could cause the extinction of most or all complex life on the planet.
One of the great moral leaders of our time, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, wrote: “Nuclear weapons are an obscenity. They are the very antithesis of humanity, of goodness in this world. What security do they help establish? What kind of world community are we actually seeking to build when nations possess and threaten to use arms that can wipe all of humankind off the globe in an instant?”
Nuclear weapons threaten the very future of humankind. They are immoral and illegal. They cause indiscriminate harm and unnecessary suffering. Their damage cannot be contained in either time or space. Their existence demands a response from us. We must unite, as never before, to protect against this overriding technological threat of our own making or face the consequences.
But, you may ask, what can you do?
First, you can take the threat seriously and recognize that your own involvement can make a difference. This is not an issue that can be left to political leaders alone. They have dealt with it for over two-thirds of a century, and the danger persists.
Second, join with others in working for a more peaceful and nuclear weapon-free world. The voices of citizens can make a difference, and the aggregation of those voices an even greater difference. Citizens must stand up and speak out as if the very future depends upon what they say and do, because it does.
The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation provides many ways to amplify the voices of citizens. We believe that a path to a world free of nuclear weapons lies through US leadership, and the path to US leadership lies through an active and involved citizenry. You can keep up to date with our monthly Sunflower e-newsletter and you can participate in pressing for change through our Action Alert Network.
Third, become a peace leader, one who holds hope and wages peace. Never lose hope, and actively work to build a more peaceful world. Live with compassion, commitment, courage and creativity. Do your part to build a world you can be proud to pass on to your children and grandchildren and all children of the future, a beautiful planet free of the threat of nuclear annihilation.
If you are a painter, paint. If you are a writer, write. If you are a singer, sing. If you are a citizen, participate. Find a way to give your talents to building a better world in which the threat of war and nuclear devastation does not hang over our common future – a world in which poverty and hunger are alleviated, children are educated, human rights are upheld, and the environment is protected. These are the great challenges of our time and each of us has an important role to play.
David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.