A Call to Action
by David Hart
“Mankind invented the atomic bomb, but no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.” ~Albert Einstein
Many years from now when the history of our time is written, some may reflect that a small but meaningful step that preserved our world was taken this week. In the US, the event passed with little notice. There was Black Friday shopping to do. Meanwhile, a powerful and respected group acted to avert global disaster. The question for us now is whether we will heed their clarion call and act in unison to shape our policies so that a future – any future – can exist.
In a historic decision, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons and urging all of their affiliates to conduct educational campaigns about the unique, catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear war.
This globally respected body’s action comes at a critical time in the history of our world. All over the earth, people are waking up to the sad reality that the path we are on is dangerously unsustainable. Activists, organizers, and everyday people are finding that by taking steps together we can, in fact, change the world.
During this moment of awakening, there is an opportunity to focus new and renewed energy on the enormous destructive potential of nuclear weapons. In recent years, many people have been lulled into a dangerous and false sense of security. Some have come to believe that after the end of the cold war, we need not be concerned about these horrific weapons. In reality, this technology is spreading and remains a grave threat to our health and to our very survival.
Today an organization that is among the most highly esteemed in the world is boldly speaking out on behalf of all who care about the future of our planet and our species. One delegate reminded the gathering of Albert Einstein’s quotation, “Mankind invented the atomic bomb, but no mouse would ever construct a mousetrap.”
We had the intellectual capacity to construct the tools of our own destruction. Will we now demonstrate the wisdom to step back from the brink and choose a different path?
This resolution provides a rare opportunity to do just that. They remind us that this issue should be beyond national borders and partisan politics and instead should be a rallying cry for all citizens of this planet to act together to ensure our very survival. These health care and relief workers, who do so much to help those most in need in times of crisis, realize that they will not be able to adequately respond in the aftermath of a nuclear detonation. No one can. In this case, the only treatment is prevention.
The enormity of this reality is hard to face. Understandably, even when we catch a glimpse of this truth, most of us turn away and try to get on with our lives. But, if we are to avert this looming disaster, we must face the painful reality and act together. And, we must do so now before it is too late.
Let us join together as one people and declare these weapons what they truly are – an affront to all we hold dear, to all the beauty of the past, and to all the potential of our future.
We cannot know, at this moment, what the future may hold, but we can come to understand that our very future is slipping away. Over our long history humans have created enormous beauty. Who knows what we might accomplish if we find a sustainable path and continue our journey for many years to come?
The preeminent international emergency response organization has sent us a clear wake up call. Will we hit the snooze button and go back to Holiday Shopping or will we realize the enormity of the danger we face and find a way to act together to preserve all that our future might hold?
To take action to prevent nuclear war visit 1 More 4 Zero.org . A brief video highlights the diverse and international movement building to eliminate nuclear weapons worldwide. You can learn more and sign up to join the campaign.
~ David Hart is Director of Security Programs for Physicians for Social Responsibility and lives in Washington, D.C.