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Posts Tagged ‘Physicians for Social Responsibility’
During a recent train ride returning from a family visit in Southern California, I couldn’t help observing the stark differences between the appearance of the unprecedented drought in the southwest, and the intense rain storms here in the Midwest. Another phenomenon readily apparent from the train is the extreme inequality among members of the U.S. population. I found myself musing about the difficulties of surviving the exceptional heat and drought or exceptional rain and storms for those dwelling in the tiny, ramshackle, run down properties visible all along thousands of miles of train track. The obvious hard lives they represented contrasted starkly with large comfortable well-appointed homes visible on hillsides further from the tracks.
These observations underscored words Pope Francis so eloquently asserted in his Climate Change Encyclical, Laudato Si: On the Care of our Common Home.
“The human environment and the natural environment deteriorate together; we cannot adequately combat environmental degradation unless we attend to causes related to human and social degradation.”
Two related releases, the 2015 Lancet Commission on Health and Climate Change: Policy Responses to Protect Public Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency report, “Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action,” combined provide the most comprehensive analysis to date on the economic, health and environmental risks to the United States and the world of global climate inaction. They convincingly assert, without addressing current social and economic arrangements, as the globe continues to heat, we can expect many more premature deaths and increased suffering from the unraveling of our life sustaining climate. In fact, The Lancet authors note that climate change is progressing more rapidly than predicted by the most pessimistic IPCC forecasts, writing that “effects of climate change are being felt today, and future projections represent an unacceptably high and potentially catastrophic risk to health.”
As a doctor and professor in global health, I regularly perceive how health and safety is threatened by the increasing number of extreme weather events here in the U.S.; I’m also acutely aware of the deaths due to heat in India and Pakistan, storm related deaths in the Philippines and elsewhere. The combination of such reports and my observations make the frailty and vulnerability of so many members of the human family painfully clear.
Fully 99 percent of the world’s scientists conclude that climate change is occurring and it is man made. What’s urgently needed now is the social and political will to act on common-sense policies to both mitigate the forces driving climate change and adapt our communities to the new, warmer, reality.
To change the view from the train, we must get busy making the changes needed for social and climate health. Actions that mitigate the effects of climate change — low-cost active transportation, increasing green space, energy efficiency, and local agriculture — will also give immediate public health benefits. As asserted in all these powerful documents, tackling climate change could be the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century. It could also finally help lead to the kind of economic relationships that lifts so many now living at the mercy of powerful heat, droughts and storms.
~ Maureen McCue is coordinator for Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility.
Aug. 9 will mark the anniversary of Nagasaki where about 40,000 people were killed instantly by an atomic bomb, with a final death toll of about 50,000.
We won the war and the world changed forever.
What has become of our nuclear weapons program?
The report isn’t good.
Late night comedians ridicule the state of our nuclear complex, the foibles of its officers, and the many accidents it produced. An example was Vice Admiral Tim Giardina, the STRATCOM deputy chief in Bellevue, Nebraska, who was fired by President Obama last October after being caught passing counterfeit poker chips at a Council Bluffs casino. Comedy is not reality, and Giardina’s situation isn’t that funny.
Last week, information was made public that Russia violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which was signed by President Reagan, and ratified in 1988, by testing a ground-launched cruise missile. Cruise missiles are delivery systems for nuclear warheads.
While the treaty violation does not comprise a new threat in the tense relationship between the U.S. and Russia, it is troubling.
“It suggests that Russia is moving away from a long U.S.-Russia tradition of restraining the most dangerous weapons even as they have serious disagreements on all sorts of issues,” said Daryl Kimball, of the Arms Control Association.
Life is scary enough without nuclear weapons, so what’s an Iowan to do?
It’s time to prevent what we cannot cure, and call for nuclear disarmament.
~ Paul Deaton is a member of the Iowa Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility, U.S. affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a 1985 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
CEDAR RAPIDS– Iowa played host to the national organization Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) from May 6 through 10 at the Hotel at Kirkwood.
Iowa held center stage for meetings convened by national and international leaders of the 52 year old, Nobel peace prize winning organization. Thanks to the kind attention and assistance of the many expert hotel staff and the Kirkwood Community College affiliated training programs, this remarkable, first ever, national PSR gathering concluded a successful meeting on Saturday, May 10.
Those who attended the meetings work to address and reduce the humanitarian and health risks posed by the growing threat of nuclear weapons, the changing climate, and toxic environmental degradation. These first time visitors, initially quite skeptical about Iowa, were especially appreciative of its many unique offerings, both practical and recreational, available in and around the Kirkwood campus and the greater Cedar Rapids area.
The intractable challenges of our times were addressed in the meetings with U.S. Senate staff, elected Iowa officials, and online participants followed by experiences arranged by the Hotel at Kirkwood staff. Participants concerned about sustainability were able to visit and learn from the Kirkwood wind turbine and training center, the new Cedar Rapids LEED certified library with its green roof and inviting community center atmosphere, and the Kirkwood gardens and greenhouse. These tours, combined with the tasty, locally sourced and produced meals at the hotel, and an evening at the Cedar Valley Winery all served to showcase Iowa’s forward looking spirit and renew participants hopes for the future.
The troubled world presents us with so many new dangers and challenges. But the practical and creative talents of Iowans, especially those involved in Kirkwood’s uniquely integrated educational programs, services, entrepreneurship, and hotel partnership, manifest ample reasons for a positive outlook.
Board members, chapter leaders, staff and students from across the country join Iowa PSR in extending our deepest appreciation and gratitude to our hosts in Iowa. A special thanks to Tom Larkin of Senator Tom Harkin’s office, State Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids and State Representative Sally Stutsman of Johnson County. PSR leaders departed Iowa renewed by the gracious hospitality, insights and new sense of possibility gained by their experience.
For Iowans, August is a month to remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is also the perfect time to consider the current realities of an increasingly costly and dangerous global nuclear arsenal- something about which the world seems blithely unaware. To inspire and to help bring people up to date about the current situation, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility developed Nuclear Neighborhoods, 11,000 Generations. The exhibit, spread across Johnson County, explores the promises and perils of nuclear weapons and power on the lives of countless neighbors across time and space- including here in Iowa. Each of the six installations is similar in that it uses a combination of art, science and history and expresses the same theme, our nuclear legacy. Nevertheless, each exhibit is very different.
Iowa PSR is kicking off the project with a celebratory opening reception at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 1 in meeting room A of the Iowa City Public Library. Some of the artists and contributors will be featured with a brief discussion of the project’s motivational background and goals. The film, “The Ultimate Wish,” will be screened from 7 until 7:40 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
Please plan to join Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility on Aug. 1, at 6:30 p.m. at the Iowa Public Library, then explore the Nuclear Neighborhoods exhibits at your leisure over August and September. All are welcome.
For more information about the sites, associated lectures and films, go to psriowa.org
Thursday, Aug. 1, Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility hosts an opening reception for their two month combination art show, exhibit, film and lecture series called “Nuclear Neighborhoods: 11,000 Generations” at 6:30 p.m. at the Iowa City Public Library. For more info, click here.
Saturday, Aug. 3, Cedar County Democrats have organized an entry in the Hoover Days parade in West Branch, beginning at 10 a.m. From 5 until 8 p.m. there will be a picnic at 326 N. 4th St. West Branch, where Tyler Olson and Bob Krause, candidates for governor, State Senator Bob Dvorsky and Iowa house candidate David Johnson will speak. Join them and then enjoy a fireworks display as part of Hoover Days.
Wednesday, Aug. 14, at 3:30 p.m., meet Rep. Bruce Braley at the new Gallery of Art located at 501 Cedar St. in Tipton. Join them for drinks and a snack while looking over an art gallery in progress. Hugh and Phyllis Stumbo, longtime active Democrats, are owners and in the process of displaying many fine works of art and collections of artifacts.
Thursday, Aug. 22, at 6 p.m. PACG Community Networking Night. Please come and share your views and join in discussion of progressive issues. Please bring light snack food to share. Cobblestone Place- Community Room, 1212 W. 3rd St., Davenport.
If you would like to list an event on the Monday roundup, post a brief, but detailed comment below (subject to moderation).
WILTON—About 65 people gathered at the Wilton Community Center last night to view a screening of the documentary, “The Atomic States of America,” hosted by the group Saving America’s Farmland and Environment (S.A.F.E.). Attendees also heard an update from two of the group’s co-founders Dwight and Dianne Glenney. S.A.F.E. began with a group of farm families who rose in opposition to MidAmerican Energy’s plans for a nuclear powered generating station on 150th Street near Wilton.
No surprise that a group of farmers would fight a large corporation in the biblical terms of David v. Goliath when MidAmerican Energy bought options on 729 acres of prime Iowa farm land in the middle of an established rural community to build a power plant. According to Glenney, the electric utility has three possibilities for the land should they exercise the options: build a nuclear powered generating station, build a natural gas powered generating station, or do nothing. S.A.F.E. is organized so their Davids can remove MidAmerican’s Goliath from their lives and the land options expire without action.
I first met some of the group in October 2012 when Iowa Public Interest Research Group hosted a community organizing meeting to oppose siting a nuclear power plant near Wilton. My advice at the time was, “your most effective voice is with your state legislators when they convene the 85th General Assembly… Let your legislator know you’re opposed to it.” Since then, members of S.A.F.E. engaged their elected officials, securing resolutions opposing nuclear power from the Cedar and Muscatine county boards of supervisors. They also recruited state representatives Bobby Kaufmann and Tom Sands to support their efforts. Membership is approaching 400 people who have signed their petition and joined S.A.F.E.
According to Dwight Glenney, the group has been researching nuclear power during the time since the October meeting. What they learned moved the group from a not in my back yard approach to more general opposition of nuclear power in Iowa, in the United States and globally. Glenney indicated there are options besides nuclear power to supply electricity to meet growing demand in the state.
He reported that MidAmerican Energy has completed their three-year study of the feasibility of nuclear power in Iowa and is expected to deliver the report to the Iowa Utilities Board this week. Dianne Glenney reported on grassroots organizing activity of fundraising, letters to the editor, production of an information packet, attendance at legislative forums and other items.
S.A.F.E. makes a strong point that they are not affiliated with any so-called “green” groups, and that is a strength of the organization. By remaining strictly grassroots, with members of the community effected by MidAmerican Energy’s plans for rural Wilton being the primary stake holders in the group’s activity, they have an independent and unique voice that dovetails with other concerns of rural Iowa.
What’s next? S.A.F.E. supports building any new electricity generating facility on existing power plant locations so that new land is not taken out of farm production. According to Dwight Glenney, it makes sense from the standpoint that the logistical support of transmission lines, roads and infrastructure is already in place. They also plan to advocate with the Iowa legislature for a ban on nuclear power, similar to what 13 other state legislatures have enacted. Such a ban may be permanent, or until the unresolved problem of disposal of radioactive spent fuel is addressed by the federal government. S.A.F.E. is working with their legislators to introduce bills regarding these issues during next year’s second session of Iowa’s 85th General Assembly.
Dwight said that if the issue is resolved, and MidAmerican Energy decides not to build a power plant near Wilton, any funds remaining in their bank account will be divided three ways and donated to local Future Farmers of America groups. For the time being, they asked for financial support and for people to join their growing membership. If you would like to learn more about S.A.F.E., email Dianne Glenney at email@example.com.
Let’s Get Together, Act and SHUT DOWN this Legislation
“Natural Disasters in the U.S. and Nuclear Power” is the topic of a talk by John Rachow M.D.
Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 7:30pm, Main Meeting Room at the Hiawatha Library,
150 West Willman Street, Hiawatha
Dr. Rachow, immediate past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), is speaking in response to the recent disaster in Japan.
All are welcome. The public is invited. There is no charge.
Iowa PSR is leading a grassroots campaign against an advanced cost recovery bill, a measure which would enable utilities to collect the capital expense for a new nuclear reactor in advance from their customers. The bill, which is being seriously considered by the Iowa House of Representatives [italics BFIA’s], was supported by MidAmerican Energy. If the bill passes, MidAmerican would be allowed to recover all development costs from ratepayers and retain the advanced payments, if for any reason, a risky new nuclear reactor is not built.
Linn County Green Party
PO Box 2151
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2151
Robert Schultes M.D.
319-360-5119 (12:30-1:30pm, 5-9pm)
Directions to Hiawatha Public Library: Take I 380 through Cedar Rapids up to Hiawatha exit, from the North take Hiawatha exit just before you come into Cedar Rapids
- AFSCME Iowa
- Child & Family Policy Center – Iowa
- Environment Iowa
- Eyechaner Foundation
- Genetic Engineering Action Network
- Iowa Bicycle Coalition
- Iowa Citizen Action Network – ICAN
- Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement
- Iowa Civil Liberties Union
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- Iowa Farmers Union
- Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
- Iowa Fiscal Partnership
- Iowans for Better Local TV
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- Iowa House Democrats
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- Iowa Physicians for Social Responsibility
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- The Least, First
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- One Iowa (GLBT)
- Progressive Action for the Common Good
- Progressive Coalition of Central Iowa
- QCAD (Quad-Citians Affirming Diversity – GLBT)
- Renewable Energy Group
- SEIU Local 199
- Sierra Club – Iowa Chapter
- Voter-owned Iowa