3 Minutes to Midnight

2015-01-22 16:03:20
Robert Dodge
Humanity and the planet is now just three minutes from midnight when it comes to nuclear disaster and climate disruption. We must act. (Image: thebulletin.org)

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has just announced its latest nuclear Doomsday Clock moving ahead the minute hand to three minutes till midnight. The clock represents the count down to zero in minutes to nuclear apocalypse – midnight. This significant move of TWO minutes is the 22nd time since its inception in 1947 that the time has been changed.

In moving the hand to 3 minutes to midnight, Kennette Benedict the Executive Director of the Bulletin identified in his comments: “the probability of global catastrophe is very high”… “the choice is ours and the clock is ticking”…”we feel the need to warn the world” …”the decision was based on a very strong feeling of urgency”. He spoke to the dangers of both nuclear weapons and climate change saying, “they are both very difficult and we are ignoring them” and emphasized “this is about doomsday, this is about the end of civilization as we know it”. The Clock has ranged from 2 minutes to midnight at the height of the Cold War to 17 minutes till midnight with the hopes that followed the end of the Cold War. The decision to move the minute hand is made by the Bulletin’s Board of Directors in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates.

What is clear is that the time to ban nuclear weapons is now. Today’s announcement by the Bulletin further corroborates the dangers confirmed by recent climate science. These studies identify the much greater dangers posed by even a small regional nuclear war using just 100 Hiroshima size bombs out of the 16,300 weapons in today’s global stockpiles. The ensuing dramatic climate changes and famine that would follow threaten the lives of up to 2 billion on the planet with effects that would last beyond 10 years. There is no escaping the global impact of such a small regional nuclear war.

Medical science has weighed in on the impacts and devastation of even the smallest nuclear explosion in one of our cities and the reality is there is no adequate medical or public health response to such an attack. We kid ourselves into a false sense that we can prepare and plan for the outcome of a bomb detonation. Every aspect and facet of our society would be overwhelmed by a nuclear attack. Ultimately the resultant dead at ground zero would be the lucky ones.

Probability theorists have long calculated the dismal odds that the chance for nuclear event either by plan or accident are not in our favor. Recent documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act detail over 1000 mishaps that have happened in our nuclear arsenals. Time is not on our side and the fact that we have not experienced a nuclear catastrophe is more a result of luck than mastery and control over these immoral weapons of terror.

The time to act is now. There is so much that can and must be done. Congress will soon begin budget debates that include proposals to increase nuclear weapons spending for stockpile modernization by $355 billion over the next decade and up to a trillion in the next 30 years. Expenditures for weapons that can never be used and at a time when the economic needs for our country and world are so great.

Around the world, there is a growing awareness of the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons, and a corresponding desire to rid the world of these weapons. The Vienna Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons conference last month saw 4/5 of the nations of the world participating. In October of 2014, 155 nations at the United Nations called for the elimination of nuclear weapons. In Vienna, 44 nations plus the pope advocated for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.

The people are making their voices heard and demanding a change of course from the status quo.

In this week’s State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized that we are one people with a common destiny. He said this both in reference to our nation and our world. The threat of nuclear weapons unites us even as it threatens our very existence. This reality can also be remembered in the words of Martin Luther King when he said,

“We must all learn to live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. We are tied together in the single garment of destiny, caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. And whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly.”

The time for action is now, before it is too late. It’s 3 minutes till midnight.

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February Meeting: Generation Waking Up: WakeUp Ventura County

2015-01-05 14:12:53

13 to 20-somethings are invited to a powerful,  interactive workshop exploring the challenges and opportunities of this moment in  history.

GENERATION WAKING UP is a global campaign to ignite a generation of young people to bring forth a thriving, just, sustainable world.

Come and meet young people who are already part of global youth movement working to turn the tide of history.  Elders also welcome — Baby Boomers, please invite the millenials you know!

The program requires a somewhat longer than usual meeting:  3:00 to 6:00 p.m., February 1. 2015, Topping Room, E.P. Foster Library.  Admission Free.



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In 2015, Let There Be Peace on Earth

2014-10-30 15:29:16

International Day of Peace Robin cropped.imageAt the beginning of each new year people around the world express their hopes and desires for seemingly elusive peace on earth. In the past year there have been many strides toward that goal. The greatest threat to peace and our survival, nuclear weapons are at long last on the road to abolition. The people have spoken and leaders have heard. This new year we must recommit to the steps necessary to make this a reality.

In the words of Pope Francis,
Nuclear weapons are a global problem, affecting all nations, and impacting future generations and the planet that is our home. A global ethic is needed if we are to reduce the nuclear threat and work towards nuclear disarmament.

Nuclear deterrence and the threat of mutually assured destruction cannot be the basis for an ethics of fraternity and peaceful coexistence among peoples and states. The youth of today and tomorrow deserve far more. They deserve a peaceful world order based on the unity of the human family, grounded on respect, cooperation, solidarity and compassion. Now is the time to counter the logic of fear with the ethic of responsibility, and so foster a climate of trust and sincere dialogue…

The desire for peace, security and stability is one of the deepest longings of the human heart… This desire can neither be satisfied by military means alone, much less the possession of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction….

…peace must be built on justice, socio-economic development, freedom, respect for fundamental human rights, the participation of all in public affairs and the building of trust between peoples.

This profound message was delivered Dec. 7 to representatives of 158 nations, the UN and over 100 international, civil society, academic and religious organizations in two days of testimony about nuclear weapons from experts on health, humanitarian and environmental law, climate change, agriculture and the global economy at the Vienna Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons.

This conference focused on the recent scientific reports on global humanitarian effects of these weapons and the impotence of any effective response to their use. These weapons long known to threaten our extinction if large numbers were used are now recognized to be much more dangerous threatening the lives of up to 2 billion from the climatic disruption that would come with the use of only 100 weapons representing 1/2 of 1% of the global nuclear arsenals.

This meeting was followed days later by the annual Nobel Peace Laureate Conference in Rome where they stated,
If we fail to prevent nuclear war, all of our other efforts to secure peace and justice will be for naught. We need to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons…

We welcome the pledge by the Austrian government “to identify and pursue effective measures to fill the legal gap for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons” and “to cooperate with all stakeholders to achieve this goal.”

We urge all states to commence negotiations on a treaty to ban nuclear weapons at the earliest possible time, and subsequently to conclude the negotiations within two years. This will fulfill existing obligations enshrined in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which will be reviewed in May of 2015, and the unanimous ruling of the International Court of Justice. Negotiations should be open to all states and blockable by none.

And yet the governmental actions of the principle nuclear nations of the United States and Russia who hold ~94% of the global stockpiles fail to recognize the reality of the people’s demands. As though stuck in a Cold War time warp, the U.S. is planning to spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years on modernizing our nuclear arsenals and Russia is unveiling its rail ICBM system as we are all held hostage to these immoral weapons of genocide. The mythological illusions of security based on deterrence only serve to fuel an ongoing arms race robbing our children and indeed the poorest nations of the world of precious resources creating the very conditions that foster additional conflict and violence.

This is not acceptable and the growing chorus of world leaders and the people are getting louder every day. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The diminishing Hibakusha survivors of these explosions are a daily reminder of the atrocities that mankind has wrought.

Let 2015 be the year when the words of President Eisenhower move closer to a reality. “I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.”

When your children’s children ask what you did to make peace a reality, what will be your response? Now is the time to take action and make your voice heard. Let there be peace on earth.

– Dr. Bob Dodge

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License, published in Common Dreams  http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/01/01/2015-let-there-be-peace-earth


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January Meeting: The Cost of Not Forgiving...Rethinking How A Community Implements Justice

2014-10-29 14:29:39

Erin PrewittLearn from Erin Prewitt  about her journey with grace, hope and forgiveness.  Our exploration of forgiveness which began with our December meeting comes home with Erin Prewitt.

 Erin Prewitt is the widow of Chris Prewitt.  Chris Prewitt, a beloved educator and philanthropist, was struck and killed while jogging in Ventura on April 6th.  The driver was a young woman driving under the influence of drugs.   Erin discovered that there was no map to guide her through the peaks and valleys of grief and so decided to chart her own.   Erin, who had worked in social services and had spent five months researching the effectiveness of prison,  appeared at the driver’s sentencing hearing to ask the judge to forgo a prison sentence in favor of probation and community service.

 Sunday, January 4, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

  E.P. Foster Library’s Topping Room

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December Meeting: Beyond Right and Wrong

2014-10-28 18:27:03
This transformative documentary explores what happens as victims of three devastating conflicts attempt to rebuild their lives, balancing their need for justice with the desire to forgive.

Sunday,  December 7
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Room

Beyond Right & Wrong  presents the stories of people who have experienced loss and the stories of people who have caused that loss. From the Rwandan Genocide to the Troubles in Northern Ireland to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, people from different sides of the violence have entrusted all of us with their stories—their anger or remorse, their pain, their paths to recovery.

 Our exploration of Forgiveness continues with our January meeting

as we meet with Erin Prewitt.

Sunday,  January 4, 2015     3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
E.P. Foster Library, Topping Room

Erin’s husband Chris, her college sweetheart, was jogging one morning last April when he was hit and killed by a woman driving under the influence of drugs.   Chris and Erin had a 7 year old daughter.  Chris was a beloved educator and philanthropist who traveled to Sierra Leone to train teachers.
What do you do when you lose someone who is a vital and vibrant piece to their family, friends, community? This is where Erin’s journey with grace, hope and forgiveness was born.
Come and share Erin’s journey and your own encounters with the power of forgiveness.

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