Be Prepared to Be Useful
Need-to-Know Resources for Nuclear Disarmament
by Megan Anderson
Nuclear disarmament is a nebulous concept for most of us. The threat of nuclear destruction is ever-present, but not something we think or talk about much. Part of the reason, perhaps, is that we feel helpless to do anything about it. In fact, though, there are a multitude of superb resources on the topic. Below I’ve summarized some of what is available. It barely skims the surface. Each resource mentioned includes its own list of resources. This brief summary is a starting point for diving deeper into the subject and becoming active in ending nuclear weaponry.
Interfaith Resource Packets
Religions for Peace’s “Resource Guide on Nuclear Disarmament for Religious Leaders” showcases the intersection between religions and the call to eliminate nuclear weapons. It surveys what people and groups have done over the years, including a section on the role of women and youth. It also contains a calendar of annual commemorative actions around nuclear disarmament and statements and resolutions from the world’s religions.
Finally, the Guide includes three beautiful interfaith prayers. Here is one of them:
Dear God/Allah … We bring you our deep concern for the fragile beauty of your world and for the vulnerable lives of your children threatened by the existence of nuclear weapons. Help governments and people to trust each other and to move away from reliance on a terror that blights the lives of the young and threatens future generations. We pray for the global abolition of nuclear weapons as part of bringing peace and security to the world.
United Religions Initiative’s “Let’s Eliminate Nuclear Weapons! Resource and Action Packet” features several dozen resources focused on achieving nuclear disarmament. The whole packet is helpful. Here are some highlights.
The Nobel for Peace-Summits is a coalition of Nobel laureates with advice for approaching local politicians. They propose three questions for goading (educating?) our leaders:
What are your plans to address crushing poverty?
What are your plans to protect the environment?
What are your plans to eliminate nuclear weapons?
A sustainable future is impossible without addressing these questions, the laureates suggest: “We must effectively address crushing poverty and adequately organize ourselves to protect the global commons, such as the oceans, the climate, and the rainforest – living systems on which civilization depends. Because the promotion of global cooperation is distorted by the possession of nuclear weapons by some, and our security increasingly risked by their spread, we must ensure the elimination of nuclear weapons before they eliminate us.”
Green Legacy Hiroshima is a volunteer campaign that seeks to spread trees that survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima around the world. If you’re interested in learning more or planting a tree in your own community, go here. You can also get in touch with the URI Cooperation Circle ANT-Hiroshima, a major organizer supporting the tree initiative.
The Ribbon International: August 1, 2020 will be the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Ribbon International is planning Ribbon events in cities around the world. Interested in being involved? Go here to learn how to make your own ribbon.
Abolition 2000 is a network of over 2000 organizations in more than 90 countries worldwide working for a global treaty to eliminate nuclear weapons. Explore member organizations. There may be one in your area where you can get involved. It also has a variety of workgroups, including one on interfaith action and nuclear disarmament.
The William J. Perry Project seeks to “stimulate an informed and broadly inclusive public conversation about the role of nuclear weapons in today's world and to work toward a world in which nuclear weapons are never used again.” It has a wealth of resources including Nuke 101, a course captured in a series of folders on the Project’s website titled: Deterence, The Triad (strategic bombers, submarines, missiles), Nuclear Accidents, Nuclear Miscalculation, Nuclear Terrorism, Nuclear Modernization, and Nuclear Glossary. It covers the basics an activist needs to know.
An equally important resource on the Project’s website is a free Stanford Online course titled “The Threat of Nuclear Terrorism.” The five-week long course differs from most online courses in a fundamental way: “Our goal is not just to provide facts, but to inspire you to take action. You have the power to make a difference, and I believe this course will give you knowledge and hopefully motivation to do so.”
You can whiz through it, survey the tests, and see the correct answers – or you can actually enroll and get a certificate from Stanford University upon successfully completing the course. Each segment of the course includes videos of Perry talking to experts who really know the science, technology, and politics behind the subject.
Former Secretary of Defense Perry himself has been a critical player in the history of nuclear weapons development and the campaign to disarm them. His memoir titled My Journey at the Nuclear Brink (2015) reads like a thriller, is grounded in an evolving ethical vision, and provides an overview of what has been called ‘the nuclear age.’ His website blog discusses the ongoing political climate around nuclear weapons. The website also features an extensive Resource Page as well as mind-opening and heart-wrenching videos.
International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017, is another project with a multitude of resources on nuclear disarmament. Among these is an informative FAQs page about a nuclear weapons ban and ideas for engaging activities for kids.
Three ICAN projects would welcome your involvement:
Paper Crane Project: In 2012 ICAN youth campaigners from Hiroshima launched a project to send 1,000 hand-folded paper cranes to the president or prime minister of every UN member state – a total of more than 190,000 cranes. In return for this gift, they seek a message of support for a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
Don’t Bank on the Bomb: ICAN has identified hundreds of banks, pension funds, insurance companies, and asset managers around the world with substantial investments in nuclear arms producers. This project provides ways to get involved in the campaign to discourage financial institutions from investing in nuclear weapons companies, along with tips for writing to financial institutions.
Other Educational Resources
A great resource for kids comes from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. This London organization offers five different teaching packs, with interactive lesson plans about different topics related to nuclear disarmament. The lesson plans include The Bomb Factor, Dial M for Missiles, Under Pressure, Truman on Trial, and Sadako’s Cranes. Even better, you can download or order hardcopies for free!
The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA)’s section on Disarmament Education provides a great list of peace and disarmament resources for teachers and students and a list of post-secondary education programs.
So many of the resources and organizations which created and distributed them couldn’t be mentioned in an article this short. You’ll start finding them, though, as soon as you take advantage of what is above. You may even be someone creating new ways to empower this campaign.
Header Photo: Pxhere