Nuclear Weapons Abolition

Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee (NWA)

NWA committee members are health professionals and others working locally to influence public awareness, civic engagement, and national policy via California Members of Congress toward a nuclear-weapons-free world. Toward the latter, we endorse the Back from the Brink campaign and its policy platforms.

OUR GOAL

A world where everyone is free of the existential threats of nuclear weapons and proliferation.

The world recently commemorated the 75th anniversary of the nuclear bombings (August 6-9, 2020) that killed more than 200,000 human beings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, and we are facing the dawn of a new global nuclear arms race that compounds the climate and pandemic threats to human survival. Given that Nuclear Weapons States possess more than 13,000 nuclear weapons, we must addr­­­ess the manifold threats posed by new global programs to expand and modernize nuclear weapons arsenals, the rejection of arms control treaties, as well as heightened great-power confrontation now accelerating in the Pacific region.

OUR TACTICS

  • Affect nuclear weapons policy by moving California Members of Congress to take action on nuclear weapons in line with our policy and organizational priorities
  • Work in concert with other organizations toward expanding public awareness of and furthering the nuclear weapons abolition movement in California in part through print, radio, TV, and online media platforms
  • Educate and increase engagement of health professionals and others to learn and act on this critical issue
  • Bridge the gap between sectors that are intrinsically linked to nuclear abolition (including the climate crisis, environmental, and racial justice) to mobilize younger generations of health professionals to advocate and act across these interconnected existential threats to human survival
  • Raise awareness about the dangers of nuclear energy as a proposed alternative to fossil fuels.

OUR 2020 PROJECTS

  • Submission of Toward a Nuclear Weapons Free World, a resolution provisionally accepted by the American Public Health Association (APHA) for review at its national meeting in October 2020
  • Leadership of the Peace Caucus in affiliation with the APHA
  • Planning for and participation in the local and nationally streamed events commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, August 6 and 9, 2020.
  • Webinar collaboration with City Lights Booksellers, August 9, 2020, see our events page to watch the recording
  • Webinar on the Environmental Injustice in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point: Addressing the Enduring Health Harms of Nuclear Weapons in Our Own Backyard, October 13, 20202, watch recording here

OUR 2020 SUCCESSES

History was made on October 24, 2020, when Honduras ratified the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Now with 50 ratifications, the Treaty will enter-into-force in 90 days, becoming legally binding for countries that have joined the treaty, most likely on January 22, 2021, two days after Inauguration Day.

And on that day marking the 75th anniversary of the United Nations, the American Public Health Association (APHA) voted, at its annual meeting, to adopt a new policy calling for a “Nuclear-Free World.” The policy advocates for the U.S. government to ratify the UN Treaty and embrace the five planks of the Back from the Brink Campaign. This new policy was the culmination of a year-long collaborative effort involving SF Bay PSR’s Dr. Tova Fuller, Dr. Robert Gould, and Patrice Sutton, together with Washington State PSR members Dr. Amy Hagopian and Cameron Dacey.

The UN Treaty was the direct result of a multi-year effort spearheaded by PSR’s partner the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their work. The Treaty “prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory…[as well as] assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.”

Read National PSR’s Nuclear Weapons Policy Recommendations, August 2020.

ECONOMICS AND SECURITY

While we face our unfolding planetary emergencies, the profound “opportunity costs” of our government planning to spend more than $4 million an hour over the next 30 years to potentially annihilate countless millions of people is unfathomable. We will present alternative visions offered by the global movements to abolish nuclear weapons epitomized by the 2017 United Nations’ Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and the prospects for connecting this with wider popular movements seeking to transform our global security priorities in the direction of climate, environmental, and social justice necessary for global survival.

LOCAL ISSUES

National policy has affected our backyard. San Francisco’s Hunters Point Shipyard was once home to the U.S. Navy’s largest applied nuclear testing lab that closed in 1994. This site’s widespread radiological contamination continues to be an ongoing public health risk for the predominantly African American community living nearby. In addition, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in Livermore, California, founded by the University of California, Berkeley, continues to work primarily on research and development of nuclear weapons.

For more information, or to become a committee member, please contact us at info@sfbaypsr.org.

More resources can be found on our Advocacy Tools page.