JULY 30, 2020
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SF Bay PSR invites you to join us, and local and national partners, in commemorating the 75th anniversary (August 6 & 9) of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that by the end of 1945 led to the deaths of more than 200,000 innocent human beings, while ushering in the Nuclear Age that continues to place human civilization at the precipice of extinction.
With the COVID pandemic and our unfolding climate emergency occupying much of our attention, we have simultaneously been placed in increased peril by the initiation of a new nuclear arms race, whereby the U.S. and other nuclear weapons states (NWS) are modernizing nuclear weapons to make them more “usable” and deadly. These developments have been fortified by our government’s concurrent unilateral abandonment of key arms control measures such as the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty, and its threat to not renew the New Start Treaty that provides limits on strategic nuclear forces that could decimate the world in an instant. To make matters worse, the Trump Administration and congressional allies are now proposing funding to restart explosive testing of nuclear weapons, abandoning the moratorium that the U.S. has respected rather than ratifying the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
All of this is happening in the context of the Trump Administration’s daily unveiling of a “New Cold War” refocused on the demonization of China and amplified by racist and xenophobic rhetoric aimed at deflecting from the administration’s colossal and criminal failures to stem the COVID pandemic. This has provided the pretext for heightened military confrontation in the Pacific region, as well as justification for expanding the already bloated military and nuclear weapons budget. As such, despite the heroic efforts of Congresspersons Barbara Lee and Mark Pocan to introduce an amendment to the current National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would cut the military budget by 10%, the powers of the military-industrial complex prevailed in an overall bipartisan vote to reject this measure, with only 92 Democrats and 1 Independent voting in favor.
This underscores the immense challenge we will face under any administration to significantly defund massive and increasingly dangerous military programs and to leverage the resources we need for a robust Green New Deal; a GND that could jump-start the just and sustainable economy we need to recover from the shocks of COVID, and provide the basis for developing the societal resilience we need to survive the impending assaults of climate change. Diverting the estimated $4 to $6 million an hour the U.S. plans to spend on nuclear weapons over the next three decades to our real human needs would provide an exemplary down-payment toward our common future.
As we did decades ago to help stop the dangerous nuclear escalation between the Soviet Union and our nation, PSR will be speaking out strongly against this latest resurgence of U.S. militarism that further distracts us from dealing with the immanent threats to global security we face at this moment. Irrespective of the Chinese contribution to mutual geopolitical tensions, our country needs to engage China constructively to help halt the current COVID pandemic and prevent further outbreaks, and to tackle the immense problems of our common climate emergency.
This is certainly a time for all of us to pull together to reject the manifold levels of institutional violence that repress and divide our rising movements for racial equity and social change, exemplified by the brutal attacks of unidentified federal forces on largely peaceful protesters in our cities, and through the rise in global militarism supporting continued corporate domination of our biosphere. Defunding these multiple structures of militarized dominance, including the nuclear weapons that remain the pinnacle of global power and violence, needs to be a priority woven into our growing intersectional movements if we are to succeed in restoring our planetary health, and safeguarding the conditions of our existence.
In honoring those who perished decades ago through the indescribable explosions and Black Rain that devastated Japan, we of SF Bay PSR remain committed to our part in this difficult, but necessary human struggle for peace, equity, justice and survival.
We are looking for new committee members! Please contact email@example.com for details and meeting Zoom links.
Announcing our new Nuclear Weapons Abolition Committee (NWAC), SF Bay PSR
FIRST meeting on Tuesday, September 15, 6:30pm PT
Environmental Health Committee (EHC), SF Bay PSR
NEXT meeting on Wednesday, August 19, 6:30pm PT
Members continue to work energetically during the pandemic on wide-ranging collaborative efforts to engage health professional students and institutions to address the unceasing threats to our climate and health.
Recent highlights include: developing and implementing a mini-medical medical school for the public on The Health Emergency of Climate Change; providing testimony in support of San Francisco’s Food Purchasing Standards and Department Goals ordinance, which outlines goals for improving food purchasing in hospital’s and jails based on Good Food Purchasing standards, and which successfully passed; networking among health-care institutional sustainability projects to encourage healthier food options and reduced meat consumption at UCSF and Stanford hospitals and medical schools (which would also build resilience from infectious disease).
Other efforts include: publishing on the dermatologic health impacts of climate change; advancing the work of the Medical Societies Consortium, including meetings with Washington DC staffers of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and working to expand professional health organization participation within the Consortium; advocating for climate health within the California Medical Association; supporting the health of frontline communities by testifying against continued oil and gas extraction in California; presentations to students, clinicians, and the public, at UCSF, Berkeley’s Acupuncture and Integrative Medicine College, the University of San Francisco, the American Psychiatric Association, and to chiropractic students in Hayward; planning for an upcoming NorCal Climate Health Symposium; developing toolkits as part of the Climate Psychiatry Alliance’s efforts to help the public and health professionals cope with extreme heat emergencies; and advancing institutional incentives to reduce faculty travel and thus the carbon footprint of academic medicine.
Of note, committee members led the initial environmental health curriculum efforts at UCSF that have grown to include many medical schools. In particular, committee member Dr. Katherine Gundling and the UCSF medical student group (Human Health and Climate Change) have developed a Planetary Justice Health Report Card—a mechanism for students everywhere to assess and grade their medical institution’s progress in offering critical climate health related education and opportunities for students. Read the Huffington Post article, Climate Change Is A Health Crisis, And Doctors Aren’t Prepared.
Visit our Environmental Health Committee page for more info.
Readings & Resources
- #stillhere movement
- #stillhere: Learn more about the hibukusha, the survivors of the nuclear attacks in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and other survivors including veterans, mine workers, and people living near test sites
- ICAN: Reports on Nuclear Weapons Abolition
- ICAN: 2-minute movie on the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
- Back from the Brink
- American Public Health Association (APHA): The Role of Public Health Practitioners, Academics, and Advocates in Relation to Armed Conflict and War
- Arms Control Association: U.S. Nuclear Modernization Fact Sheet
- United Nations: Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
- United Nations: Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT)
- Hibakusha Stories: Setsuko Thurlow, survivor of nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, Gives Final Remarks at Ban Treaty Adoption
- Union of Concerned Scientists: I Wish I didn’t know that: Real-life close calls, screw ups, and nuclear near misses.
- Vermont International Film Festival: War and Nuclear Weapons Series
- Exchange Monitor: House NDAA Amendments Set Stage for Nuclear Weapons Debates With Senate
- Guardian: World nuclear arms spending hit $73bn last year – half of it by US
- The Washington Post: Trump administration discussed conducting first U.S. nuclear test in decades
- The Nation: We Must Resist the ‘China Threat Syndrome’
Find more at Advocacy Tools and Readings & Resources.