Nukes vs. Earth: Wake Up and Change

“People tell me I should study to become a climate scientist so I can solve the climate crisis. But the climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

— Greta Thunberg

link to Greta twitter feedIt’s pretty easy to find great quotes from the surprising and powerful new voice of the climate change movement, 16-year-old Greta Thunberg. I like that quote because often I feel like we are drowning in information and should spend more time out making more noise than listening to news (ok, I’m something of a news addict, but then my parents were journalists) or reading yet another book on how we ended up where we are today. No offense to the authors who are producing these wonderful books of course, but I do lean toward Greta’s sentiment.

Frances Crowe’s 100th birthday march. Photo by Ed Hedemann, 3/16/19.

Lately I’m dabbling in the climate change movement, and a new XR chapter has started up in my neighborhood so maybe I’ll try to do more than dabbling. Still, in the groups focused on climate I often find myself thinking “at heart I’m an antiwar activist.” From my perspective the climate change groups are slow to acknowledge and act on the fact that the “#1 Polluter = War”, as our recently departed Frances Crowe advertised last spring. All the more reason for antiwar activists to get visibly involved and develop stronger relationships with climate action groups.

Despite my aversion to too much reading, recently fellow activist Anthony Donovan, who is working hard for the Nuclear Ban Treaty and divestment from the nuclear industry, brought to my attention a new publication, Warheads to Windmills: How to Pay for a Green New Deal by Timmon Wallis, Executive Director of NuclearBan.US.  While I admit to not having read every word and studied every fact in this 48-page document (free download or order a copy), I think it does a great job of connecting the issues — with less time spent Warheads to Windmills coverdescribing the problem and more time offering specific steps and solutions.

Wallis sets out three emergencies that threaten existence: climate, nuclear weapons, and inequality and injustice. Those are balanced with solutions that fall in three categories: a Green New Deal; Nuclear Ban Treaty; and Jobs, justice and cooperation. And, while the U.S. tweeter-in-chief spends time dissing the rest of the world, Wallis makes clear “We cannot solve any of these problems without working more closely with other countries.”

The Nuclear Ban Treaty is an obvious connection, because getting rid of nuclear weapons frees up billions of dollars to fund a Green New Deal or any similar program that treats climate change as a crisis and acts. Warheads to Windmills outlines the billions currently spent on nuclear weapons and estimates the amount that could be redirected for better purposes. Personally, I’d add that we could find a lot of more money in the Pentagon budget, but the focus here is to fund a Green New Deal by signing on to the Nuclear Ban Treaty — a win-win for all of us.

There’s lots more about all the benefits of getting rid of nukes, including freeing up all the talented people connected to the nuclear weapons military-industrial complex who could be doing way more positive things with their lives. But perhaps this document is best used by passing it on to candidates for higher office and elected officials who need to stop diddling around about the climate crisis: take the money from death and use it for life.

Post by Ruth Benn

2 thoughts on “Nukes vs. Earth: Wake Up and Change”

  1. Wonderful article. Great to see Greta, Francis and Timmon’s name together…. and the WRL. And yes, we introduced to Congress, the Warheads to Windmills report with Rep. Barbara Lee and Rep Jim McGovern back in June. Sent it to each candidate running for office, and our local reps, i.e. AOC who’s been pushing the Green New Deal. Spot on that we not only need the money, but the great expertise turning to solutions for the planet rather it’s destruction. Young folks get this. Thank you for this article Ruth Benn! Onward, together.

  2. Ed Hedemann says:

    A message to Senators, Congresspeople, Democrats, Republicans, party bosses, Pentagon chiefs, academic study committees, foreign policy wonks, government task forces, hand-shakers, baby-kissers, and all other policy makers: Shut up and disarm!

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