Rolling Back the Nuclear Weapons Tide – What You Can Do
One trillion dollars. That is what the United States is planning to spend over the next 30 years as it refurbishes and maintains its aging Cold War nuclear arsenal. Your share as an average taxpayer: $6,789. These weapons do nothing to protect the United States in a post-9/11 world. But they still present catastrophic risk due to accident, miscalculation or (shudder) deliberate use. What can you do to help roll back the nuclear weapons tide?
The more you know about the issue the more power you have to change the status quo. A good start is learning about the history of nuclear weapons, their catastrophic risks, cost to taxpayers, the entrenched Cold War thinking still supporting them and why countries think they need these weapons for security (they don’t). There is no shortage of information available about this crucial public issue. Here’s what we recommend:
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- Subscribe to Early Warning, Ploughshares Fund’s daily email summarizing the day’s most important nuclear weapons related news and events.
- Here’s a list of our must-follow nuclear feeds to join the daily dialogue and track up to the minute news.
Nuclear Nightmares – Securing the World Before It’s Too Late
- Excellent book giving an overview of the legacy, risks, existing arsenals, financial costs and how to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety
- A chilling summary of nuclear weapons accidents over the past decades in the United States, this book was listed as one of the New York Times best 100 of 2013.
The Dead Hand – The Untold Story of the Arms Race and its Dangerous Legacy
- Drawing on historical archives, this suspense-filled story reveals how presidents, scientists, diplomats, soldiers and spies worked to stop the arms race and secure nuclear arsenals after the fall of the Soviet Union.
- A powerful and compassionate book that tells the story of the Hiroshima bombing through the memories of survivors.
- Hiroshima: BBC History of World War II (2005) – Winner of an Emmy and three BAFTA awards, this docudrama features historical reenactments to chronicle America’s bombing of Hiroshima. (Netflix)
- Radio Bikini (1988) – An Oscar-nominated documentary focusing on the aftermath of US atomic bomb testing on the Bikini Atoll rendering it uninhabitable for 40 years. (Netflix)
Getting Involved: Take Action!
You and your friends can get involved in advocacy. This is crucial. Nuclear weapons, their risks and exorbitant costs are not a part of the mainstream public policy debate. If these dangerous weapons (and their toxic legacy) are going to be eliminated individuals will have to work together to change national security policy. There are many types of organizations with many different approaches, enough to suit any taste.
From reaching out to Congress directly to joining an advocacy group, here are our recommendations for taking action:
- Contact members of Congress directly to let them know you want to see a world free of nuclear weapons and taxpayer money spent on post-9/11 security needs, not Cold War relics
Join an advocacy group to work on policy, legislation and defense strategy
- Arms Control Association – A national nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of and support for effective arms control policies.
- Council for a Livable World – Dedicated to reducing the danger of nuclear weapons and increasing national security by advocating for sensible national security policies and helping elect congressional candidates who support them.
- Friends Committee on National Legislation – Faith-based, non-partisan organization advocating for a nuclear-free world by lobbying members of Congress.
- Global Zero - International movement for the elimination of all nuclear weapons; includes 300 eminent world leaders and 179 student chapters in 29 countries.
- Peace Action – The nation's largest grassroots peace network with chapters and affiliates across the country focusing on creating a world free from violence and war, including weapons of mass destruction.
- Tri-Valley CAREs – Works to strengthen global security by stopping the development of new nuclear weapons in the US and eliminating them globally.
- Union of Concerned Scientists – An alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists stemming the tide of global warming, promoting sustainability and reducing the threat of nuclear war.
- Win Without War – A national leader in the fight to promote a more progressive national security strategy and pushing elected leaders to stand up against the politicization of national security.
- Women’s Action for New Directions – Membership-based organization empowering women to act politically to reduce violence and militarism and redirect excessive military resources toward unmet human and environmental needs.
The world has gone from 65,000 nuclear weapons at the height of the Cold War to a current count of 17,000 through the hard work of many people. Working to reduce and eliminate the world’s nuclear arsenals doesn’t come easy. It requires support from people like you!
You can help Ploughshares Fund’s efforts by making a contribution that will fund the smartest people with the best ideas aimed at eliminating the world’s nuclear arsenals, preventing new nuclear states and reducing tensions in unstable regions with nuclear weapons. Please take a moment to make a contribution.
Your support is essential for us to roll back the tide and achieve our vision of a world where nuclear weapons can never be used again.