We all hear about the terrible effects of climate change and environmental abuses on our earth. These are abuses against our human rights and are something that majorly affects peace worldwide. We are all urged to change our individual actions to reduce our carbon footprints and told how this is the best way to stop negative climate change.
Sometimes I wonder.
Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t take these measures– I am a hardcore advocate of sustainability who writes about these types of issues frequently and urges people to think of generations to come and our individual footprint on this earth. What I am saying is that I don’t think this is the entire picture of what’s going on in our environment. Why is everything always thrust upon the individual who really has very little say (or none) in what happens worldwide? Where is governmental restraint? Corporate restraint? What other factors are contributing to climate change?
Sometimes I wonder what effect the over 2,000 nuclear bomb tests done globally since the 1940s have had on our environment and how this, in and of itself, has contributed to global climate change and environmental harm.
Let’s entertain that idea for a second.
A nuclear bomb has enormous destructive capability. More modern nukes can have the explosive power of more than 50,000 kilotons (that’s thousands of tons) of TNT. Tests have been done in the atmosphere, underground, in the water and even in outerspace, spewing out tremendous heat, energy and radiation into the air, ground and water; along with creating shock waves carrying immense pressure that is able to take down buildings. Hmmm. And we are expected to believe that this has had no lingering effect on the climate, weather patterns, or our health? Well, not entirely, but its definitely not in the forefront of our environmental ideology.
A nuclear explosion underwater has the capability to create a tsunami. A nuclear explosion underground has the ability to create an earthquake. A nuclear explosion in the atmosphere rains radiation down to the earth and has enough explosive power to take down large buildings in a massive radius. What long term effects does this radioactive legacy have on our environment and our climate? What cancers and other maladies has it caused in humans and animals? What weather patterns changed on account of these explosions?
They say that simply increasing ocean temperatures by a few degrees can drastically change the weather. So we are expected to believe that numerous underwater ocean tests of nuclear devices that give off extreme amounts of heat and radioactive power have not effected ocean temperature or toxicity at all?
Now, I’m not a scientist. I’m not a nuclear specialist. I’m not a climatologist. But I do think that the entire truth of the situation is being downplayed. How can these explosions NOT have a lingering, long-term negative effect on our health, our climate and our world? How can they expect us to believe that individual actions are responsible for all our climate problems? I think that this shift to the individual helps to dissuade the blame and ensures that states can take the least amount of responsibility and action. If the problem is individual– then the best way to solve it is through individual actions– right?
Treaties have been established by international bodies to try and stop nuclear weapons testing. The Partial Test Ban Treaty of 1963 banned nuclear tests in the atmosphere, underwater and in space (most recently violated by the US), still allowing for underground testing, and was originally signed by the USSR, the UK, and the US. And the testing continued.
Then in 1968, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty set to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. 189 states became party to the treaty, with five signing states (US, Russia, UK, China and France) already in possession of nukes and unwilling to fully give up their power. Four states have never signed and have also been in possession of nuclear armaments: India, Israel, North Korea and Pakistan. And the testing still continued.
In 1996, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty was adopted by the UN General Assembly to ban all nuclear explosions in all environments, yet has not fully entered into force. Tests are still happening. Our environment is still being polluted with radioactivity. And yet, where is the discussion on their effects on climate change and the environment? Why is this not talked about in the mainstream?
And where is the legislation necessary to protect our rights? Why is the individual responsible when it is governments who are letting it happen? When there are no laws to protect the citizenry from major toxicity and environmental harm we all face the consequences. Democracy is supposed to be by the people, for the people. In reality it is by a few individuals, for a few individuals (and corporations) and the well-being of the general population is not what is being protected. Why are there such lax laws governing corporate or governmental environmental abuses? Why are major treaties not being respected?
I say it’s time for states to take responsibility and stop thrusting it all on the backs of the individuals. I say it’s time for the international community to take responsibility. I say its time we started looking into ALL the reasons behind our climate problems and stop blaming the individual for everything. It is not individual changes in and of itself that is going to make a real difference for our future, it is through collective action that difference will be made. If our states are not acting in our collective interests, whose interests are they acting for? Who is looking out for our collective interests and the interests of future generations? We need to speak our voice against atrocities and make change or our voice will be taken away from us.
Nuclear weapons have one purpose- destruction and death. I say its time for those countries in possession of such destruction to become accountable to the rest of the world for their actions. I say its time these countries faced the truth of their actions. I say its time that international bodies and states started actually representing collective interests instead of focusing on their own power and greed. Individual state power is not in our collective interest. If these governments truly represent the people, they should start acting like it and start thinking of all of our futures. It is time the true reason for government– to protect our rights and help keep us safe from abuse– becomes reality.