Nuclear Weapons Working Group

Science for Peace began as a group of scientists who worried about the danger of nuclear war. Today, a working group still continues to function, educating the public and decision-makers about the catastrophic humanitarian effects of nuclear warfare, and promoting nuclear disarmament.

The Nuclear Weapons working group usually meets about once a month in a private home and members share information with each other by email. We welcome concerned citizens who are not members of Science for Peace.

Contact: mspencer@web.net

Current activities

Minutes of the 15 May 2017 working group meeting

Present: Rob Acheson (chair); Doug Alton; Adele Buckley; Eryl Court; Phyllis Creighton; Liz Gilarowski; Linda Kalafatides; Helen Kirkby; Michael Rosenberg; Frank Showler; Metta Spencer (host);
Regrets: Janis Alton; Barbara Birkett; Mike Nevin

Minutes of the April 17th meeting were read out by Rob and accepted.

Report was given by Helen and Linda on the April 22nd Toronto March for Science in which Science for Peace participated. The March attracted about 3000 people and had lots of good energy. Lessons were learned on how to improve on these marches going forward. Photos may be viewed on the Science for Peace Facebook page. Many thanks to all who participated.

Adele brought attention to The Age of Consequences, a documentary which aired recently on TVO, about how climate change is exacerbating conflicts, droughts, migration and other calamities across the globe. It discussed how these consequences are playing out and the ramifications for global security.

Metta proposed that Science for Peace and its working groups should convene a significant event later in the year on Climate Change and Peace to speak to this issue, look at the carbon footprint of the military worldwide, the financial costs of militarism which divert critical funds from confronting climate change, the impact that nuclear weapons have on the environment etc. etc. (Michael commented that the focus should be on the impact of military costs in general and not focus too exclusively on the nuclear weapons impact.) This event should be inclusive of all peace groups and environmental groups and focus on reaching and involving youth.

On April 18th there was a communication with Russian colleagues from Room 44 in University College. This first round was informative but some of the conversation was missed due to language and technology issues. Will attempt again in the near future.

There was some discussion on the Preparatory Committee for the 2020 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) held in Vienna, Austria. We reviewed RCW commentary and chair’s final statement. There was little reference to the NW ban negotiations in the chair’s 18 page summary apart from paragraph 49. The double standards maintained by NW states throughout this conference strengthen the need for a legal ban on these weapons.

The SfP Militarism Working Group is organizing a meeting on June 11th in Toronto on the politics on nuclear weapons abolition. Our working group will be helping with the organizing and promotion of this event. Stay tuned for how you can help.

There is still nothing from TVO’s Agenda on producing an episode on Canada and the ban negotiations but we will continue to pursue this initiative.

We encourage all to sign the Voice of Women petition to Ban the Bomb.

The hope of having hearings by the Toronto Board of Health on the dangers of nuclear weapons and radiation exposure is still being explored. The idea of a press conference on August 6th in coordination with Hiroshima Day commemorations is being considered to rouse our city politicians and the public on this issue.

Adele distributed an excellent synopsis of her paper, Sustaining Peace in the Arctic, to the Oceans Frontiers Conference held April 28th. It relates very much to the Climate Change and Peace event discussed above.

Note was made of the Women’s March to Ban the Bomb in New York on June 17 which some of us hope to attend. Because of time constraints we will not attempt a similar march here.

With the Nuclear Weapon’s Ban Treaty negotiations resuming next month we will have a busy summer and our next meeting will not be until Monday, July 17th 2017, 4:00pm at Metta’s (155 Marlee Ave, Party Room 2, main floor).

However, watch your in-box as there is much to be done.

See also

The report of the Nuclear Weapons Working group to the 2016 Science for Peace AGM can be found here,. The February 2017 SfP Bulletin has a report from the working group here as well as an ICANW article about the UN vote and a discussion paper on NATO.

Science for Peace has organized lecture series at University College in the 2013, 2014, and 2015 academic winter term on the theme of “Public Health in a Nuclear Age” (also the name of an undergraduate course for which SfP is responsible; see below). Videos of most of the lectures in these series are available on the SfP YouTube channel.

The Public Health in a Nuclear Age undergraduate course continues to be taught by Science for Peace president Metta Spencer.