Nuclear proliferation outlined by Pearl Rotarian... Just days before the world got a warfare reminder

Posted on: Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Our PPRC podium--whether in person at Ecotrust or through virtual presentations--brings critical topics before Rotarians. Take the 2/8 and 2/15 meetings (the urgency of two speakers about the issues was apparent).

A youthful perspective on climate change was presented Feb. 8 by Luna Abadia, a Rotary youth exchanger from two years ago to Japan (and now a senior at Lincoln High School and heading to Duke Univiverty this fall).

Her passionate call for addressing global warming was covered in last week's Pearl Post. On Feb. 15, retired pediatrician John Pearson, an active Pearl Rotarian, addressed nuclear proliferation and the spread of nuclear weapons.

Said John: "This is a great concern of mine personally, but it's off the radar screen for most…feeling you can't do anything. But's it's the number one threat to human existence… "…a threat could do damage in a few minutes what climate change could take hundreds of years or Covid could do in a few years."

John addressed the incalculable damage of the two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan that ended WWII. He termed the use "experimentation" because the impact of the explosion, percussion effect and lasting radiation could not be foreseen."

The number of nuclear warheads in the world has been reduced from 60,000+ in the Sixties to 13,000 today (see footnote). But the fear of a "nuclear winter" if a bomb was unleashed is very real, John observed, noting his long-term involvement in the Physicians for Social Responsibility.

False alarms have happened (like during the Cuban missile crisis); there are also the possibilities of terrorism, drone usage which could initiate an explosion, or unforeseen accidents. "The reasons we've survived--just luck," he suggested.

Nine countries possess nuclear weapons--with Russia and the United States possessing the largest share. Calls for complete prohibition have come not only from many countries but also by a recent Pope, the Red Cross and a Rotary International president.

John urged his fellow Rotarians to support an effort at this year's RI annual meeting in Houston to join the call for ending warheads. He reminded the hybrid audience: "This is a world health issue that threatens our human existence."

P.S. For most people, as John Pearson noted, the issue is out of sight, out of mind. But just days after the PPRC meeting, the New York Times reported: "In a blunt show of Russia's capabilities, President Vladimir Putin held a test of its nuclear readiness that included launching three missiles."

(From a web search: Number of nuclear warheads worldwide 2021: As a weapon of mass destruction, nuclear warheads are part of the defense arsenal of some countries in the world. There were approximately 13,080 nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2021 and almost 90 percent of them belong to two countries: the United States and Russia. Even though the number of nuclear weapons worldwide has been decreasing since the Cold War, still the same two countries possess the majority of them.)

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