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2017 Nobel Peace Prize   Leave a comment

ICAN wins 2017 Nobel Peace Prize

peaceprize1-620x350The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on October 6th to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN):

…for its work to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons and for its ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

This was a true collaborative effort of ICAN, Costa Rican Ambassador Whyte Gomez, who chaired the negotiations, and 468 partners (governmental and non-governmental) in 101 countries — which finally succeeded in achieving the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons despite all the obstacles and challenges faced by civil society, states, and diplomats.

In addition to Costa Rica, three other states and one international organization deserve particular mention for the leading roles they played: Norway, Mexico, Austria, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

It is essential that the momentum from the Nobel Peace Prize and the achievement of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) be maintained as this is one of many steps to be realized in achieving the total abolition of nuclear weapons.

For Canadians, there is an urgent need to encourage the Government of Canada to begin a long overdue dialogue on disassociating our country from NATO’s nuclear doctrine as an essential step toward NATO itself abandoning its retrograde and counterproductive reliance on nuclear weapons. – Peggy Mason, Rideau Institute President.

And for those that ask how we can talk about nuclear disarmament when North Korea and the USA are engaged in threat and counter-threat, we say this is  precisely the time to engage in dialogue, to reduce tensions and lay the groundwork for broader disarmament negotiations.

Photo credit: ICAN

Original post is on: www.ceasefire.ca

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Awe, humility and gratitude   Leave a comment

The words, “awe, humility and gratitude” are frequently used as “spiritual” terms. But what does it mean when they are used by a well-known environmentalist in a reflection on life?

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Could it be a “spiritual, but not religious” moment?

If you’re wondering, check out the blog post by one of Canada’s prominent environmentalists, David Suzuki, at:

http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/science-matters/2017/09/environmentalism-is-a-way-of-being-not-a-discipline/

 

 

 

Charlottesville, Empathy and Love   Leave a comment

Philosopher Charles Taylor has labelled our time as, “A Secular Age”, while Jeremy Rifkin has described our time as moving towards, “The Empathic Civilization”.

How does what happened in Charlottesville on August 12, 2017 fit with these descriptions, and with the deep-in-the-heart human desire to love each other?

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Sunrise at Cape Spear – a new day begins in North America!

Vancouver journalist  Emilee Gilpin spoke with local anti-racist artists and activists Carol Martin, Harsha Walia, Kim Villagante, Jaye Simpson and Adrian Long about Charlottesville, and a planned counter-racist rally at Vancouver City Hall, which could see over 3,000 attendees. Gilpin asked them how they access empathy and love amidst violence, chaos and rage.

The uplifting responses of these west-coast activists can be found on the website of The Tyee at: https://thetyee.ca/News/2017/08/18/Five-Activists-Artists-Fighting-Racism-Outrage-Empathy/?utm_source=daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=180817

 

Hiroshima Remembrance Day   Leave a comment

According to Wikipedia; “Hiroshima is best known as the first city in history to be targeted by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped an atomic bomb on the city (and three days later, another on Nagasaki) at 8:15 a.m. on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.”

Hiroshima after the bombing

Canadians can take action to help prevent such a violent act from happening again. Check out the link that follows:

http://www.ceasefire.ca/?cat=1

Non-military responses to global challenges.   Leave a comment

i-remember-for-peace

Buffy Ste. Marie’s song, Universal Soldier, was probably not a part of the playlist when the U.S.A. was commissioning a new aircraft carrier this weekend. As I remember the song, Buffy sings that “this is not the way to put an end to war“.

Ceasefire.ca has published the following post encouraging Canada to take an alternative road towards attaining peace on earth:

Jul 21, 2017 03:52 pm

With the USA ramping up its global military activity and eschewing UN-led peace and security efforts, Canada must restore and expand its leadership on war prevention and peaceful conflict resolution.

http://www.ceasefire.ca/?p=25208

Posted July 23, 2017 by allanbaker in Canadian society, Peacemaking, Politics

Tagged with , ,

A positive Step Towards Ending Nuclear Weapons   Leave a comment

New UN treaty outlaws nuclear weapons

First Phase Digital

Friday, 7 July at the UN Headquarters in New York more than 120 countries adopted a landmark treaty to ban nuclear weapons. All nine nuclear-armed states, and all NATO members except the Netherlands, had refused to participate in the negotiations.

“These states recognize that the ban treaty would represent a potent stigmatization of the nuclear weapons they still cling to and an act of political and moral protest against their retention.” (Paul Meyer)

The treaty prohibits the possession, development, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons and provides for nuclear weapons states to become parties by either a “destroy and join” or “join and destroy” plan for the verifiable elimination of their nuclear weapons. It also explicitly prohibits the stationing of nuclear weapons on the territory of non-nuclear weapons states.

“This new prohibition lays bare the fundamental contradiction between Canada’s legal status as a non-nuclear weapons state under the NPT and our active participation in NATO – a nuclear-armed military alliance.” (Peggy Mason)

The Canadian position on the treaty was, in part, influenced by a U.S. memo from last year that strongly encouraged all NATO allies to vote against negotiations. Andrew Leslie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, went so far as to call the treaty negotiations “premature and ineffective” last month in Parliament. After decades of empty platitudes and inaction on the part of the Canadian government, it’s hard to believe that any forward movement on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation can be considered ‘premature’.

“The integrity of the Canadian position that it really wants to do away with nuclear weapons, but not just yet, is in tatters.” (Douglas Roche)

Despite the refusal of nuclear states and their strategic allies to participate, the treaty represents an historic step forward in the ongoing push for nuclear disarmament, marking a “new, reforming spirit in global nuclear affairs.” Some also see the treaty as a powerful sign that the international community will not be intimidated by nuclear powers.

“It represents a structural change in the power structure between states… Emerging powers believe they can push an agenda that is not only opposed to the interests of the main military powers in the world but also something that condemns them.” (Leonardo Bandarra)

In 1978 Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau told the UN that “we must impart a fresh momentum to the lagging process of disarmament.” In 2017, his son, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, had an unparalleled opportunity to help do just that. Instead Canada was not even at the negotiating table.

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To learn more about the future of nuclear disarmament, join us at the Group of 78 Policy Conference, “Getting to Nuclear Zero: Building Common Security for a Post-Mad World,” on September 22nd.

For an important discussion of what parliamentarians can do to achieve a nuclear-free world, see the “Parliamentary Action Plan for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World: 2017-2020”.

Living in a Glass House type economy   Leave a comment

There is a saying that those who live in glass houses ought not to throw stones. Mea culpa.

I have had an opportunity to complete reading a book by Brian Alexander called; “Glass House: The 1% Economy and the Shattering of the All-American Town”. It is an excellent book that gets into some of the nuances of what is happening to “ordinary people” and civic life in the U.S.A.

If you have some Anchor Hocking cookware in your kitchen, you have a connection to Lancaster Ohio, the town that is being destroyed by the current economic system. Of course, it isn’t just Lancaster Ohio.

A review of “Glass House” by Laura Miller can be found at: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/books/2017/02/brian_alexander_s_glass_house_about_lancaster_ohio_reviewed.html

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This book has helped me to understand a bit about what it is like to live in the U.S.A. at this time in history.