As a student studying sustainability at Furman University, the thought of the catastrophic environmental consequences of nuclear weapons paralyzes me. As species go extinct, natural disasters worsen and sea levels rise, I question how we can allow disastrous nuclear weapons to exist in a world already filled with enough environmental problems. I believe that a world jam-packed with 15,000 nuclear weapons, which can go off accidentally or at a moment’s notice, is unsafe for any life on earth.
This week, President Obama will become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Hiroshima, one of the cities bombed by the United States government back in World War II. While President Obama stated in 2009 that “the United States will take concrete steps towards a world without nuclear weapons,” we’ve yet to witness a decrease in nuclear spending and in fact are poised to spend $1 trillion over the next 30 years upgrading our nuclear arsenal under his new budget.
As the president embarks on an unprecedented visit to Hiroshima, we have a choice: wait idly by until another devastating bomb is dropped on our cities, homes and families, or urgently act to persuade the president to take a definitive action to get rid of nuclear weapons. As a step in the right direction, we can call for a significant reduction of nuclear weapons in the U.S. and for the president to stand down our nuclear arsenal from high alert. I hope that President Obama will act in our favor and work toward a global zero world.
Celia Castellano, Furman University
Global Zero Activist