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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Peace Out Nuclear Weapons!

Friday, May 28th, 2010

One of the most powerful threats against all people today are nuclear weapons. They have the potential to destroy populations and cities with the push of one single button:

  • There are currently 8,400 active and operational nuclear weapons worldwide
  • There are more than 23,000 total nuclear warheads that include operational, spares, and those in active and inactive storage. Though many may be scheduled for dismantlement, they are rarely ever destroyed.
  • The United States and Russia possess 95% of the world’s nuclear weapons arsenal. 6 other countries have confirmed their possession of nuclear weapons.

nuclear_button2Nuclear weapons pose a constant threat to global peace and security. World leaders have the ability to detonate a nuclear weapon within minutes with the push of a single button.

World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is challenging YOU to design a new nuclear button!

WFUNA has noticed that the traditional “nuclear button” -the button that is pressed to launch a nuclear weapon- is rather boring in design, and doesn’t symbolize the grave consequences of its use. We think you could come up with a more suitable one!

Deadline:12 July 2010. First prize is an Apple ipad!

More information here
Please email inquiries or feedback to

Global Countdown: Take action!

Monday, August 24th, 2009


By William Zhang

2008 has been a year of financial meltdowns, chaotic weather, a global food crisis and of course elections, both here and abroad. But we want to do something about the issues we are facing, so check out our ideas for taking action!

10. Drugs

Take Action:

9. Human Rights

Take Action:

8. Global Food Crisis

Take Action:

7. Healthcare

Take Action:

  • Don’t wait until you’re sick - be proactive and make healthy choices every day. Eat well, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
  • Support The Global Fund, which works for the prevention and treatment of AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, by buying (RED) products

oilfree_photo6. The Oil Crisis

Take Action

  • Leave the car at home whenever possible - walk, bike, catch the bus or take the train.
  • When buying a car, pay attention to its fuel economy rating Not only will it save you money, it’ll also help conserve the world’s finite oil supplies.
  • Read Life after Oil (another Just Write article) about preparing for the peak oil crisis.

5. Global Security

Take Action

  • Stay informed on the latest issues in global security. There’s a lot of hype out there, so if you want to go straight to the source, is one of the most trusted on the net.
  • Find out more about what you can do from the Global Security Institute, an organisation promoting security through the elimination of nuclear weapons.

4. Education

Take Action

  • Volunteer as a peer support worker at your school and help a fellow student get more out of their education.
  • Don’t take your education for granted - millions in the developing world aren’t as lucky. Make the most out of your school’s resources like libraries and computer labs…and (the most valuable resource of all) teachers!
  • Find out more about the UN’s Education for All programme and how you can support their goal of meeting the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015.

3. Climate Change

Take Action

  • Go to or for loads of ideas on reducing your carbon footprint - from unplugging appliances to setting up community composting projects.
  • Support New Zealand businesses which have proper climate change policies, like Meridian Energy (or if you don’t pay the bills, ask your parents).
  • Put the pressure on businesses and the government to give climate change a higher priority - write letters, use parents’ networks and join lobby or environmental activist groups.

peace_trees2. Violence and Conflict

Take Action

  • Live by the principles of non-violence, followed by Te Whiti and Tohu, Ghandi and Martin Luther King. (Download this resource Parihaka and the gift of non violent resistance for more information.)
  • Help out the victims of violence and crime in New Zealand by donating to or volunteering for the Victim Support service.
  • Check out the Peace Foundation’s new youth website,, to find out how you can be an advocate for peace in your community.

1. The Economy

Take Action

  • Take money out of the equation. Bartering was the original form of trade, dating back to the Ancient Egyptians. Independence from money means that bartering systems prosper in difficult economic conditions. Try it for yourself, set up a class bartering system, or register with and share your time and skills with your whole community.
  • If you, or your parents, are forced to cut down on donations to charity, consider replacing them with a contribution of your time with volunteer work. Try or for current opportunities in your community.
  • Anchor down. Don’t spend beyond your means - maxed out credit cards are not the best idea in an economic downturn. But most importantly, think positive! The news may be full of gloomy stories about job cuts and lost savings, but don’t let that get to your head. Remember that “after the storm, the sun shines its brightest”.

This article was originally published in Tearaway Magazine.

Global countdown: Global meltdown?!

Monday, August 24th, 2009

By William Zhang

The year of 2008 was one of financial meltdowns, chaotic weather, a global food crisis, and of course, elections both here and abroad. If you get depressed easily, you might want to stop here. If you want to keep up and get ahead with the issues that will affect us most through 2009 though, read on. This is my Top 10 countdown for the issues of 2008 and 2009.

Just to show you I am not a complete pessimist the Top 10 list is followed by the actions you can take on each issue.

10. Drugs

Drugs continue to be a global problem. Annually the US alone spends $35 billion on its ‘War on Drugs’. 2009 will mark a century of international cooperation on drug control. In 1909 leaders from around the world met in Shanghai to discuss the drug problem of the time - the Chinese opium epidemic. In Aotearoa New Zealand, 2008 has been the Year of the Drug Bust. The aptly named Operation Viper saw the New Zealand Police make almost a hundred arrests, following numerous drug busts throughout September. The following month, a $28 million shipment of pseudoephedrine (a component of P), was intercepted by Customs - and that’s only the third largest drug bust in New Zealand history!

9. Human Rights

human_rights_chinaFor human rights campaigners around the world many milestones were made in 2008, such as the signing of an international treaty which bans the use of cluster bombs after years of campaigning by peace and disarmament groups. We also witnessed the spectacle (and sport) of the Beijing Olympics, which was accompanied by protests over China’s human rights record, raising some much needed awareness and generating media coverage around the world. 10 December 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a chance to celebrate achievements and focus on the upcoming challenges for 2009 and beyond.

8. Global Food Crisis

Millions of people in some of the world’s poorest nations face starvation in 2009 and beyond, due to skyrocketing crop prices and food shortages. Last year, over 25 000 farmers committed suicide in India alone, disillusioned by the debts they had been driven into by grain shortages and soaring costs. 2008 was the International Year of the Potato, but while the world celebrates the virtues of this staple food, the issue of hunger in developing countries remains as significant as ever.

7. Healthcare

global-healthcare1Globally over a billion people are still living without access to basic healthcare, with huge numbers dying from preventable diseases, such as tuberculosis and malaria. Locally too, the healthcare system was stretched to its limit in 2008, with red - and even purple - alerts flying everywhere, indicating shortages of hospital bed space. And let’s not forget the many overworked doctors and nurses around the country. 2009 may see further challenges, with many governments struggling to maintain expenditure on healthcare given the global economic slowdown and falls in GDP.

6. The Oil Crisis

In July, the price of petrol was thrust above $2 a litre, reaching new all time highs. While the price may have come down significantly since then, once economic growth takes off again when the world emerges from the economic slump, petrol prices are likely to soar once more - look out for new highs by 2010. In the long-term future, the peak oil crisis is coming. We’ll start to experience oilcost-photoa decline in the availability of cheap and easily accessible oil sources, with some predictions picking petrol prices to surpass $10 a litre within a decade. (And to think we were complaining when it hit $1 a litre back in April 2000!)

5. Global Security

Both Iran and North Korea are carefully nurturing their nuclear programmes going into 2009. In the case of Iran, retaliatory action from other countries, such as the US or Israel, threatens to throw the Middle East into further turmoil. The picture looks a little brighter for North Korea though, with agreements made to dismantle their central nuclear complex in return for financial aid from the US. Meanwhile, terrorism continues to remain a risk to global security as we head into 2009, with the prospect of biological weaponry being used against civilian targets a very real threat according to US National Intelligence Agency.

4. Education

Millions of children worldwide don’t even have access to the most basic forms of education. Over a billion people will enter 2009 unable to even read a book or sign their name. In 2009 progress will be made towards addressing this issue, with US$ 4.5billion pledged to support Education For All, a UN programme with the goal of meeting the learning needs of all children, youth and adults by 2015. In Aotearoa New Zealand, over 20% of students leave secondary school without any formal qualifications. While the solution to this is debated, the merits of NCEA continue to draw harsh criticism for not being challenging enough; with over 10% of New Zealand schools opting to offer Cambridge or IB instead - the list is growing steadily going into 2009.

cyclonenargis3. Climate Change

The Aotearoa New Zealand winter was full of extremes, with the coolest May since 1992, followed by higher than average temperatures in June and July, and of course the ‘weather bombs’ of August. Globally, Australia was hit by record droughts in early 2008, and South-East Asia was hit by record storms later in the year. This trend may turn out to be a title page for what’s to come in future years, with many scientists claiming climate change is responsible for this extreme weather and that things are likely to get worse. But its not just weather we have to worry about. A recent report found that the impact on ecosystems of climate change is already very severe, with falls in krill population caused by rising sea temperatures even being attributed to cannibalism among polar bears in the Arctic - nasty!

2. Violence and Conflict

According to the 2008 Global Peace Index, a system used to rank countries by their levels of conflict, Iraq is the least peaceful country, with the most internal conflict. Most of this can be attributed to US-led occupation of the region, with much of the violence being targeted at coalition forces. Meanwhile, Iceland took out the top spot as the most peaceful country. Aotearoa New Zealand was ranked fourth most peaceful, down two places from last year. 2008 saw violent crime in New Zealand rise, despite the overall crime rate going down. What seemed to be an endless string of senseless murders throughout the year left the country shaken and demanding action. Yet, this violence may be a dramatic symptom of deeper social issues, such as poverty, education and unemployment. If so, such issues will have to be addressed in 2009 before the issue of violent crime can be tackled successfully.

1. The Economy

tillCrises in the financial markets have dominated the news, election campaigns, and conversation since September. Aotearoa New Zealand is in a gloomy recession going into 2009, and many economists believe that the world’s going to join us soon. The underlying issues to the economic crisis are yet to be untangled though, so 2009 is looking to be a year which will be financially difficult for people throughout the world, including many New Zealanders. Sure, could have lower interest rates, but troublesome things may also be ahead - job cuts for example. This issue is also likely to have spill-over effects into several other areas. For instance, the climate change issue will likely take a back seat in the face of economic uncertainty. Likewise, those in poverty will be hit especially hard, as the willingness of governments and individuals to contribute financial aid and support may diminish.

2009 is going to be a rollercoaster of a year
The year of 2008 may have looked pretty gloomy, but there is still hope for the future. The United States has a new President and New Zealand has a new government. Will 2009 see Obama’s vision of “change we can believe in”, or the new government’s promise for a “brighter future” realised? Let’s hope so.


William has lots of ideas for ways to take action Check them out here.

This article was originally published in Tearaway Magazine.

An Inconvenient Truth - the Crisis of Global Warming

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

By Al Gore

globecrackingWhat do you think about Global Warming Do you care enough about the planet to get involved? What can we do to deal with the crisis? This book shows what is happening on our planet and how it affects us. From wildfires to disappearing icecaps we learn what the scientists have been discovering. We also learn how to become part of the solution, in the decisions we make both now and in the future.

The DVD is also available.

You can join our library and get books and DVDs out for Free!

Will Bush go to war with Iran?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

Jayran Mansouri (May 2006)

In the wake of 9/11, the world has become a much more terrorism-aware place. All of a sudden, it was revealed that the USA was not infallible, Al Quaeda were on the loose, and that terrorism was more likely to occur than we may realise.

Then, the United States declared war on terror. This has been, and will continue to be, a controversial issue with Muslims as well as other people.

Recently, many people have been saying that Bush will nuclear-bomb Iran.

So how likely is Bush to go to war with Iran? How would a war with Iran be justified - or not justified? What are the possibilities of nuclear weapons being used? Are there any peaceful alternatives to a war on Iran?

How likely is Bush to go to war with Iran?
Very, very likely indeed. In fact, it is almost no longer a question of will Bush declare war on Iran, but a question of when.

Most people are of the belief that Bush will go to war with Iran. This is mainly because Iran has allegedly got nuclear weapons, and it is not permitted by the United Nations policies.

Basically, a war with Iran is all but confirmed.

How would a war on Iran be justified or not justified?

The primary reason Bush is considering war with Iran is that Iran has nuclear weapons, or is on the way to making them anyway. Another goal would be changing the regime.

However, while it is almost certain that Iran will develop nuclear weapons, it is not as close as it may seem. This is because the media misquoted the percentage of uranium that was enriched, making it seem higher.

Which means that Iran using the uranium to make nuclear weapons is not as likely as it seems.

But if Iran becomes a nuclear state, then what has happened to MAD?

Not Justified:
MAD stands for Mutually Assured Destruction. The deal is like this: Assume two states have some nuclear weapons. Neither will think of attacking the other, even if they disagree on certain issues, because if they do attack, then the other state will strike back with a nuclear weapon of their own. Then both sides will be annihilated. See the entry for MAD in Wikipedia)

If Bush does go to war with Iran, a disastrous nuclear war will ensue, where millions of innocent lives could be lost.

What are the possibilities of nuclear weapons being used?

Very high. In fact, one article states that Bush is specifically “planning nuclear strike against Iran” (See the article Bush “planning nuclear strike against Iran’ in the NZ Herald on 10.04.06) )

However, my main concern is that the use of nuclear weapons will cause extreme death and destruction.

The last time a nuclear weapon was used it was 1945, towards the end of World War 2. Many innocent civilians were incinerated. Having visited the Hiroshima Peace Park, I feel strongly about this.

Nuclear weapons will almost definitely be used if Bush decides to go to war with Iran, resulting in death, destruction and radiation sickness.

Are there any peaceful alternatives?
George Bush could call a conference to appease the Iranian Government. This would provide an opportunity to make peace, and for both sides to discuss peaceful and moral solutions rather that dropping nuclear weapons on each other.

It would also allow for better press for the US in the Middle East. At the moment, America is very unpopular in the Middle East, and this gives rise to lots of hostility. However, if a conference was held, hostility will decrease, and therefore the risk of war will be decreased.


Images from Creative Commons, and thanks to the Peace and Disarmament Centre in Christchurch.

No more Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005

Annie Boanas

“No more Hiroshimas! No more Nagasakis!”

This message was repeated over and over again during my recent two week trip to Japan. Julia Johnstone and I travelled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima for the World Conference against Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. We attended as representatives of the Peace Foundation and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, during the 60th Anniversary of the bombings.

As a young person working for peace, there are definitely moments where I get frustrated, overwhelmed and cynical. This trip to Japan provided an opportunity for me to connect with thousands of other young people who are passionate about peace. This experience reignited my hope and inspiration.

I delivered a speech in front of 3000 people at an international youth rally in Hiroshima, where I had the opportunity to network with youth and hear stories of what others are doing for peace.

We visited the Peace Museums in both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and listened to the stories from Hibakusha (survivors of the bombing). The symbolism of floating beautiful lanterns, with messages of peace, down a river where sixty years ago dead bodies floated in their place…these experiences were very powerful and very emotional and reinforced my sense of individual responsibility as part of the younger generation, to recommit myself and inspire others to take action for peace.

Annually, the world spends US$1 trillion on military, less than 10% of this budget could eliminate poverty. Today 30, 000 nuclear weapons exist, each having 200,000 times the force of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. These weapons of mass destruction are ready to be used at the touch of a button.

It is crucial that young people get actively involved in these issues because it is us who carry the responsibility to help build a more peaceful world. Shed those feelings of complacency and realise you play a central role in creating a difference and you have the power to bring positive change.