by Arlene Mercurio
The term global warming may be too small to encompass the cascading
effects of too much carbon trapped in the atmosphere. Even climate
change has benign shades of acceptability. Yet those who have been paying
attention to the natural environment already see the links with droughts,
floods, violent storms, fires, the loss of arable land, shrinking water
supplies, crop failures, accelerated extinctions, weed invasions, the
spread of infectious diseases and displaced persons. What we may have not
yet considered is the increased potential for armed conflict as resources
shift and dwindle. Conflicts perpetrated over oil–a resource with viable
alternatives–may look like child’s play compared to the coming conflicts
over irreplaceable land and water, in a world with nuclear weapons and
As if the unraveling of the planet’s natural systems wasn’t enough for us
to contemplate, this could be the ‘covers over the head’ conversation.
OR–it could be the defining moment in human history in which people
actually see that the path they are on leads to destruction and therefore,
must change dramatically. The ideal has become the imperative.
Here comes the really bad news: since you are reading this, you are among
the relatively few who are already awake and therefore, a self-selected
leader. (Sorry, it’s too late to throw this into the recycling bin.)
Here’s the good news: our ranks are growing daily and include the
visionary, strong, smart leaders who have been in the forefront of nuclear
arms elimination, like Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR).
PSR, along with other co-sponsors, including the Allegheny Group, are
holding a conference at the Pitt Law School entitled Securing Our
Survival: Meeting the Threats of Nuclear Weapons and Global Warming. The
dates are Friday, Oct. 12, 9:00 am-5:00 pm and Sat. Oct. 13, 9:00
am-noon. The conference is free. The goals are education, coalition
building, organizing and action. The opportunity is to arm yourself with
the understanding, the words and the fire to do your part. In all my years of
activism, I’ve never seen the general public and our political leaders
more willing to listen.