The work to abolish all nuclear weapons globally isn’t just a foreign policy issue, and the problem runs deeper than the risk they’ll be used. These weapons are the ultimate expression of white supremacist and colonial power structures, and represent a clear and present danger to the work of movements to build a more just, prosperous, and equitable world.
This is not a siloed issue or a standalone fight. Nuclear abolition is a doorway to so many of the futures we care about, and it intersects across a myriad of other existential threats and social issues, which is why it is essential we all fight together to achieve a world of possibility beyond the bomb.
Nuclear Weapons are a ＿ Issue
Black, brown, and Indigenous communities disproportionately bear the burden of nuclear weapons production. These include activities like atomic testing on Pacific Islanders, uranium mining and milling, and the storing of toxic waste on lands held by Indigenous tribes and traditionally marginalized groups, or near low-income communities. This has exposed countless people around the globe to dangerous radiation and caused generations of devastating economic, ecological, and health problems.
Research shows a limited conflict involving a small number of nuclear weapons would produce catastrophic long-term changes in global temperatures and weather patterns, leaving the planet hostile to human civilization. Meanwhile, as the climate crisis worsens, the risks of conflict involving nuclear-armed states and, therefore, the odds of a nuclear weapon being used increase.
The extraction, production, testing, and storage of nuclear materials and weapons causes devastating long-term and intergenerational health problems. The pursuit of these weapons creates frontline communities who are then left to deal with a lasting legacy of birth defects, cancer, genetic damage, and death.
The testing and production of nuclear weapons contaminates land and water for thousands of years. Accidental contamination from production is frequent and efforts to clean up toxic sites, especially in poor and rural areas around the globe remain largely incomplete, inequitable, and costly to the communities and countries impacted.
Nuclear policy is overwhelmingly dominated by an elite group of men who use gate-keeping to maintain dangerous nuclear policies and exclude diverse voices from the decision-making process. In the United States, the president has sole authority to start a nuclear war with no checks or balances on this power.
Nuclear weapons siphon precious resources from the systems and structures that actually provide safety and stability in our lives. Global Zero estimated nuclear-armed states spent $1 trillion on nuclear weapons over 10 years while their people continued to struggle with countless, preventable social issues including, food and housing insecurity, educational collapse, and pandemic preparedness among others.