The beginning of the new year has ushered in a new ray of hope for humanity; on January 22 2021, the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) was entered into force, becoming binding international law.
The TPNW is a legally binding document aimed at nuclear disarmament. Signatories are legally bound to avoid engaging in any nuclear weapons activities, including, but not limited to, the development, testing, stockpiling or use of nuclear weapons. They are also obliged to assist individuals affected by nuclear weapons-related activities and engage in environmental remediation efforts in areas under their jurisdiction contaminated by these activities.
The humanitarian and environmental impact of nuclear weapons testing, detonations and accidents has become a topic of renewed interest within the past decade. Since 1950, at least 32 nuclear weapons accidents, known as “broken arrows,” have been reported, the effects of which have ranged from moderate to severe, and sometimes even fatal. The catastrophic consequences of intentionally detonating nuclear weapons are even greater cause for concern, as proven by the destruction, death and long-term residual effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945.
Modern nuclear weapons are exponentially more powerful than those used in 1945, with the potential for massive, widespread devastation. Recently, America began building a massive nuclear weapon with a destructive power twenty times greater than the atomic bomb that devastated Hiroshima. With approximately $100 billion invested into this acquisition alone, the prevalence and threat of nuclear weapons is an issue of global concern. The future of humanity and the environment is threatened by the existence of these weapons, making nuclear disarmament a critical objective for survival. Entry into force of the TPNW has been a major leap forward in this direction and must be acted upon globally to secure humanity’s future.
This momentous event was celebrated by Mines Action Canada, Non-Violence International Canada, and Washington Against Nuclear Weapons Coalition with the Salish Sea Photo Action event. Residents of British Columbia and Washington State were encouraged to submit photos publicly expressing their opposition to nuclear weapons, particularly in the Salish Sea, which is currently home to one of the world’s largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The waters are also frequently traversed by nuclear-armed submarines, creating a perilous situation for residents in the event of detonation. Dr. Erica Frank, NextGenU.org’s Founder, participated in this photo action event and was featured in the photo collage, on the top.
The Salish Sea Photo Action Collage featuring NextGenU.org’s Founder,
Dr. Erica Frank, MD, MPH, FACPM (bottom row, centre)
The waters are also frequently traversed by nuclear armed submarines, creating a perilous situation for residents in the event of detonation. Dr. Erica Frank, NextGenU.org’s Founder, participated in this photo action event, and was featured in the photo collage, on the top.
The entry into force of TPNW is the result of 75 years of activism focusing on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. While this occasion is a major victory representing advancement towards a world free of nuclear weapons, work still remains until the complete eradication of nuclear weapons can be achieved. The team at NextGenU.org supports this initiative and applauds Dr. Erica Frank for another exemplary display of activism on this critical health and justice issue. It is the hope of our organization that acts like these will truly assist in the global elimination of nuclear weapons and create a brighter future for humanity.