By SADIE PRICE-ELLIOTT, age 13
This summer marks the 70th anniversary of the U.S. dropping the first atomic bombs on Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantly killing 120,000 people. They destroyed the cities while leaving survivors with the long-term effects of radiation. The United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs states that nuclear weapons are the most dangerous type of weapon on the planet. In a major address given in Vienna, Austria, in 2009, President Barack Obama said that he pictured a “world without nuclear weapons.”
Six years later, advocates argue that little progress has been made toward this goal, and that his priorities have changed. According to the New York Times, the president has gone back on his original plan, and instead his administration is investing tens of billions of dollars to update and rebuild the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Yet, activists have taken a stance against nuclear weapons. An organization called Massachusetts Peace Action (MAPA) wants to see “an end to militarism and war.” They educate people on the dangers of nuclear weapons by holding rallies and conferences. MAPA also circulates petitions, in hopes of convincing the president, Congress and the other world leaders to get rid of nuclear weapons. “Our decision to speak or remain silent will determine what comes next,” writes Elaine Scarry for MAPA’s newsletter. “Our own instruction to world leaders: ‘Disarm. Now.’”
Another organization called Youthpolicy.org is encouraging young people to get involved in nuclear disarmament, stating, “We decided that we could not let others make policies for us while we wait and see how it will affect us in the future.”
Nuclear disarmament: When a country gets rid of some or all of its nuclear weapons.