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MY TURN, Greenfield Recorder

January 21, 2022


Jan. 22 is the one-year anniversary of the U.N. Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons entering into force as international law. Today, 59 countries have ratified the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, with several more countries on the verge of doing the same. The importance of this cannot be overstated. With more and more countries outlawing everything to do with nuclear weapons, it becomes increasingly harder for the nine countries possessing these weapons to defend their continued existence.

While it’s long been illegal, under all military laws, to use nuclear weapons, the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons now also outlaws development, testing, production, stockpiling, stationing, transferring, and threatening to use nuclear weapons. These stipulations put teeth into this treaty as the ratifying countries will no longer allow any nuclear weapons to be stored within their boundaries, cross their lands or allow any nuclear parts to be manufactured within their confines. The nine nuclear- armed nations are already feeling the pressure of international will.

For instance, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Netherlands, Italy are all likely to sign onto the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons eventually, with strong support already in their populations and parliaments. The United States currently has nuclear weapons in Belgium, Germany and Italy. After these countries ratify the treaty, the United States will be required to remove its weapons.

Nuclear Weapons along with Climate Change pose the two greatest existential threats to our civilization, our planet, and life as we know it. Within seconds, a nuclear holocaust could become reality by design or by accident. Many close calls have been recorded in our history of nuclear weapons over the years. There is absolutely no safe way to have them exist, as one misstep and life as we know it is doomed on our planet. Humans, plants, trees, animals could cease to exist in a radiation-filled landscape and atmosphere. Nuclear weapons are way too powerful for mere mortals to control.

So friends, celebrate this very significant anniversary of the Treaty on the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons. It brings us closer to a world without nuclear weapons and therefore a safer, saner place to inhabit. Join us this Saturday, Jan. 22 in Northampton in front of the courthouse on Main Street or in Greenfield on the Common, from 11 a.m. to noon. Bring your signs, banners, whistles, pots, pans. Bring your support, and celebrate, knowing that the peoples’ will is beginning to be heard.

Susan Lantz lives in Easthampton