It is a grassroots movement operating in over 100 counties, that helped lobby for the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.
“They’re not really weapons, they’re mechanisms for annihilating most higher forms of life on earth”
The Nobel committee chair said the group “has been a driving force in prevailing upon the world’s nations to pledge to co-operate … in efforts to stigmatize, prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons,”
Gordon Edwards, head of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, says the award to ICAN is “wonderful news”.Listen
“For the first time in the 71-year history of the nuclear arms race we really have hammered out an international treaty on the prevention and abolition of nuclear weapons.” Edwards says.
More than 50 countries have signed the treaty, while 122 nations have approved the text, the Netherlands was the one nation voted against the treaty.
” A global suicide machine”
Edwards says it’s “the first step in a long road that is long overdue to achieve a world free of the nightmare of nuclear annihilation.”
Edwards may sound optimistic, even as the 69 other countries that did not vote include all the nuclear weaponized states, and the members of NATO except for the Netherlands.
But Edwards is well aware of the consequences of nuclear warfare. He says the language is inadequate.
“We call them nuclear weapons, but in fact they’re not really weapons, they’re mechanisms for annihilating most higher forms of life on earth.”
Edwards says an “all-out nuclear war” would bring global starvation as the resulting smoke would block the sunlight in what’s known as a ‘nuclear winter’ for several years.
He says “people do not realize what we’re talking about here; we’re talking about a global suicide machine”.
“The calm before the storm”
When asked about the disconcerting coincidence of today’s other news, that U.S. President Donald Trump made an off-the-cuff remark last night, during a photo-op with the country’s top military leaders and their wives, describing it as being “the calm before the storm”, Edwards is frank:
“Many people regard this whole situation that we’re in, with regard to the nuclear threat, as the culmination of four billion years of evolution of life on this planet.” he says.
After four billion years of evolution one species, out of all the species on earth, has developed the capability to undo four billion years of evolution, and that’s the humans,
And the humans are using primal instincts of aggression and warfare and hostility, which have got to the point, because of these weapons, of being a threat not just to the enemy, but a threat to all life.”
Edwards says Trump and Kim Jong-un of North Korea don’t grasp the basic facts of the potential destruction, “they think that they’re brandishing these weapons as if they were just crossbows and spears and swords from days gone by: they’re totally out of touch with reality.”
Edwards challenges Canadians to speak up on these issues. He says the country, as a member of the NATO alliance, is part of the problem.
Edwards paraphrases Trudeau senior as saying at the time, “If we want to have a world without nuclear weapons, we have to invoke a strategy of suffocation, we have to choke off the vital oxygen on which these weapons feed.”