Importance of Global Zero

By Anisha Niyas

Angie Zelter. Not someone I had ever heard of until I had the privilege of sitting through a workshop on Nuclear Disarmament at the Training for Trusteeship program in 2010. And to be incredibly honest, I forgot about her until this year, when Japan was facing a nuclear catastrophe.

Since then, her words have been inspiring, but more than that, how she has chosen to live her life resounds more. This was a very ordinary British woman who in 1996 was part of a group that disarmed a Hawk Jet - ZH955, causing £1.5 million worth of damage as well as preventing it from being exported to Indonesia, where it would have been used to attack East Timor. She was eventually acquitted for doing this, the judgment helping to force the issue of arms control into mainstream media.

There are more and more people who define themselves as global citizens, who know that life is intimately interconnected, and that we can never be fully human whilst others suffer, and who know that love, justice and non-violence is the very essence of life.

If we respect the world we live in, the only home that we have, it will respect us. Our survival and the survival of generations to come are dependent on this mere truth.

Sri Lanka repealed its 1969 Atomic Energy Act, in order to allow for the introduction of nuclear power generation technology here. I think we as a nation have forgotten that although Nuclear power is cheaper than renewable energy, the mistakes that could happen are tremendous for both human life and the environment, much of it is irreversible apart from causing birth and genetic defects for generations to come. We don’t have to look too far to see and learn from the fall-out from the effects of nuclear weapons - Chernobyl, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Fukushima.

There is no place in our planet for weapons of any form, especially nuclear weapons. If countries such as the United States and Russia who recently ratified the new START Treaty, definitely a first, if not tentative step towards the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons, then why are we investing money in nuclear energy? I believe in the power of social change through grassroots efforts because I have seen it with my own eyes, and I am committed to making the most of this incredible gift that I have - my life. There are many different ways in which ordinary people can take responsibility. Raise awareness through social media, keep your eyes open and gather knowledge for yourself, because there has never been a time where information was at the touch of a button, get online and support a cause, like so many equally passionate youth have across the world and most importantly know that greatest lesson that we must collectively learn is to never repeat the mistakes made in the past.

To find out how STITCH is helping to improve our future, or to find out how you can dedicate yourself, please visit our website at www.stitchmovement.com.

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