Tag Archives: PSR

Watch video of “Nuclear Weapons, War & Environment” forum held at UA

ARIZONA LEADERS WARN OF CLIMATE DESTRUCTION AND GLOBAL DISASTER

IF NUCLEAR WEAPONS ARE NOT ELIMINATED (press release)

 (Tucson, AZ) — “Amidst growing tensions of global nuclear weapons and attack, including North Korea’s recent barrage of missile tests, keynote speaker Dr. Ira Helfand and Congressman Raul Grijalva joined local leaders convened today to raise awareness about the catastrophic impacts of a nuclear weapons exchange, risks of war and potential environmental impacts of a nuclear attack.

 A video of the forum can be found here.

 In a forum hosted by Physicians for Social Responsibility – Arizona Chapter, speakers discussed the important connection between climate change and nuclear war, and the grave threats they pose to human survival. There is evidence that use of even relatively small nuclear arsenals could cause long lasting, global damage to the Earth’s ecosystems.

 They also addressed important approaches to preventing nuclear war, nuclear disarmament and the International Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

 “The crises in Korea and Iran underline the extraordinary danger of nuclear war that confronts the world today. The U.S. needs to fundamentally change its nuclear policy and accept that nuclear weapons are not agents of national security but rather an existential threat to our survival,” said Dr. Ira Helfand, Co-Director of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. “We need to urgently pursue negotiations with the other nuclear armed states for a verifiable, enforceable agreement to eliminate these weapons before they are used.”

 Climate change will place increased stress on human populations and may lead to global crop failure and massive migrations and conflict between states which are armed with nuclear weapons.  Nuclear war would cause massive and abrupt additional climate disruption. Speakers at the forum urged the reduced reliance on nuclear weapons by all nuclear weapons states to create a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation.

 “I urge ever Arizonan to take immediate action, as we all have a stake in the issue and are directly impacted by the threats of nuclear war,” said Dr. David Spence, Member, Physicians for Social Responsibility – Arizona Chapter. “Contact our Arizona U.S. Congress members and tell them to support the Markey/Lieu (S 200/ HR 669) legislation that would allow only Congress (not the President) to authorize a first-use nuclear strike.”

Continue reading

Climate Smart Southwest: Are YOU Ready for Climate Change?


Climate-smart-southwest-logo
by Pamela Powers Hannley

Is it hot enough for ya?

In the coming years, as temperatures rise, weather patterns evolve, and plant and animal species become extinct, that wry, old country greeting will lose it’s quaint humor. Thanks to global warming.

The Southwest is already the hottest and driest part of the US. And our region is already experiencing longer and more intense heat waves, a dramatic spike in forest fires and severe dust storms, and changes in rainfall and seasonal snowmelt. These changes threaten water resources, food security, and public health.  As extreme weather events continue to increase, we will see higher rates of heat stress, newly emerging infectious diseases, asthma, and other respiratory illnesses.

How will the Sonoran Desert change as climate change progresses? Will we have enough water? What will our air quality be like if Arizona’s dirty coal-fired power plants continue to balk at environmental regulations?  How will Arizona cope with rolling brown outs if electrical demand spikes? How will Tucson’s vulnerable populations fare with more days over 100 degrees? What can we do NOW to lessen the impact of climate change on our fragile environment?

This coming weekend, Sept. 20-21, the Arizona Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) is sponsoring an important conference for us desert dwellers:Climate Smart Southwest, Ready or Hot? Check out the details after the jump.

Friday night features a free public lecture by Dr. Eric Klinenberg, author of the best-selling book Heat Wave:  A Social Autopsy of Disaster in ChicagoThe talk will be from 7 to 8 pm at the TEP Unisource Building Conference Room, 88 E. Broadway in downtown Tucson. 

One of the many Saturday speakers is Dr. Greg Garfin, climate researcher from The University of Arizona, and co-author of a new paper which assess climate change impacts on health, water, agriculture, energy supply and demand, ecosystems, transportation, and our communities. The day-long schedule on Saturday has speakers, workshops, and strategy sessions; Saturday events will be held at the Tucson Convention Center. (Check out the schedule here. And register here.)

In a recent Arizona Daily Star commentary, Garfin wrote:

Arizona is no stranger to heat and an arid climate. But the “Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States” concludes that decade 2001-2010 was warmer than any prior decade in the last 110 years. The warming trend in global temperatures over the past 50 years, primarily driven by human-caused increases in greenhouse-gas emissions, is projected to continue, producing longer and hotter heat waves in the Southwest.

Especially troubling for Arizona is the reduction of water availability as declines in soil moisture, late-season snowpack and river flow continue. Water has always been a critical issue for Arizona and innovative water management has allowed the state to thrive and grow.

But climate change will place a heavy strain on an already scarce resource.

Wildfires also pose a growing threat as changes in temperature, soil moisture and vegetation fuel longer and more destructive fire seasons. In 2011, we glimpsed this future when the Wallow Fire – the largest fire in Arizona history – burned over 500,000 acres. It will only get worse as climate change accelerates.

If greenhouse-gas emissions continue on their current path, by mid-century Tucson will have a projected additional 34 days a year (an extra month) of 100-plus-degree days and 25 more 110-plus-degree days. Our future prosperity will evaporate along with our water supplies.

As a scientist, I look at climate change through a lens of data and peer-reviewed reports. But when I take off my strictly scientific hat and look at the issue more broadly as an Arizona citizen who cares deeply about my community and the future of Tucson, I can reach only one responsible conclusion: We must change our trajectory. We must prepare for the impacts we cannot avoid, while we prevent the impacts that we cannot prepare for by slowing climate change dramatically.

Although the conference is being organized by PSR, a coalition of community and national organizations as well as local leaders are co-sponsors. Progressive Democrats of America (PDA Tucson, Arizona, and National); the City of Tucson; the Pima Association of Governments; several major employers; and many non-profits are sponsors . The purpose is to build new and fortify existing cross-cultural, community, and governmental partnerships to educate and engage community action to address the anticipated public health impacts of climate change in the Southwest.

Become informed and learn what you can do by checking out the conference this weekend.

Like what you read here? Check out my Word Press blog Tucson-Progressive.com, my Tumblr page, or my Facebook page.