(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.”

Speakers concluded by pledging to hold Congress and the Trump administration accountable for their decision as it relates to a climate change and nuclear war to protect residents of Arizona, and individuals from across the world, from the effects of the two. They expressed extreme urgency to deal with both of these threats, and the critical responsibility of the public health community, public at large and elected officials to take action on nuclear weapons disarmament.

On October 6, 2017, PSR shared recognition with the International Committee for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for the 2017 Nobel Prize in Peace for bringing forward the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. PSR founded ICAN in 2007. Keynote speaker for the upcoming forum, Dr. Ira Helfand, Co-Director of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, played a large role in these efforts and was quoted in a New York Times article. Dr. Helfand participated in the International Steering Group of ICAN.”


Ashley Lynch, Senior Account Executive, Resolute


Carolyn’s note: Present today: CD 3 Congressman Raul Grijalva (welcome remarks),  LD 9 House Rep. Dr. Randy Friese (on the panel), CD 2 candidates Mary Matiella, Bruce Wheeler and Billy Kovacs. About 200 people in the audience at UA Memorial Student Union north ballroom, to hear keynote speaker Dr. Ira Helfand and the panel discussion.

Panelists (on the video): Dr. Steve Keplinger, Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal church, Dr. Rick Graap (PSR), Sandra Maria Bernal (UA Ph.D student), LD 9 House Rep. Dr. Randy Friese, Jack Cohen-Jappa (The Nuclear Resister), Dr. David Spence (PSR – Flagstaff).