Rotarians are leaders, and leadership is understanding reality and taking appropriate action. In this case, we need to apply our leadership skills, voices and passion to an issue that poses the number one threat to our planet: nuclear weapons. If we do not, the odds are that a nuclear weapon will be used within the next 20 years. We can eliminate these weapons through agreement and verification as has been done in the last 30 years with other weapons of mass destruction.

I am very worried that people don’t think there is a real danger that nuclear weapons will be used. I hope you will read these materials in order to truly understand how bad a nuclear exchange of any kind will really be. Nuclear weapons are a real and present danger. A nuclear detonation can happen, and in fact will happen, if we don’t get rid of the weapons.

There is a growing movement for nuclear abolition that Rotarians can join and support. Rotarians can make a huge difference, and it is incredibly worthwhile for us to get involved. Consider our history:

  • Rotary has historically played an important role educating the public about the danger of nuclear war. In April 1983 The Rotarian ran a special forum on this issue. In his introduction to that discussion, then Rotary President Horiji Mukasa said, “I believe it is critical that we discuss the potential destruction of mankind and his environment if it is to be prevented from becoming reality.”
  • Last year, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon thanked Rotary for our long history of concern with this issue ahead of the Rotary Peace Forum in Japan. “As you gather in Hiroshima, it is especially fitting to remember that global nuclear disarmament is a global public good of the highest order. I am especially grateful for the interest that Rotarians have demonstrated over the years to advancing this great goal.”

International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and Physicians for Social Responsibility are currently setting up presentations in Rotary Clubs to talk about the medical and humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons. They share Rotary’s vision that, “World peace means more than ending war. It also means safety for everyone, including society’s most vulnerable members.”

Rotarians can make a significant difference. All weapons of mass destruction must go!