To the Editor:
“Peace on earth, good will toward all humankind” is a refrain that reverberates throughout the recently concluded holiday season. It’s pleasant to keep repeating it, but we need to consider what it really means.
Jan. 22, 2021, marks a significant day in the history of the united efforts of the world’s nations to secure peace on our planet. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) is the initiative by the United Nations to guard against the profound human capability to annihilate all life on the planet. One hundred and twenty-two countries voted at the UN General Assembly to support the TPNW, and more than 50 have ratified it to date. The major nuclear powers have opposed the treaty.
However, many financial institutions both within the United States and abroad have taken a stand against supporting companies that produce nuclear weapons. They have either refused to invest in these companies or have divested from them. (Refer to the report by ICAN, winner of the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize.) Clearly these institutions recognize the devastating consequences that can occur by contributing to the further development, stockpiling, and threatening use of nuclear weapons. Examples of financial enterprises that choose to place more noble goals above moneymaking concerns wherever possible portend the potential to live in a world devoid of nuclear threat.
Some may view it as naïve to assume that the abolishment of the production and use of nuclear weapons can be achieved, but it must not be summarily dismissed as a fantasy if we care about the wondrous life forms that exist on this beautiful earth. If we’re enterprising enough to develop nuclear capabilities in the first place, aren’t we smart enough to figure out how we can live in peace?
On January 22, we need to celebrate and support the work of the United Nations in their efforts to dare to tackle what naysayers might deem impossible.
Sandra Svenningsen, Chair
The Church and Society Committee
Sparta United Methodist Church