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September 26th is International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons. With Nuclear War only a hair trigger away, the Union for Concerned Scientists calls on us to do something about this threat that could destroy the world.

How big a threat is it?

According to, nine countries in the world control 15,695 nuclear weapons. This graphic from their site makes this number visible. [Go to the site to download the supporting reports.]


Current United States policy is to keep missiles on hair trigger alert with round the clock crews ready to launch in minutes. This policy dates from the Cold War when the idea was seen as a deterrent. If the Soviets launched missiles at us, they would be destroyed even if they hit us first. This was called Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD - a truly mad policy we seem to have forgotten. And yet, there are still hundreds US submarines and 450 silos ready to be released in the event of an attack even though the Soviet Union is gone and Russia is no longer a threat.

The people in charge of these weapons are only human. They make mistakes. Three major nuclear hair-trigger catastrophes have been averted only because in each case one unsung hero used common sense and didn't press the button. Does that worry you? It worries me.

What can we do?

Learn more. The Union of Concerned Scientists has numerous articles on nuclear weapons and produced a very informative fact sheet.

Write a letter to President Obama urging him to end the hair-trigger alert policy.

And on September 26th, read The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Zeus in which the stupidity of war is made clear enough for even a child to understand.

In addition -  Unfold Zero suggests:
  1. Writing letters to government figures asking them to speak up for nuclear abolition
  2. Watching the movie The Man Who Saved the World which tells the story of one of those unsung heroes who didn't press the button, Stanislav Petrov. Look for a screening near you.
  3. Asking local government leaders and religious leaders to sign the Joint Statement of Legislators and Religious Leaders for a Nuclear Weapon Free World
  4. Taking a picture of something you love and posting it on social media with the hashtag #Sep26dontNukeUs.

Yes, there are a lot of other things to fear right now. Global Warming, terrorism, outright war, but we can't let the fact that nuclear weapons can put an end to all our worries in a hair's breath for no reason at all, unless we use a little commonsense.

Let us know what action you will take on September 26th.


Teach Peace Now
Teach Peace Now

We offer books, activities, lesson plans, and ideas that teachers, parents, and students can use to promote values, attitudes and behaviors which encourage non-violent resolution of conflict, respect for human rights, democracy, intercultural understanding and tolerance.

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