We Have An Important Choice To Make About Nuclear Weapons, Nobel Winners Say

“The end of nuclear weapons or the end of us.”

As U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un trade threats of nuclear war, the Nobel Peace Prize's commitment to global disarmament seems more pressing than ever. In fact, the prize this year went to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons — a coalition of 468 organizations in more than 100 countries — and during this year's award ceremony, ICAN representatives expressed strongly-worded warnings about nuclear warfare.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee had previously announced ICAN as the 2017 winner for the coalition's role in promoting the United Nations Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. That treaty was adopted in July with the support of 122 nations — not including, notably, the United States. The U.S. didn't participate in the vote, nor did any other nuclear-armed nation.

"We have avoided nuclear war — not through prudent leadership, but through good fortune," ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said at the December 10 award ceremony, CNN reports. "And sooner or later, if we fail to act, our luck will run out."

Some of the strongest testimony came from ICAN's Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old woman who survived the United States' 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

"Heed our warning and know that your actions are consequential," Thurlow said in her speech, per CNN. "You are each an integral part of the system of violence that threatens humankind."

The Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation — a "national non-partisan, non-profit dedicated to enhancing peace and security through expert policy analysis and thought-provoking research" — is also seeking donations for its efforts.

But global citizens don't even need to donate money to get involved. ICAN is also leading a social media campaign to #EndNukes, for example, using origami cranes to raise awareness; and Global Zero invites supporters of peace to "join the movement for zero" and campaign for the elimination of nuclear weapons.

After all, as ICAN's Beatrice Fihn said at the Nobel ceremony, we have a choice between "the end of nuclear weapons or the end of us."


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