Letter from a Blue Ribbon Congregation: The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington

Why and how does the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, New York, continue its support of the UU United Nations Office at the “Blue Ribbon Congregation Award” level

In June 2016, at this year’s UUA General Assembly in Columbus, Ohio, our congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, NY (UUFH), will be receiving a Blue Ribbon Congregation Award from the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO). This is our 6th Blue Ribbon Award in a row, and as a congregation we would like to let our fellow UU congregations know why and how we generate this commitment to support the UU-UNO’s many activities promoting justice throughout our larger world.

Located in Huntington, within the Greater Metro New York City area, our congregation has been “Living Our Values Enthusiastically” since it was founded in 1947. As the decades have rolled by, we have faced, as all entities do, controversies and challenges. Yet, a big part of why we have continued to use these ebbs and flows as opportunities to grow both as community and a spiritual home, is our realization that we can be more than the sum of our individual parts. That, in fact, we have the ability to reach beyond our walls to encourage others to join us as we continually strive to reach our congregation’s potential. As any congregation knows, this is not very easy. Nevertheless, welcoming challenges is the force that enables us to continue our pursuit of actions based on our mantra: an “open mind, loving heart and helping hands.”

Peace Pole at UU Fellowship of Huntington
Peace Pole at UU Fellowship of Huntington

For the UU Fellowship of Huntington, this mantra has led us to have a very active social justice advocacy agenda, including the protection of our environment, promotion of affordable housing in our township, an active “Journey-Toward-Wholeness” program, shelter for the homeless, becoming one of 10 “Peace Ministry Network” congregations, and the energetic participation in internationally-oriented endeavors such as the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO.)

Throughout the years, our Ministers and Boards of Trustees have stressed that our faith’s Seven Principles call for us to participate directly in good-works that reach beyond our walls.  With this leadership, our members have adopted this philosophy, and the devotion to “causes of justice” that it generates. Thus, it became natural, and remains so, to extend our influence outward, not only to our local, state and national communities, but even to the level of worldwide involvements, including a direct connection to our faith’s UU-United Nations Office as an integral part of our very being as a congregation.

It is with this interest, that one of our congregation’s social justice advocates, Mr. Dick Kopp, laid the groundwork for our congregation to appreciate the work the UU-UNO does, including enabling our faith to have a forum to foster our values at the United Nations, be it through UN General Assembly activities, or as an active participant in Non-Governmental Organization discussions.

Alley, UUFH's first Youth Envoy at UN Headquarters
Alley, UUFH’s first Youth Envoy at UN Headquarters

By 2011, our congregation welcomed the addition of a Youth Envoy to our UU-UNO endeavors at the urging of our Adult Envoy.  Ms. Alley Wolff’s tenure exemplifies what a youth emissary can do for a congregation, while also demonstrating what a positive affect such a responsibility can have upon a young person’s development into adulthood. Alley’s work and growth has also encouraged other youth from our congregation to directly participate in various UU-UNO activities. We now have two UU-UNO Youth Envoys, and two additional youth have asked to become UU-UNO Youth Envoys. The plan is to welcome these youth into our Envoy Program this September, 2016. Taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with the broader world, our congregation regularly sends our youth to participate in the Intergenerational Spring Seminar hosted by the UU-UNO each year in April. At this venue, they meet new people in the UU community and learn about ways to help the wider world as Unitarian Universalists. This impact on our congregation’s youth, alone, has been a richly rewarding result of our UU-UNO commitment.

Our congregation’s active connection with the UU-UNO, both in activities and financially, has proven to be invaluable in promoting our faith’s values. Though at one point it seemed out of reach, our congregation pulled together to help us far exceed the requirements for this year’s Blue Ribbon Award. It’s with great enthusiasm that we look forward to continuing our association and commitment.

We would like to thank the UU-UNO Envoy Coordinator, Ms. Allison Hess, and the Director of the UU-UNO, Mr. Bruce Knotts, for giving us this opportunity to let you all know a little about how important the UU-UNO can be in helping your congregation be a beacon of light. In addition, the good news is that today’s technology enables us, and you, if you so choose, to be directly connected online to live talks and discussions sponsored by the UU-UNO, the UN NGOs and various other UN entities. Thus, the roadblock of not being able to physically attend meetings, events, etc., is no longer the detriment it was only a year or so ago.

We hope this allows you to become a little more familiar with the reasons for getting your congregation to directly participate in our faith’s UU-UNO endeavor. You will find it most worthwhile. In fact, we would venture to say, how can you not? Maybe there is a Blue Ribbon Congregation Award in your future.

Peace,

From the UU Fellowship of Huntington, NY:

Ben Testa, Adult Envoy

Julia Moskowitz, Youth Envoy

Ben Sussman, Youth Envoy

Ben Testa, Julia Moskowitz, and Ben Sussman at the United Nations Headquarters
Ben Testa, Julia Moskowitz, and Ben Sussman at the United Nations Headquarters

Learn more about the UU-UNO’s Envoy Program and how your congregation can be involved and become a Blue Ribbon Congregation! This year’s Blue Ribbon congregations will be honored at the UUA International Reception on June 24 at the UUA’s General Assembly in Columbus, OH.

The Colors of Inequality: 2016 UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar

This guest post on our blog is from Isabella Gavanski, one of the Youth participants in this year’s Intergenerational Spring Seminar – The Colors of Inequality: Costs and Consequences.


My name is Isabella Gavanski, I am 15 years old and I attend the Lakeshore Unitarian Universalist Church in the Montreal, Quebec area. I recently had the incredible opportunity to attend the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office (UU-UNO) Intergenerational Spring Seminar and I have to say it was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had so far in my life.

To begin, the Seminar was highly educational. A tremendous amount of information was shared with us about the topic: The Colors of Inequality – Costs and Consequences. We learned about inequality within countries, how it affects our economic systems and politics, how it is connected to climate change, incarceration, solitary confinement and much more. It was an eye-opening experience, with many fascinating presentations and astonishing facts along the way. But that wasn’t all: the educational component was only one element of the Seminar. It was also an incredibly enriching social experience. I was also able to meet and share my thoughts with many other Unitarian Youth during our stay at the Unitarian Church of All Souls in New York. I also had the opportunity to listen and learn from the adults when we had Collaboration Group meetings in between the panels.

Five Mualimm-ak describes the physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences of solitary confinement.
Five Mualimm-ak describes the physical, psychological, social, and economic consequences of solitary confinement.

One of the presentations that was most shocking to me was about solitary confinement. The presenter, Five Mualimm-ak, gave an enlightening presentation about the justice system and his time in solitary confinement. The facts and statistics he shared with us were eye-opening and his story was tragic. Apparently, there are 80,000 – 100,000 Americans being tortured in solitary confinement right at this moment. In New York State, 5 out of 6 incarcerated people are in solitary confinement for non-violent behavior. But the statistic I found most horrific was that 48% of those in extreme isolation in NYC are children — that is, under 18 years old! The effects of solitary confinement are very serious, as it can cause brain damage, temporary blindness and other serious physical and mental health problems including insanity. To make the whole matter even worse, people in solitary confinement are routinely denied access to medical treatment and services. Those facts seemed so unbelievable. How could they possibly be true? I was shocked at how inhuman we can be toward our fellow humans.

Dr. David Kirkland presents on the consequences of inequalities in education systems.
Dr. David Kirkland presents on the consequences of inequalities in education systems.

Another presentation that I found to be particularly moving and emotional was a rap song done by David E. Kirkland. I’m sure his rap deeply touched every single person in the room. He spoke of racism in the education system and relayed some of his experiences as a child living with a single mom. He also told us of a student who just needed a push in the right direction but was instead scolded by his teacher, which damaged his will to learn. His words were so beautifully written and spoken, I was absolutely mesmerized. Through his descriptive presentation and rap, he showed us what it is like in a world where you are treated differently because of the color of your skin. I was deeply affected by his music and what I learned.

 

Isabella Gavanski (far right) leads her Collaboration Group in discussion at the 2016 Spring Seminar.
Isabella Gavanski (far right) leads her Collaboration Group in discussion at the 2016 Spring Seminar.

There were Collaboration group meetings in between all of the panels where I would have the chance to talk with adults and Youth alike about what we had learned and what we thought about the topics discussed. I had been chosen to lead one of the Collaboration groups, so I was able to facilitate the discussions and make sure everyone had the chance to share with the group if they wanted to. This role made the experience even more interesting and challenging for me. We had some intense conversations about our opinions on some of the panels and it was great hearing what everyone thought and seeing the vast diversity of opinions. It was always really interesting hearing a point of view that differed from my own and I was constantly reflecting upon what exactly I believed and thought about each of the presented subjects.

Another part of the Seminar that I loved was the Unitarian Universalist vibe that was all around me during the week I was there. I will try and describe it to you. There is a certain feeling of respect when you are in a room full of like-minded people. And the atmosphere in a room full of UUs is one of acceptance, friendship, respect and love. Everyone who attended had many chances to make new friends and hear opinions expressed by fellow Youth. I constantly wanted to hug the people around me and plop down on top of my new friends in a cuddle-puddle. I met many Youth at the UU-UNO Spring Seminar who I now consider family and I’m sure I will see many of them again next year.

We also had advisers showing us around New York and helping us through the complicated Metro System which was always a fun time as it was my first visit to the city. But, without a doubt, since I have an interest in UN issues and have attended Model UN conferences at Harvard University, McGill University, and John Abbot College with my high school this year, one of the highlights of my trip had to be sitting in the actual seats at the UN Headquarters!

All in all, my UU-UNO experience was a great one. I made some great friends, learned a lot about Inequality and was able to talk about it all in a meaningful way with the highly curious and intelligent people around me. I would definitely recommend going to the UU-UNO Intergenerational Spring Seminar to anyone who wants to have a fun, yet very educational experience. I will never forget my time at the Spring Seminar, and hope to be able to attend the Seminar again next year.

2016 Spring Seminar Participants at a panel in UN Headquarters.
2016 Spring Seminar Participants at a panel in UN Headquarters.

United Nations Reform: Slow, patient work to make the UN better

Bruce Knotts is Director of the Unitarian Universalist Association United Nations Office. He also serves as Chair of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace, and Security and Co-Chair of the NGO Committee on Human Rights.


Bruce Knotts addresses participants at an event at UN Headquarters.
Bruce Knotts, Director of UU-UNO

As President and CEO of the NGO Committee on Disarmament, Peace and Security, I also serve on the NGO Security Council Working Group. This working group meets with the ambassadors of those nations currently serving on the UN Security Council and with high ranking officials and missions working on Security Council issues. The most interesting of these meetings are with the member state ambassadors of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency (ACT) group. This group of small and medium sized member states meets at the Swiss mission to the UN to work on improving how the UN Security Council works and increasing transparency in the election of a new UN Secretary General.

In July 2015, the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group proposed a “Code of Conduct regarding Security Council action against genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes,” which calls upon all members of the Security Council (both permanent and elected) to not vote against any credible draft resolution intended to prevent or halt mass atrocities.  As of a meeting I had with the ACT Group on March 22, 2016, 111 member states of the United Nations have signed on to this code of conduct.  Canada and the United States are not among those 111 nations. (more…)

Of Trees and Sweeping

Florence Caplow is a Soto Zen priest in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, and a dharma teacher, field botanist, UU seminarian at Iliff School of Theology, essayist, and editor. She was the recipient of the UUA’s Tsubaki Grand Shrine Scholarship in 2015 and is currently on her visit with the Shrine. Tsubaki Grand Shrine is an ancient Shinto shrine in Suzuka, Japan, and an historic interfaith partner of the UUA. In this essay, Florence reflects on her powerful, moving experiences in Japan.

Day 5 at Tsubaki Grand Shrine (to read about why I’m here, read Entering Another World, my last post). Over the last few days I have been gradually transformed from my usual black-clothed Western self into “staff” at Tsubaki – first a white cotton jacket with the kanji (Chinese characters) for Tsubaki Grand Shrine over my Western clothes, then, yesterday, multi-layered full Shinto robes, all in white, that took a sweet young woman priest, Sakaka-san, about twenty minutes to put on me (today I was on my own, and no one has laughed, so I must have been successful). (more…)

Behind the scenes at COP21

This guest post is by Ahti Tolvanen. Ahti is a UU-UNO Envoy for Lakehead Unitarian Fellowship in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Here he writes about his experience as a participant in the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) international climate change conference in Paris, which took place in December 2015. 


COP21

After the news of the deadly November terrorist attacks in Paris, I was about to cancel my travel plans. This was despite two invitations: one to join Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps at the Climate Summit, the other from a relative who lived in the French capital. She was troubled about how to explain what had happened to her two pre-teen children. I suddenly saw myself as the awkward visitor.

The manhunt was still on for the terrorists involved and public rallies were cancelled by the authorities. The possibilities for networking with other NGOs there seemed diminished and I heard that many people were cancelling their trips.

Then came the message from Stuart Scott, director of United Planet: Faith and Science Initiative. They needed me to research and write media releases for prominent scientists and faith leaders speaking at the Summit. I decided to accept. My years as a journalist put this right up my alley. To refuse, it seemed to me, would be to give in to the terrorists – to open the gates of civilization to barbarians – at a time when it was critical to humanity to have a successful outcome in Paris.

I reconfirmed meetings I had tentatively set up with other contacts including the UUA delegation and friends at the Paris Fellowship, one of the few UUA member groups outside of North America.

Ahti Tolvanen at the le Bourget venue for the COP21 conference.

At the end of the first week of COP21, I flew into Charles de Gaulle airport and once through customs, noticed signs directing me to the trains to the le Bourget conference site. The conference venue was a set of large, prefabricated wooden buildings and an adjoining old airfield hangar. The prefab venue had a temporary appearance about it – like a large circus encampment. I hoped we’d be spared a severe cold spell or windstorm, lest the COP21 be the latest casualty of the climate crisis it was trying to address. (more…)

Unitarian leader takes Equal Marriage stand in Romania

Screen Shot 2016-02-09 at 8.48.32 AMRev. Dávid Gyero, the Deputy Bishop of the Hungarian Unitarian Church (Churches in Transylvania, Romania and Hungary), has shared his recently issued courageous statement on Equal Marriage.  By way of context, Romania is currently in the midst of a Constitutional struggle that would further exclude LGBT people from Equal Marriage.  We Stand on the Side of Love in faithful solidarity with Rev. Gyero.

For the Dignity of Human Creation: Statement regarding an Amendment to Paragraph 48 of the Romanian Constitution

As it is widely known, there is currently a nationwide effort to collect signatures in support of amending Paragraph 48 of the Romanian Constitution, containing the definition of marriage for the purposes of constitutional law. This initiative, created by the citizens’ organization Coalition for Families, has been an important issue for wide swathes of our society. Several Romanian church leaders have also taken to expressing their views in support of the amendment.

The governing bodies of the Hungarian Unitarian Church have not issued an official statement in this matter. I will therefore express my opinion as an individual, respecting the freedom of opinion of all church members and citizens, but using my opportunity for freedom of speech in this important matter of conscience.

The subject of the constitutional amendment is a proposal to change the definition of marriage contained in the paragraph titled “The Family”, from being the union of two persons to the union of a man and a woman, but the initiative inevitably emphasizes the issues of gender identity and sexual orientation. While the institutions of marriage and family are doubtlessly imbued with moral value as well as significance for our society and community, there are gaping chasms among the various understandings of gender identity and sexual orientation. What some consider sinful, immoral and godless, others consider natural aspects of the divinely created order of the world.

To me, unconditional respect for and protection of the dignity of God’s human creation is a basic theological value. I consider gender identity and sexual orientation to be scientific realities. Living in accordance with one’s gender identity and choosing one’s spouse are basic human rights. In my opinion, if the Church that serves both God and humankind is to be faithful to the Gospel’s teachings of unconditional love and acceptance, it cannot stand behind societal prejudices or discriminate among believers in matters of their human rights. Prejudices create impersonal categories in order to make us forget that behind each label, there are sensitive and honorable human beings, longing for happiness and fulfillment, who are also God’s children.

Like my responsible fellow citizens, I worry about societal phenomena that endanger our ideals of marriage and the lives of families. However, I do not consider minority gender identities or sexual orientations a source of these dangers. The foundation of marriage is mutual love and commitment, and the right to it belongs to every human being.

Dávid Gyerő, Deputy Bishop
Hungarian Unitarian Church
Kolozsvár, February 5, 2016

 

Responding to Requests for International Contributions

In the context of war and violence, mounting injustice, natural disasters and countless other severe challenges around the world, Unitarian and UU leaders in many countries are responding in creative and impactful ways to the issues they face locally.

In recent weeks, requests for financial contributions to support some of these efforts have been received by members of UUA congregations and the response typically reflects a depth of care and generosity that is inspiring.

The response to the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists (ICUU)’s campaign to support the members of the Unitarian Church in Burundi is an especially vivid example. This generosity has been a great blessing.

Sometimes global Unitarian and UU leaders reach out for support through networks of friends and colleagues – occasionally even through unverifiable email or Facebook messages.

When this happens, we urge individual UUs and congregations to pause and consult with the UUA International Office, the ICUU or the UU Partner Church Council before deciding to send a contribution.

Usually we can help congregations consider important questions about mutual accountability, unintended consequences, and other matters without diminishing the deep caring, commitment to shared justice work, and generous intentions involved.

For further information, please see this memo about “Faithful International Partnering: Proceeding Carefully and Intentionally” from the UUA, UUPCC and ICUU which includes contact information.

February Update on Situation for Burundi Unitarians

Image credit: Amnesty International

Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana, founder and minister of the Unitarian Church in Burundi, has shared the following update on the current situation in Burundi. For further context and background information, read “Making Sense of the Burundi Crisis.”

You are welcome to share this article widely.
Please consider making an online donation to support Burundi Unitarians.

The situation in Burundi remains of concern with widespread violence mostly in Bujumbura but also in rural areas.

 

As a consequence, many deaths are registered and dead bodies are still found on the streets and other people are killed through fighting between armed groups and the police and the Army.

 

A report from Amnesty International stated that mass graves are suspected and many people are buried in those mass graves.

 

The peace and Security Council of the African Union suggested a 5,000 people strong force to protect Burundi civilians and awaited a decision from heads of states. Last weekend, the heads of states and governments didn’t agree to send the troops. There is now a high profile mission to Burundi headed by the current African Union head, the president of Chad, that will visit Burundi as soon as this week.

 

According to news available, the UN general secretary is also expected to visit Burundi in the course of February. All these efforts are aimed at convincing all parties to get to the negotiating table and the government to accept the foreign troops.

 

As far as the Unitarian church is concerned, members are still scattered outside Burundi and shelters have been arranged for people to stay and have basic needs provided. About 17 people are housed in those shelters in addition to some who live in individual rented houses but do get support as needed and appropriate. These shelters are mostly in east African countries.

 

Arrangements are made to support people who remained in Burundi. We are glad to report that the church has remained open throughout these difficult times to the point that no worship service has been cancelled so far and additional measures have been taken to secure the church building and the people who use it.

 

We are praying that the situation gets a peaceful resolution soon and people can go back to their respective homes and jobs as well as thinking about long term solutions.

 

We are grateful to all of you for your support and your constant encouragement.

UUPCC Youth & Young Adult International Opportunities

UUPCC Young Adult Grants for ICUU Conference & Council Meeting 2016

The UU Partner Church Council has set aside funds to provide assist young adult participants (ages 21 – 35) to attend the International Council of Unitarians & Universalists Conference and Council Meeting in July 2016. It is hoped that these funds will make it possible for young adults to join in the important international work of our shared faith.

In the interests of open access and transparency, grants to attend the ICUU Council Meeting and Conference to be held July 2016 in the Netherlands will be determined via an application process.

To be considered for such a grant, a completed application form must be returned to ICUU Young Adult Program leaders by email office@uupcc.org and to arrive no later than 15 March 2016. Download Grant Application (PDF)

Eligibility
Each applicant must be approved by the governing body of their national or regional organization and no more than two such recommendations will be considered from any country. For Canadian and US applicants who function under Congregational Polity you must submit a letter of recommendation from the minister or governing body of a congregation.

Subsidies are given only to people who cannot otherwise afford to attend and an applicant agrees to provide on request any financial or other information that UU Partner Church Youth & Young Adult Initiative Team may need to consider applications.

Criteria
The following factors will be among those considered in making grants:
– Priority is given to delegates and to persons who have not been funded to attend an ICUU event within the last three years
– Priority will be given to young adults who wish to or are developing leadership skills within their faith U/U communities.
– All grant recipients agree to participate fully in the Conference/Council meeting and the Young Adult Program.

Selection
The applications will be considered by the UU Partner Church Youth & Young Adult Initiative Team.

We may not be able to provide grants to applications from all that apply and receipt by UU Partner Church Youth & Young Adult Initiative Team of an application should not be regarded as a commitment or promise to provide a grant. Grants may initially be available for only one participant per country.

Grants
Those whose are subsidised to attend the meeting are expected to arrange for and fund their own visas, if required, and to fund domestic transportation in their own country to the international airport, except in exceptional circumstances. ICUU will provide an international return air ticket to the site of the conference and cover the on-site conference costs for the participant up to the amount of the grant for travel and conference costs.

Grants to include coverage of the following:

Travel Expenses
Philippines/India/Africa Participants 10 total $900 each

European and E. European Participants 10 total $100 each

US and Canada Participants 10 total $300 each

Young Adult Conference Costs:

Philippines/India/Africa Participants 10 total $400 each

European and E. European Participants 10 total $200 each

US and Canada Participants 10 total $100 each

 

International Youth Camp in Transylvania

UUPCC and the Hungarian Unitarian Church are partnering to create an International Youth Camp. It will be designed to serve high school teens who wish to be part of a pilgrimage and mission experience in Transylvania. Youth will journey to sites that are sacred to our religious tradition, and learn why they are still relevant to our modern faith movement. They will also participate in a service-oriented work project in Transylvania to benefit our Partners there. This camp is designed to allow youth groups, as well as individual UU teens who do not have access to a regular Group, to participate in Partnership.

Approximate dates: beginning of August, 2016

Approximate costs: $1500 for airfare, and $1000 dollars per teen for in-country travel, room and meals.

Getting ready: Qualified teens must be attending high school as of September 2016, be available for Zoom/Skype meetings as the year unfolds, and successfully complete a weekend Youth Group “bootcamp” in the Boston area before leaving for Transylvania in August 2016 (where all North American teens will learn to function as a successful Youth Group)

Overseas travel: will include flying into Koloszvár, several pilgrimage sites in and around Kolozsvár, daily Youth Group meetings, time for games, skits, and lots of meals—and a service-oriented stay in a Transylvanian village.

Total travel time including East coast “bootcamp”: 10-12 days

For more information, or to apply, please direct your inquiries to Jennifer Emrich at jemryq@yahoo.com

 

Related

70th Anniversary of the First UN Resolution to Eliminate Nuclear Weapons

Protesters advocate for the elimination of nuclear weaponsOn January 24th, 1946, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously passed its first resolution, which called for the establishment a commission to monitor nuclear energy around the world, and for the elimination of atomic weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. This January 24th, 2016, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first resolution as we continue to advocate for nuclear disarmament.

The Unitarian Universalist Association has been active in seeking nuclear abolition as a part of its respect for the inherent worth and dignity of every person, and for the interdependent web of life. The UUA released a Statement of Conscience in its 2010 General Assembly stating: “We support international efforts to curtail the vast world trade in armaments and call for nuclear disarmament and abolition of other weapons of mass destruction… In an interdependent world, true peace requires the cooperation of all nations and peoples.” The UUA strongly stands against nuclear proliferation and mobilizes cooperation for the abolition of nuclear weapons. In 2014, a number of representatives from varying faith-based organizations signed the Statement of Conscience Concerning Nuclear Weapons. The statement condemned as “inherently immoral” the enormous loss of life and environmental destruction which the use of nuclear weapons would cause, and called for their elimination.

The devastation a nuclear war would cause could have irreversible effects on humanity and nature to the point of threatening the extinction of the human race. The use of nuclear weapons in a region could ensure the death of millions from burns and radiation poisoning, and provoke a global famine putting billions at risk. A global nuclear war would cause severe climate change due to smoke, soot, and nuclear firestorms resulting in a drastic lowering of the global temperature. It would ultimately leave our planet uninhabitable.

The signatories of the 2014 Statement of Conscience Concerning Nuclear Weapons called for action by the United States Government to abolish nuclear testing, weapons, and nuclear armament, urging government officials, for example, to:

  • Seek the commencement of serious multilateral negotiations, aiming at the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons, on a mutual and verifiable basis;
  • Reaffirm support for the Non-proliferation Treaty; and
  • Seek ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty,

The 2014 Statement of Conscience declares that the use of nuclear weapons is inherently immoral because of the “horrific and indiscriminate effects it has on civilians and the environment.” There is no moral justification for the continuation of subjecting people and the planet to this extremity of danger. The obliteration of human life and food resources affected by nuclear weapons makes an indefinite delay morally unacceptable.

Currently, many organizations and bodies affiliated with the United Nations are dedicated to advocating and working for a nuclear-free future, including the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs, non-governmental organizations, and committees. Monitoring the Iran Nuclear Deal and North Korea’s nuclear test on January 6th are vital cases in which the United Nations is working to disarm the world of nuclear weapons. On December 7, 2015, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 70/48, “Humanitarian pledge for the prohibition and elimination of nuclear weapons,” with the support of 139 nations.


Learn more: