Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Friday, January 20, 2006

GLOBAL WARMING, ROCKET LAUNCHES AND A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE


The snow is gone from the ground outside. The high temperature today was 50 degrees, very sunny, didn’t need a coat on at all. Many say it is the reality of global warming. I believe it.

Yesterday the New Horizons nuclear mission to Pluto lifted off safety from Cape Canaveral. Right afterwards Fox Radio News called to ask my thoughts. Last night, at 1:00 am, CNN International TV news called and interviewed me for five minutes. They put my picture on the TV screen while we talked. I said in both interviews that NASA and the Department of Energy are doing a $300 million expansion of the laboratory in Idaho so that they can process the growing demand for space nuclear missions. The Idaho DoE lab will be busy processing deadly plutonium for NASA’s nuclear-powered bases on the Moon, nuclear rockets for Mars, and reactors for the Pentagon’s weapons in space that would be fired by nuclear power. The plan is to launch more of these radioactive payloads in the coming years. I said that NASA is playing nuclear Russian roulette with our lives. Sooner or later there will be another accident.

The Atlas rocket that carried the New Horizons probe into space punched a bigger hole in the ozone layer above the Earth. The toxic exhaust cloud from the rocket also fell onto the Cape Canaveral national seashore “wildlife preserve” where it contaminated the water and fish died as they do after each launch. Birds eat the contaminated fish and die. On through the food chain the killing goes even without a launch pad accident. No one notices and even “space coast environmental groups” don’t talk about it because the space center is the local job creation machine. We learn to look away.

Many space enthusiasts this week emailed me saying that the Global Network was holding civilization back from this historic journey to find our new home because Earth is a rotting, stinking, dieing planet. Surely, the contamination from the space program has helped make it so. But alas, I am old fashioned. I love this Mother Earth of mine and want to keep it clean and alive. That makes me an anti-technology bum my critics say. One person who wrote in called me “the enemy.”

But in two days time we had well over 8,000 hits on our web site. Not all of them thought badly of us. In fact many have just learned about the nuclearization and weaponization of space. A local weekly newspaper called The Coastal Journal asked me yesterday to come in for an interview. They want to do a feature on what makes an activist like me tick. I went in this morning.

I remarked about the spring weather we are having to the reporter. I talked about how we need now to make a dramatic transition away from polluting technologies and that we must move to sustainable technologies like wind power, solar and public mass transportation. The interview took place in Bath, just blocks away from Bath Iron Works (BIW) where the Navy’s Aegis destroyer is built. I told the story about how a shipyard in Copenhagen, Denmark has been converted to build windmills. Denmark is now the world’s leading producer of wind power. In northern Maine, at a place called Mars Hill, a large windmill farm has been approved by the state for construction. The windmills will be brought in from Denmark. At nearby BIW they announced more layoffs last week.

I asked the reporter, why can’t we make a political demand that our tax dollars be used to create jobs at BIW building windmills, solar and rail cars for a world-class rail system instead of more weapons of mass destruction?

Instead of creating more pollution with toxic rocket fuel, why can’t we citizens demand that our tax dollars be used to develop alternative technologies for space flight that don’t help kill our Mother Earth with each launch? If we don’t make these demands, then who will? If we don’t fight for our children’s future now, it won’t matter if we find a new “home” in space some day. It will have been too late.

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