Why on earth would someone want to bike around the bomb? Wouldn’t that be depressing? And dangerous?
Actually our nuclear industry is the dangerous event and it has been operating for over 70 years. Bravo to Global Zero for raising awareness with the younger set. The gray haired activists, hibakusha, downwinders and Marshallese were beginning to feel as if we would all die off before we could eliminate nukes.
There is value in creating a way to experience the scope of absolute destruction that would occur in YOUR city if a relatively small nuclear warhead were to be dropped on it. Bike Around the Bomb held its fifth annual event on the anniversary of the bombing of Nagasaki. Eugene hosted one of 26 events in five countries – its first annual.
How does an event that occurred 70 years ago in Japan relate to Eugene? Let me count the ways:
- The plutonium that was used in the Nagasaki bomb was created in the Pacific Northwest at Hanford Nuclear Site on the banks of the Columbia in Washington.
- Eugene, much like Nagasaki, is surrounded by mountains. The mountains of Nagasaki limited the total area of destruction causing the force to bounce back on the city.
- Eugene, much like Nagasaki, has rivers running through it. Those who survived the initial blast and were able, dragged themselves to the river trying to cool the horrific burns.
- Eugene, and most all cities, has churches, schools, markets, playgrounds, businesses, homes and many, many people. Just like Nagasaki.
- Eugene has a mayor who is a member of Mayors for Peace, just like Hiroshima and Nagasaki where the organization was founded on the belief that cities should not be targets.
It is time to retire the world’s arsenal of more than 17,000 nuclear warheads. Seventy years is long enough to hold the world hostage to nuclear threat.