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Nuclear power, weapons, and war need to go

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March has a way of coming in like a lion.

On March 1, 1954, the U.S. military conducted a test explosion, called Castle Bravo, of a hydrogen bomb in the Bikini Atoll. This robbed the Bikini people and other Marshallese of their homeland and way of life and left them with extremely high rates of cervical, breast, gastrointestinal, and lung cancer due to radioactive contamination.

March also brings us International Women's Day and reflections on reproductive rights: the right of women to have full autonomy over their bodies, the right to have or not have children, and the right to raise those children with dignity in a safe and healthy environment. These rights were violated for families on Bikini Atoll and have been violated in other campaigns of oppression on our planet.

Now, women in Gaza, with no access to reproductive care, and tens of thousands of children in Gaza, terrorized and starved, are being denied these rights. Additionally, the war in Ukraine drains all the participants of resources and lives better spent on health, education, climate regeneration, and brings us ever closer to nuclear war.

March 11 is the anniversary of the 2011 maximum severity nuclear accident in Fukushima, which is the source of "treated" radioactive water now being released into the Pacific Ocean. This is not "us vs. them." It is us and them.

War is a major contributor to climate change, and nuclear power and weapons pose extreme danger to all citizens of the planet. Call for a cease-fire in Gaza and Ukraine and reject the risks to human health and biodiversity that nuclear weapons and nuclear power pose. Let's have March go out like a lamb, in peace, justice, and health for all beings.

Dolores Howard

Paso Robles

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