The Back from the Brink Fund will employ a strategy to help global citizens understand the enormity of worldwide climate disruption caused by a limited, regional nuclear war; the great and increasing danger that nuclear weapons will be used; and, the reality that nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to our health, safety, and security. We use all possible tools and donor resources available to solve this most pressing problem that no one nonprofit can solve alone.
Through Back from the Brink Fund, we call on the United States to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
“The only rational course of action is to cease living under the conditions where our mutual destruction is only one impulsive tantrum away. A moment of panic or carelessness, a misconstrued comment or bruised ego could easily lead us unavoidably to the destruction of entire cities.”
– Beatrice Fihn, executive director of ICAN, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Since the height of the Cold War, the United States and Russia have dismantled more than 50,000 nuclear warheads, but 15,000 of these weapons still exist and they pose an intolerable risk to human survival.
95% of these weapons are in the hands of the United State and Russia; the rest are held by seven other countries: the United Kingdom, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea.
The use of even a tiny fraction of these weapons would cause worldwide climate disruption and global famine. As few as 100 Hiroshima sized bombs, small by modern standards, would put at least 5 million tons of soot into the upper atmosphere and cause climate disruption across the planet, cutting food production and putting 2 billion people at risk of starvation.
A large scale nuclear war would kill hundreds of millions of people directly and cause unimaginable environmental damage. It would also cause catastrophic climate disruption dropping temperatures across the planet to levels not seen since the last ice age. Under these conditions the vast majority of the human race would starve and it is possible we would become extinct as a species.
In the words of Robert McNamara, one of the most influential defense secretaries of the 20th century, “nuclear weapons serve no military purposes whatsoever.” “They are totally useless — except only to deter one’s opponent from using them. The devastation would be complete and victory a meaningless term,” he said.
Despite assurances that nuclear arsenals exist solely to guarantee they are never used, there have been many occasions when nuclear armed states have prepared to use these weapons, and war has been averted at the last minute.
Nuclear weapons do not possess some magical quality that prevents their being used.
“All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours.”
– President John F. Kennedy
Our current nuclear policy is essentially the hope that our good luck lasts. Furthermore, the danger of nuclear war is growing as climate change puts increased stress on communities around the world increasing the likelihood of conflict.
The increasing tensions between nuclear powers has moved the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists this year to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 2 Minutes to Midnight. These risks are exacerbated by the corporations manufacturing nuclear weapons, who have a vested interest in keeping the nuclear weapons budgets high. Such budgets divert resources from other areas of need. Over $1 trillion is earmarked for nuclear weapons over the next ten years, most of it being spent by the United States (see below).
This money could instead cover all the following:
“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.”
– President Dwight D. Eisenhower
The Back from the Brink Fund exists on individual contributions like yours. At the end of the day, at the end of our lives, we will ask ourselves whether we could have done more for the health and well-being of the planet, of humanity and all living things. Leverage your charitable giving to create social change with ICV’sICV’s Catalytic Philanthropy.
“We stand today, I believe, in greater danger of nuclear catastrophe than we faced during the Cold War.”
– William Perry, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, 2017