AUSTRALIA NEEDS AN ONGOING PUBLIC DEBATE ON NUCLEAR RISK REDUCTION POLICY.
A global thermonuclear war with the potential to end civilisation and make human survival itself problematic, is considered by those with expertise in the area of strategic stability and nuclear weapons policy to be closer to taking place right now than at any time in history including during the tensest parts of the cold war, with the possible exception of the very height of the cuban missile crisis (where Kennedy guesstimated the chances of a global nuclear exchange at between one on three and 50/50), and short periods on Sept 26 1983 and November of the same year. With the Doomsday clock officially at 100 seconds to ‘midnight’, and with continual threats from Putin and other Russian figures to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukraine, the use of nuclear weapons – with the escalatory potential to progress to global strategic nuclear war – has never before been so brazenly and unashamedly spoken of.
With the main decision-maker in this matter, President Putin, in bad health and possibly dying, and with his reportedly suicidal moods at times, the mere fact that the use of nuclear weapons would result in his own likely demise cannot be counted on to deter him.
Whether or not the world experiences global thermonuclear war is largely up to decisions that will be taken by a single individual whose rationality and desire for self preservation cannot be taken for granted.
In the (hopefully still unlikely, but we really do not and cannot know) event that things do progress from use of tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine to use of tactical nukes against NATO, to use of strategic nuclear weapons, Australia will be a high priority target.
‘Joint installations’ at Pine Gap, and Northwest cape, are critical parts of the US nuclear command and control network. They are not merely just any old target – they are right at the top of the targeting priority list of Russia, China, and the DPRK.
Australian cities are hopefully further down the priority list, but those with naval bases (Sydney, Perth, Darwin) would be targeted for just that. A standard Topol M Russian warhead (800Kt) would produce 3rd degree burns out to Gladesville and damage out to Parramatta if exploded over the CBD.
The ALP has committed (subject to various caveats) to sign on to the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) or Ban Treaty. However, the TPNW will not produce the fruit of global nuclear disarmament for years and the urgent need is for action that will diminish nuclear risks in the immediate term.
ICAN is to be congratulated for its work on the TPNW, both within Australia and internationally. However there is also a need for work on immediate term nuclear risk reduction.
One immediate term measure that can be taken is the adoption of policies and postures of No First Use. In theory if all countries were to adopt and stick by such policies, nuclear war would become impossible because no one would fire first.
Other risk reduction policies include lowering of nuclear weapons alert status, and improved or merely resumed, military to military communications.
A list of possible risk reduction measures can be found at:
The Online International Volunteering Fair is a chance for young people and anyone interested in volunteering to get real-time information about the hundreds of opportunities that are available. Sometimes it is difficult to choose among so many different projects, so we are here to help!
You can meet us online, in Gathertown, for a fun and interactive experience, on 9 May – Europe Day.
Anyone can access the fair all day (CEST times), for free, and explore our different rooms:
The hallway, with booths from different organisations from all over the world and information about their projects
The Fly-in Movie Room, with movies about volunteering and SCI projects
The Chronicles’ room, to read testimonies from our volunteers
The Info Room, to know more about SCI and volunteering in general, including short-term, long-term and European programmes
At 10:00 to 11:00 CEST, and at 16:00 to 17:00 CEST, participants can meet with our organisations in person: volunteers, activists, camp coordinators, staff members or organisers will be available to answer all your questions about volunteering opportunities, what to expect from their projects, the application process, the impact of your volunteering, and more.
You will be able to meet people from SCI Switzerland, SCI Madrid, SCI Catalunya, KVT Finland, PVN Albania, EST Yes, INEX Slovakia, SCI Slovenia, the International Secretariat, and IVS-GB, who will welcome participants in personalised spaces and activities to discover their work and their workcamps.
This event is part of the European Year of Youth activities and it’s an opportunity for all European and non-European young people to discover and choose among more than 200 volunteering projects where they can learn new skills and ideas, while being engaged in activities that benefit local communities and promote positive peace around the world.
Don’t miss your chance to make a difference this year: come to the fair, get your questions answered, and launch your volunteering journey!
Members are invited to attend the 2022 AGM of International Volunteers for Peace Inc. You do not need to register to attend. The formal requirements are acceptance of minutes of the last AGM and the 2021 finance, followed by reports from office holders in the present committee (available beforehand through the website) and Elections for the new Committee.
There will be opportunities to put your thoughts or queries to the outgoing committee. If you wish to express an interest in becoming more involved in IVP please put your name forward for the new committee either at the meeting, or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
IVP in its eventful years of existence has affected the lives of many Australians who have come in contact with it – at one of the actions close to home, or as volunteers placed at workcamps overseas. We warmly welcome reconnection with workcamp volunteers, or activists from earlier days. It might be too that you now have time or opportunity to resume the journey or encourage others to set out.
Our planet and the beings who reside here and make up the complex, whole, living system on which all life depends are under serious threat. Life functions are being threatened by exploitation, short term thinking, and a worldview that values economic and financial growth over the continuity of life and living systems.
The complex, interconnected systems through which life on our planet has been able to flourish and grow over millennia have been misunderstood, misrepresented and ill treated for too long. We, as humans, have attempted to detach ourselves from the web of life. We have created a hierarchical worldview and placed our species at the top, instead of playing an integrated part in its life processes. This attitude and behaviour is destroying our planet´s ecosystems, creating desertification, malnutrition, hunger, species-loss and other dangerous and destructive effects that will be felt for generations to come. This anthropocentric worldview and entitled behaviour needs to transform now.
There is still a window of possibility to transform our governance systems, shift the economic priorities, by placing our focus on restoring the Earth and the systems we depend on for life.
The tools we need are available. The knowledge, skills and methods to regenerate and restore soils are available. If the global resources spent on war alone were redirected to ecosystem restoration, reconciliation and the recognition of all living organisms as having responsibility to the whole, the harmony and balance could be restored. A shift is required to see the Earth, not as belonging to us to receive and exploit, but as a common responsibility, entrusted to us, placed in our care, to nurture and protect, that we may be nurtured and protected in return. We need to come back into balanced reciprocity with the living biomes that sustain us.
We have the right to live, but with that right comes responsibility to protect and care for all that gives us life. This common responsibility needs to be at the centre of decision makers´ focus and energy.
This is not a mystical concept. The source of life, health and all well-being is found in the Earth, air, water, sun, soil and sky. These elements are the foundation of life itself. If we cause harm or damage in any way to them, we are, in fact, damaging ourselves.
The time to restore our Earth is now. The time to recognise our dependence on living soil and the soil microbiome has come- for what is essential to life, is often invisible to the human eye and only recognised and valued in the moment of death.
We urge leaders and local, national and international decision makers to have the courage and heart to make immediate choices and actions that respect the environment for the present and future generations, and to step bravely into actions on behalf of life.
Can there be any greater reason than our very own lives depending on it?
Healthy, living soil is essential for all life to thrive. In recent human history quality and care of soil has been largely ignored and misunderstood and due to mismanagement soils are under serious threat. Soils must be understood as a complex, living creation formed as a result of a multitude of inter-related micro and macro organisms working together in a web of nutrient exchange. The complex, living nature of soil is still largely unstudied and misunderstood.
The vital role that living soils play in our ecosystems needs to be recognised, protected and restored. Soil is where 95% of all our food comes from: living, biodiverse soil means healthy food and healthy people. Soil and access to land is directly linked to the right to local, food sovereignty. Human health is directly linked to the food we consume and the environment, which is founded on the ground we live on and the living soil that fulfills our need for nourishing, nutritious, vital food.
Living soils, and the microflora and macroscopic organisms that form them, are not only the foundation for vital and life-sustaining food, they are the main source of fuel, fibre and medicinal products. Living soil is essential to all ecosystems, playing a key role in the carbon cycle and all other nutrient cycles, storing and filtering water, improving resilience and mitigating impact of floods and droughts. Indeed the soil microbial flora serve as important carbon sinks, which have a direct impact on climate change mitigation. The ecosystem services which soil offers are vital and immeasurable!
Soil is alive!
Soil health is directly related to human survival and wellbeing.
It is life for future generations.
We must protect and regenerate it immediately in order for life to continue, not just humankind, but all life on Earth.
The Soil 4 Life Manifesto recognises the principles put forward in the following instruments:
1. A Soil Commons- legally based rights for soil and ethical responsibilities
The legal recognition of soil and the microbes that create it, as a living, shared and valuable resource that deserves protection and restoration. The legal responsibility for leaders and decision makers to ethically steward, protect and enhance the natural processes and living matter of the soils they govern at national and global levels.
2. Immediate protection and conservation of living soils
(iv)The creation of a multi plural governing system on soil protection and conservation through collaboration, a Commons regime and an ethical approach.
3. Updated monitoring of soil, its living organisms and relationships across biologically-diverse systems
Monitoring on the state of global soils through regulatory, mandatory frameworks and existing environmental laws, using targeted strategies, based on validated and updated monitoring systems as well as local, positive conservation practices.
4. Recognition, reward and guaranteed income for small and medium scale farmers, including indigenous peoples and peasants
Based on valuing the benefits, products and services they provide to society, their stewardship of the land, and the ecosystem services they generate.
5. Support for farmers while transitioning to regenerative, organic, chemical free, natural and sustainable methods
Remove scale as the basis for subsidies and instead reward good stewardship and creation of ecological and societal goods and services. It is imperative to end the unjust subsidies to large agri-business and industrial farmers which economically and intentionally favour land practices which cause soil damage and inhibit and prevent small scale and peasant farmers to earn a living and compete on markets. Subsidies are unjust if they do not support and take into account the natural capital that small farmers are more likely to generate; support for farmers to transition to sustainable and organic practices, and reward for the provision of services which they provide to their local ecosystem and societies is essential for soil conservation.
7. Recognition, valuing and protection of traditional wisdom and sustainable land-based cultures
Recognition and protection of Peasant Agroecology, indigenous knowledge and experience relating to soil protection and preservation that enhances the living microbiome in soil. Acknowledgment and support of traditional cultures´ rights to land that has been their heritage and life source for many generations; recognition of the heritage of local competence and intergenerational knowledge regarding soil management of people who work and live on the land, traditionally and historically (small and medium size farmers, landless people, rural women and youth, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers)
8. Urgent urban adaptation, regeneration and damage limitation
Support and action for urban initiatives that reform *brownfield land to green space and regenerate and prevent soil sealing. Rewarding green cities with increased living soil and plant coverage.
Integrating soil as a living entity within urban development, and managing it for continued functioning. Improve living soil coverage and common areas in urban planning and development that provide ethical access to growing spaces such as allotments, parks and green belts. Respecting the right to a healthy, secure and safe environment by creating and protecting green areas with living soils that increase biodiversity in our urban ecosystems.
Support for interdisciplinary research that delivers the knowledge and mechanisms to allow ethical, good stewardship of land. Support for research regarding diversity of soils and their role in our global ecosystem and society. Qualitative assessments, investigation, education and dissemination regarding ethical soil regeneration and conservation strategies Integration and inclusion of soil education at local and international level.
Therefore as part of the local and global commitment to the United Nations SDGs , we call for:
Support for sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices and networks of pioneers in this field to create working models that can be imitated and scaled.
Guaranteed access to arable land and pastures for local and indigenous communities to continue to produce their food and to stop the illegal and forced removal of people from their original lands.
Counteraction of land acquisitions by big enterprises through protective laws and restrictions.
The end to unfair subsidies to industrial farming: instead, we demand support for small farmers by public investments in services for rural communities, such as public transport, schools and health services.
An independent judiciary on the potential negative health effects caused by industrial agrochemicals on soil biodiversity and soil health.
The reduction of the use of industrial agrochemical fertilisers and pesticides, and the promotion of organic and agro-ecological farming methods with an emphasis on encouraging balanced microbial life relationships for fertilisation and pest control.
Support for the horizontal cooperation and the vertical integration in the food and farming system, in order to increase the added value of local agricultural production and the vitality of agricultural small enterprises, ie. Farm to buyer markets, an end to unfair market subsidies.
The strict limiting of intensiveanimal farming which causes degradation, erosion and contamination of soil ecosystems. We demand a reduction in livestock intensity based on local capacity to produce feed for livestock, as opposed to importing feed from foreign areas where soils are degraded in the production process.
Limits to the allocation of arable land for the production of feed for industrial livestock and biofuels. Instead we call for support in the production of protein-rich crops for human consumption.
A global effort by the national health services to promote a shift towards less meat and animal product consumption, promoting protein-rich alternatives and disclosure of how concentrated, industrialised meat production is polluting the soils.
The enforcement of clear labeling systems to enable consumers to be able to make ethical decisions about how the food they buy is farmed.
Preservation and protection of intact soils of forests, pasture lands and permanent meadows, assigning a special status of conservation to peatlands and organic soils – these soils are unique, under threat and little understood, their value is immeasurable and their loss could lead to fatal implications.
Programs to support local people to choose protection of old forests as a source of potential income over slash and burn methods, thereby valuing and recognising traditional relationships between people and forests and creating new relationships as stewards of forests that have been home to humans over eons.
Limitation and regulation of the use of fire in the management of crop residues, forests and pasture lands. Fire releases enormous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and can damage soil diversity and life irreversibly.
Immediately stop the conversion of forests, savannas and prairies to arable land and to plantations for food for livestock or for biofuel production.
Halt land degradation and support soil restoration and adoption of regenerative techniques in farming, putting a ban on all harmful and toxic farming practises.
Support of agroforestry, organic and regenerative agriculture and the conversion of croplands to permanent meadows in order to increase the organic matter in the soil, limiting soil erosion and preventing desertification, also recognising and promoting the economic value of carbon capture as a valuable ecosystem service provided by farmers.
A balanced application of organic fertilisers to soils, rotating the cultures with nitrogen-fixing species and cover crops, and reducing the intensity of livestock farming to ensure a reduction of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by animal farming and industrial fertilisers,
Investment for the conversion from conventional to organic agriculture with the long term goal to eliminate the use of pesticides and industrial fertilisers entirely.
Recognition and payment for the accountable provision of societal- and *ecosystem-services from sustainable farming (*ecosystem services like increased carbon content, water holding capacity, water infiltration, biodiversity, photosynthesis, climate change mitigation, nutrient cycling, etc.).
A total halt to all subsidising regimes, such as the basic Common Agricultural Policy of the European Commission (CAP) payments based on the volume of productions or on managed land extension, as they are generic subsidies to industrial farming and land appropriation by big enterprises and those that allocate resources are not complying with the principle ‘public money for public goods’.
The permanent end to the transformation of green fields into urban settlements. Always give priority to the reuse of brownfield land and to the regeneration of abandoned and under-exploited settlements.
Increased support for regeneration of degraded soil for creating urban green areas and community gardens.
Economic valuation of healthy, living soils that reflects their true value according to the services and benefits to society they offer such as well-being, potential food production, climate mitigation, pollution reduction, etc.
Increased permeability through the de-sealing and re-vegetation of urban surfaces, in order to realise green infrastructures for water drainage and storage and counteract the urban heating with nature-based solutions.
Updates on infrastructure strategies, in order to face the real needs of communities and enterprises, avoiding a further extension of land-consuming road networks in developed countries and evaluating the alternatives in terms of land efficient use eg. more efficient public transport networks, cycle lanes, etc.
Adoption of criteria of sustainable remediation and site-specific risk assessment, for the management and reuse of contaminated soils.
Better studies and testing to show pollution and toxicity levels of previously exposed soils (ie near factories).
Transparency and disclosure of the levels of toxicity in urban soils, particularly in industrial areas
Limit and regulate the amount of concrete and areas of soil sealing in urban development instead always favour green, permeable living soil coverage.
Can there be any greater reason than our very own lives depending on it?
Media Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 25th February, 2022
UKRAINE: Start negotiating. Stop the War.
IPAN joins Nuclearban.USin calling for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and for negotiations leading to a peaceful solution to the present crisis, taking into consideration the wider security needs of all the parties involved, including Russia.
IPAN Spokesperson Mr. Stephen Darley states “the question needs to be asked is this a proxy war between two competing powers Russia and the USA?
Further he states “The illegal attacks on Ukrainian military installations by Russia closely follows the pattern of recent illegal and disastrous invasions of other countries by the United States.” “The US and allied invasion and occupation of Iraq, for instance, was in direct violation of UN resolutions and of international law. The NATO bombing of Serbia four years earlier was similarly in direct violation of UN resolutions and of international law.”
IPAN calls on the Australian Government to support a peaceful and just resolution in Ukraine by:Calling for an immediate de-escalation of the current crisis. A diplomatic path forward is still possible such as military disengagement and a negotiated solution. Such a response could be based on the 2015 Minsk agreement, that takes into account the legitimate security interests of Russia and Ukraine including the 4 million people of the Donbass region. Calling for a United Nations Peacekeeping force to be formed to supervise a ceasefire. Calling on all relevant parties to cease military operations in Ukraine and support a ceasefire, including a cessation of hostilities between the government of Ukraine and the people of Donbass. Supporting the retention of Russian troops in the Donbass region to protect the people of Donbass until they can determine their own future. Signing the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as this current crisis highlights the danger of an escalation to a nuclear conflict. Mr Darley urges this course of action on the Australian government saying: “These actions are urgent and necessary to forestall the potential for an escalating war which could involve the U.S. and NATO military against the Russian military causing widespread destruction and suffering together with the danger of nuclear weapons being used.” IPAN therefore also calls on the Australian GovernmentTo desist in the application of sanctions against the Russian Government which impact on Russian people To cease military or intelligence support for the Ukrainian government and To promote these peace proposals by urging the UK and US governments with whom it has close relationships, to support them also. We express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine and Russia in their demands for peace.
We, the undersigned Service Civil International (SCI) organisations, strongly condemn the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine. In particular, we express our solidarity with and support for peace movements and peace activists in Ukraine, Russia and internationally, as they resist the war.
We are concerned that this invasion leads to a huge number of victims and deaths, injuries and severe emotional distress among civilians and military in the countries concerned. It can cause significant deterioration of infrastructure and the ecosystem, an economic crisis and mass displacement of people.
We call upon the Russian decision makers to immediately stop the violence and withdraw their troops from Ukraine and bordering territories. We call upon the international community and all parties involved to engage in substantial and sincere diplomatic negotiations in accordance with international agreements and place the humanitarian needs of civilians first. We call upon the countries of the European Union to welcome people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine and guarantee international protection.
A war undermines efforts at global cooperation. It leads to an increase in military spending, while resources are much needed to address pressing global issues, such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the technologies available for warfare today, among them huge arsenals of nuclear weapons, de-escalation is the only way forward.
We call upon people within our network and all over the world to stand up against the war in Ukraine. We ask you to join or organise demonstrations for a diplomatic resolution and against a further military escalation of the conflict. Call for an immediate ceasefire as well as a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the conflict on social media and with decision-makers in your countries.
Peace is a choice that all parties in the conflict must commit to now! Diplomacy is the only real method for conflict resolution! No to war in Ukraine!
Service Civil International is an international peace organisation active since 1920. We are dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organising international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. The organisation consists of 40 branches and more than 90 partner organisations. We oppose all forms of armed conflict and militarization. Since its beginnings, SCI has developed peaceful dialogue between people of all nations, with the vision of a world without armed conflict, hostility and with positive peace. For many years, we have been supporting peace and reconciliation efforts in Ukraine and Russia.
Branches and partners that support this statement:
Dear Friends, festive welcome to the last Peace Connection of this year! A lot has happened in December – from 82nd International Committee Meeting to a first online International Volunteering Fair. We published new resources and education tools, awarded some amazing projects from our Branches and resumed the SCItizen subscription. We also would like to thank everyone who contributed to our democratic process at ICM and to promoting volunteering for peace in 2021. And there is so much to look forward to in the year 2022 – a new chapter in our long history!
82nd International Committee Meeting took place! SCI’s branches and groups met online between 1 and 7 December 2021 for an 82nd International Committee Meeting. These days were full of workshops, votings and fruitful discussions. To some members we said goodbye, some of them we welcomed to our network or to a new role. Bert Verstappen and Alena Lemisev were elected as new IEC members while Hemamali Perera was announced to assume the role of Acting President of the IEC as Jackie Purves steps down. The accepted resolutions and recommendations can be find here. To access all the documents and mailings related to 82nd ICM please visit Member’s Area.
Pierre Cérésole Award is an annual accolade given to branches’ projects that deserve special mention because of their innovative nature or the impact they achieved. This year the award was given to SCI Malaysia for the category “Promotion of SCI values and history” with their project “99+1 Nasi Ahad” and to SCI Italy for the category “Social Inclusion” with their project “MicroProS”. Congratulations to the winners!
International Volunteering Fair On the 5th of December the IS held its first online International Volunteering Fair. It was a real feat, a new challenge and in the end – an evident success! We would like to send a big thank you to everyone who visited us on GatherTown
, to amazing organisers of workshops and activities as well as all the Branches and Partners who contributed ther ideas to the platform and spread the news all over social media!
A new tool for activists – Street action kit Street Action kit is the newest resource available on our website, created to empower your organisation and your activists. In a precise and compact way it will give you guidance on how to plan a street action on peace, how to promote it and gain visibility. It accompanies SCI Peace Cards as an outcome of the From Dreams to Actions project. In another great news – you can now order your very own physical copy of the Peace Cards through this form!
Call for a designer/illustrator: spread the word
We are looking for an illustrator or a designer who will help with the visual aspect of the practical handbook on gender for coordinators of SCI activities. If you know potential candidates with experience illustrating publications – and ideally some familiarity with the topic of gender, peace, and/or with the work and values of SCI – don’t hesitate to share this call with them or with the public through your communication channels! Share the call – applications by 20th of December
Support what matters this holiday season!As the year 2021 is slowly coming to its end we would like to once again encourage you to support the international work of SCI. Donate to keep the movement strong and represented all over the world. Subscriptions will help to support our international work and 20% of the income will be allocated to branches in need.