In 1976, in San Francisco, promoting The California Nuclear Safeguards Initiative, the first public referendum on the issue ever held in America, my crew and I painted 18,3-foot by 20-foot 'Yes On 15' canvas banners for storefront offices throughout the state.
by Ron Stock
Prop 15 was ultimately defeated in the June vote, but a week before, the California Legislature passed modest restrictions on nuclear power plant development. A start.
In June of 1977 I attended the first organizing conference of the Abalone Alliance, a potpourri of California anti-nuclear groups, in San Luis Obispo near the site of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, being built directly above the San Andreas Fault. The American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker group, hosted over 200 participants who spent the weekend brainstorming on how to stop, with Mahatma Ghandi's passive resistance techniques, further construction of the plant. I became an active voice at this conference and was invited to read this anti-nuclear poem at the closing ceremonies.
Homo Sapiens Last Stand.
8: 15 a.m., August 6,1945. A silent bomb rips Hiroshima. A congress of victims burn. Maimed, mutilated, murdered for peace. And they still die, from radiation. Leper of the human cell. 'Ban the Bomb, ' we screamed. But they didn't listen.
I am an alarmist. I am sounding the alarm. Nuclear Fission: A chain reaction of wildfire atomic particles. The death rattle of Homo Sapiens. And we stand indifferent. A circus of men, women, and children, on a guillotine of politeness, waving goodbye.
My God is the Sun. My purpose is survival. Not dead sperm and lethal milk. Not poison cargo, poison fuel, or poison wasted dumped raw into open trenches and open oceans. Not mutation, cancer, or death released helter-skelter by acts of god, war, Nuclear Saturday Night Specials, pompous bellies and debauchery, transportation accidents, human error, safeguard failures, or computer mistakes. Three more atomic warheads every sunrise. Twenty pounds of plutonium a Nagasaki bomb. Hot molten steel melting down releasing radiation into the air, water, and earth we need to survive.
The birds and I will scream at you. We will not survive the atomic age unless we help each other see. Talk to an idiot like an idiot. Talk to a genius like a genius. We are all the same mass of energy. A neutron strikes the nucleus of an atom; a chain reaction of wildfire atomic particles. A poet strikes the heart of apathy; a chain reaction of caring and concern. Homo sapiens last stand.
And because it is becoming apparent climate change is threatening our planet, greedy corporate minds and corrupt politicians want to turn back to nuclear power even though we've not solved safety issues regarding nuclear proliferation. How smart was it in 1997, to load 72.3 pounds of Plutonium 238 into a Titan IV rocket and blast it off to Saturn?
Major radiation disasters have occurred in Russia, Ukraine, California, Great Britain, Idaho, Mexico, Michigan, Switzerland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Alabama, Costa Rica, Morocco, Massachusetts, West Germany, Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Brazil, Connecticut, Florida, Japan, Ohio, Sweden, India, France, and New Mexico.