Ira Pastor, ideaXme life sciences ambassador, interviews Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life and Grand Chancellor of the John Paul II Pontifical Theological Institute for Marriage and Family Sciences.
IdeaXme does not advocate for or support any religion in favour of another.
Ira Pastor Comments:
Vatican City is an independent city-state, enclaved within Rome, Italy, established with the Lateran Treaty (in 1929), and with an area of only about 121 acres, and a population of about 825, it is the smallest sovereign state in the world by both area and population.
The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical state ruled by the pope (currently His Holiness Pope Francis) who is the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church.
Within the Vatican City are various religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums, and they feature some of the world’s most famous paintings and sculptures.
It is vital that would-be bombmakers be disabused of any notion that they could evade tough international sanctions. We need a country-neutral, reasonably predictable, more-or-less automatic sanction regime that puts all countries on notice, even friends of the powerful.
Just as we’ve had to discard business-as-usual thinking to deal with the current worldwide health emergency; it’s time to get serious about the spread of nuclear weapons. It doesn’t have the immediacy of the coronavirus, but it will last a lot longer and is no less threatening. In particular, we need to fortify the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT), which is fifty years old this year and badly needs fixing. The April 2020 Review Conference will likely be postponed, which provides time to develop something more than the usual charade of incremental proposals that nibble at the problem.
President Donald Trump is reportedly preparing to roll back established constraints on the U.S. military’s ability to use landmines overseas despite the weapons’ long history of killing and maiming civilians around the world.
More than 160 nations have ratified the Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Treaty, which prohibits the stockpiling, production, and use of landmines. The United States is one of just 32 U.N. member states that have not ratified the treaty.
“Trump’s policy rollback is a step toward the past, like many of his other decisions, and sends exactly the wrong message to those working to rid the world of the scourge of landmines.”
Major military powers are racing to embrace weapons that select and fire on targets without meaningful human control. This is raising the specter of immoral, unaccountable, largely uncontrollable weapon systems – killer robots. It is also driving fears of widespread proliferation and arms races leading to global and regional instability.
There is increasing recognition that it’s time to ring the alarm on these weapons systems. This month in Paris, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for a new international treaty to ban killer robots, stating that “machines that have the power and discretion to kill without human intervention are politically unacceptable and morally despicable.”
Yet at last week’s meeting of the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) at the UN in Geneva, states made no progress towards launching negotiations on a treaty to ban or restrict such fully autonomous weapons. Instead, they agreed to spend the next two years developing a “normative and operational framework” to address concerns raised by such weapons systems.
How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don’t, for the most part. When countries sign arms reduction pacts, they do not typically grant inspectors complete access to their nuclear technologies, for fear of giving away military secrets.
Instead, past U.S.-Russia arms reduction treaties have called for the destruction of the delivery systems for nuclear warheads, such as missiles and planes, but not the warheads themselves. To comply with the START treaty, for example, the U.S. cut the wings off B-52 bombers and left them in the Arizona desert, where Russia could visually confirm the airplanes’ dismemberment.
It’s a logical approach but not a perfect one. Stored nuclear warheads might not be deliverable in a war, but they could still be stolen, sold, or accidentally detonated, with disastrous consequences for human society.
If you are a Lifeboat subscriber or have been reading these pages for awhile, you may know why it’s called “Lifeboat”. A fundamental goal of our founder, board, writers and supporters is to sustain the environment, life in all its diversity, and—if necessary—(i.e. if we destroy our environment beyond repair, or face a massive incoming asteroid), to prepare for relocating. That is, to build a lifeboat, figuratively and literally.
But most of us never believed that we would face an existential crisis, except perhaps a potential for a 3rd World War. Yet, here we are: Burning the forests, killing off unspeakable numbers of species (200 each day), cooking the planet, melting the ice caps, shooting a hole in the ozone, and losing more land to the sea each year.
Regading the urgent message of Greta Thunberg, below, I am at a loss for words. Seriously, there is not much I can add to the 1st video below.
Information about climate change is all around us. Everyone knows about it; Most people understand that it is real and it that poses an existential threat, quite possibly in our lifetimes. In our children’s lives, it will certainly lead to war, famine, cancer, and massive loss of land, structures and money. It is already raising sea level and killing off entire species at thousands of times the natural rate.
Yet, few people, organizations or governments treat the issue with the urgency of an existential crisis. Sure! A treaty was signed and this week, Jeff Bezos committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the world’s biggest retailer. But have we moved in the right direction since the Paris Accords were signed 4 years ago? On the contrary, we have accelerated the pace of self-destruction.
I want speak out—and, of course, this Blog post is my way of doing it. But I am at a loss for words, because everything I want to say is so deftly articulated by 15 year old Greta Thunberg. I cannot possibly add to or improve upon her message.
Greta is not your typical hero. She is a child, has Asperger’s, and is a high school Sophomore, yet she is a truant. She regularly skips class, because she feels that doing her own thing is more important than education. She is absolutely right…
This week Greta educated the UN, US Congress and former President Obama (because the current president cannot grasp her message). She also led a protest campaign that attracted millions of Millennials in more than 100 cities across Asia, Europe, Australia, and the Americas.
Greta Thunberg is racing to save the world—and all of humanity while she is at it.
Rather than link to her talk before Congress or the UN, or this overly-slick PSA, I choose three videos. The last one is only 49 seconds). Don’t have the time to pause for a video?—not even at bed time? Please reconsider. This one is really, really important. Even more important than not texting and driving. If ever you felt that there was something to communicate to your circle and pass onto your family, this is it. Your children are counting on you.
In the first two videos, Greta makes interesting point. If ever you imagined hearing an alarm bell, your ears should be clanging with these statements…
▪ 1st video, below
Greta was puzzled by an apparent incongruity when she was 8 years old: How is it that a widely reported existential threat has not resulted in a Stop-The-Presses, all out campaign to eliminate the threat? How is it that a majority of people claim to support the cause, applaud at speeches, support the Paris Accords—and yet the burning of fossil fuels has increased and the destruction of jungles & rain forests is accelerating? The carbon budget of the Paris Accords has already been ⅔ consumed! Even worse, scientists now believe that the budget was too relaxed. Even back then (3 years ago) things were worse than we had believed.
▪ 2nd video, below
Although Greta states it without emotion (a symptom of Asberger’s), she was surprised to find that America has climate change ‘believers’ and ‘non-believers’. Without a hint of sarcasm, she explains that in Sweden, everyone understands the facts.
Please view these videos. Is there anything in your day that is more important? I doubt it. Saving the planet is no longer a slogan. It’s our only chance at survival—and that chance is getting slimmer with each day.
Washington ending the INF arms control treaty has raised fears of a new “arms race.” This time it will be about more than just missiles, with China presenting strong competition to the US and Russia, a military expert tells RT.
Last week’s test of a ground-launched Tomahawk cruise missile showed that the US is eager to field a system banned by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, even as it accused Russia – without offering evidence – of being in violation as a pretext to rip up the 1987 pact.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a “symmetrical response” to this threat, citing the presence of US launchers in Poland and Romania. Meanwhile, the Russian delegation to the UN has warned that the US actions have brought the world “just one step away from an uncontrolled arms race.”
The secret locations of US nuclear weapons hidden in Europe have been revealed in a NATO document.
A draft report for the NATO parliamentary assembly’s defence and security committee seen by AFP gave details of six air bases in Europe and Turkey where it said the US stores 150 nuclear weapons, specifically B-61 gravity bombs.
The news comes amid fears of a new nuclear arms race in Europe, as a landmark Cold War treaty between Moscow and Washington is on the brink of collapse.
A new golden age of space exploration is upon us, with growing numbers of countries and private enterprises eager to establish themselves in space for the sake of scientific inquiry, national prestige, adventurous tourism, billionaires’ bragging rights, mineral riches, and even as a hedge against any future calamity that might devastate our home planet.
Our motivations for exploration may vary, but the spaceward rush raises questions about how we will govern ourselves beyond the bonds of Earth. Cold War-era space treaties, vague notions of how legal frameworks on Earth might migrate to settlements in space, and cautionary tales from both history and science fiction offer some guidance, but we could benefit from a larger conversation about how we want to govern them.
Join Future Tense and the JustSpace Alliance to consider how we might ensure that our “next frontier” is one that reflects our most humane and democratic values. Stick around after the event to continue the conversation with a happy hour reception.