By Catherine Bock, Chris Davis, Trina Bianchi

U.S. should sign treaty to ban nuclear weapons

To the editor:

A historic step has been taken that will make the world safer and more secure.

As we are deep in worry about the future due to covid-19, domestic terrorism, climate disasters, health care, the economy, and the future of democracy, we often forget the danger of nuclear war. So it was encouraging to hear that on October 24, 2020, Honduras became the 50th country to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. With this 50th ratification, the treaty will enter into force on January 22, 2021, at which time it will become illegal to possess, use, and threaten to use nuclear weapons in these 50 countries.

I have been involved in the effort to ban nuclear weapons for 60 years. A more recent campaign began in 2007 with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons made up of over 500 non-governmental organizations from 103 countries.

While the United States chose to boycott the negotiations in 2017 and has refused to sign the treaty, it still has the potential to significantly impact U.S. behavior regarding nuclear weapons issues. Previous weapon prohibition treaties, including the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, have demonstrated that changing international norms leads to concrete changes in policies and behaviors, even in countries not party to the treaty.

Article One of the treaty prohibits states parties from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons, or allowing nuclear weapons to be stationed on their territory. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of these activities.

The treaty also expresses in its preamble deep concern “about the catastrophic humanitarian consequences that would result from any use of nuclear weapons.” It further recognizes “the consequent need to completely eliminate such weapons, which remains the only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons are never used again under any circumstances.”

If the US were to suddenly show interest in joining the treaty, additional countries would almost certainly join according to nuclearban.us.

The treaty is a clear indication that the majority of the world’s countries no longer accept nuclear weapons and do not consider them legitimate. It demonstrates that the indiscriminate mass killing of civilians is unacceptable and that it is not possible to use nuclear weapons consistent with the laws of war. I am urging our country to abide by international law in the future by joining other countries in ratifying the treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons.

The treaty can be read in its entirety here.

Catherine Bock

Thank you for supporting Rotary

To the editor:

I want to thank the residents of the three towns of Charlotte, Shelburne and Hinesburg that our Rotary Club serves for the generous support during a challenging year for all of us. Covid increased the needs for basic things like food and warm clothing for many in our community. Like many of you, our Rotary Club shifted to on-line meetings, and our members found creative and safe ways to continue to provide essential hands-on and financial support for the food shelves, the schools and many families in our towns.

We could not have done this without the generous support from so many of you. The donations of cash, warm winter clothing, and local business and nonprofit support allowed our Club to continue our mission to meet needs in the three towns. Thank you from all of us in the Rotary Club of Charlotte-Shelburne-Hinesburg. You can always go to our website rotaryclubofcsh.org or to rotary.org to learn more about who we are and what we do.

THANK YOU from all of us. We wish all of you a safe, healthy and more normal 2021!

Chris Davis, President
Rotary Club of Charlotte-Shelburne-Hinesburg

Words matter

To the editor:

As I reflect on what happened in our nation’s capital on Wednesday last, I remind myself that words truly do matter. And it matters not who we are or what position we hold, each of us has a responsibility in our own individual lives to think before we speak because our words do matter.

We can choose to use our words to encourage someone or criticize and humiliate…to be positive or negative…to bring healing and peace or to promote divisiveness and hate. It should be painfully apparent to all of us the flaws that exist in our society today and each of us has a responsibility to do whatever we can to learn how we got to where we are and then to start the journey towards coming together and healing.

I would like to suggest that if you have not yet read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, this would be a good time to pick up a copy and read it. Before we can begin to heal, we need to begin to understand how we got here.

Stay safe, stay well,
Trina Bianchi