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20 July 2020

Working for Peace in a Pandemic

Our current global circumstances present many challenges. One of the less obvious perils is the threat to world peace and the elevated risk that war and conflict bring to protecting people from the virus. For this reason, the United Nations has been leading a call for a global ceasefire until we contain the virus. In March, Pope Francis appealed for a global ceasefire as the pandemic spread, and Pax Christi supported this call.

Another danger looms when our attention and most media coverage are focused on COVID-19. A pressing Canadian example of this is the swelling support for small modular nuclear reactors on the part of some provincial governments. The Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick seeks to promote nuclear-free renewable energy, as well as responsible energy use. This technology is being promoted as a homegrown solution to climate change (an alternative energy source to fossil fuels) and is being supported by the federal government with public funding. The Coalition is challenging this assertion and calling on all those concerned about the proliferation of nuclear technology to speak up.

Sample letters to federal and provincial governments are available at crednb.ca and after this article. We encourage you to contact your elected representatives about these concerns – this is an especially significant opportunity for those in Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick, the three provinces most keen on these reactors. Individuals and organizations from various New Brunswick locations (including members of Religious Communities) are core members and “champions” with the Coalition. Others are welcome to inquire about being “Champions of responsible energy development.”

Just as COVID-19 was reaching Canada, several groups, including the Council of Canadians and the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception in Saint John, invited Dr. Gordon Edwards, an award-winning nuclear consultant and president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, to speak about this issue. He held two public sessions in Saint John and the remaining lecture planned for Fredericton was held online. Sr. Roma De Robertis, SCIC, has written an excellent review of his presentation here.

The public in New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan, is receiving ample information from proponents of nuclear energy expansion. The Coalition is committed to providing an alternative awareness. Your prayer and support are appreciated.

Monica Lambton, Coordinator – Office of JPIC, Congregation of Notre-Dame (Visitation Province)

This text is taken from the Summer 2020 issue of the ad vitam webzine “Laudato Si’: Caring for Creation and future generations”.