Although my dreams predominate over my fears, I do have nightmares.
Deliberate sabotage of our food supply could be carried out on the nation's farms or in its agricultural research facilities. Chemical or biological attacks against food crops or livestock would be substantially easier and less risky to carry out than attacks on people. There are 22 germ agents that are lethal or contagious to animals. Overuse of antibiotics and steroids has lowered the natural tolerance of animals to disease and bred drug-resistant strains of germs. (See National Catholic Reporter Nov. 9, 2001, p. 8)
I wake up and look at the calendar; it reads Jan. 1, 2034. I dress and walk across the street to the supermarket. I am surprised to find row after row of shelves are empty. Our food security has evaporated.
When I go outside, there are no cars on the street. Our oil reserves are exhausted. We have not yet gone to renewable resources.
The radio announces environmental pollution and global warming are becoming acute as carbon dioxide emissions reach alarming levels.
Unemployment is staggering. Computer electronic weapons cause billions of dollars in damage. The global economic crisis overtakes even the wealthy and leads to financial catastrophe.
Infectious diseases reach pandemic levels.
Terrorism attacks our airports and cities.
A covert biological attack, releasing weaponized small pox, kills hundreds of millions of people.
As a nuclear exchange is announced in the Middle East, the spread of war is imminent. Millions of refugees crowd the roads. (A must read for all concerned for our planet is The New Nuclear Danger by Dr. Helen Caldicott)
An enormous "icy rock orbiting the sun in deep space is the biggest asteroid ever spotted" (New York Times, 8/25/01 p.2) Designated 2001 KX76, the asteroid has a diameter of at least 750 miles! An asteroid is estimated to pass close to earth in 2028. If an asteroid strikes the earth, there could be devastating global reverberations, tidal waves, continent-size fires, and an eruption of dust that could cause global cooling which would have long-term effects on crops. The evidence is that nuclear, biological, or chemical war would have similar or worse repercussions. Indeed, who knows where global climate change will end or widespread use of bioengineered seed?
US military leaders do not hesitate to extend future wars into space. "Some people don't want to hear this, but absolutely we're going to fight in space. We're going to fight from space and we're going to fight into space." (General Joseph W. Ashy, commander-in-chief of the US Space Command, Aviation Week & Space Technology Aug. 5, 1996)
- See citizens opposed to weapons in space fueled by nuclear power (web-site no longer operative)
A hopeful sign that we can dispel part of my nightmare is the Space Preservation Act of 2002 HR 3616 IH
107th CONGRESS 2nd Session H. R. 3616
Congressman KUCINICH introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Science, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, and International Relations, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To preserve the cooperative, peaceful uses of space for the benefit of all humankind by prohibiting the basing of weapons in space and the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects in space that are in orbit, and for other purposes,
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `Space Preservation Act of 2002'.
SEC. 2. REAFFIRMATION OF POLICY ON THE PRESERVATION OF PEACE IN SPACE.
Congress reaffirms the policy expressed in section 102(a) of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 (42 U.S.C. 2451(a)), stating that it "is the policy of the United States that activities in space should be devoted to peaceful purposes for the benefit of all mankind."
SEC. 3. BAN ON BASING OF WEAPONS IN SPACE AND THE USE OF WEAPONS AGAINST OBJECTS IN SPACE IN ORBIT.
The President shall--
- implement a ban on space-based weapons of the United States and the use of weapons of the United States to destroy or damage objects in space that are in orbit, and
- immediately order the termination of research and development, testing, manufacturing, production, and deployment of all space-based weapons of the United States.
SEC. 4. INTERNATIONAL TREATY BANNING SPACE-BASED WEAPONS AND THE USE OF WEAPONS AGAINST OBJECTS IN SPACE IN ORBIT.
The President shall direct the United States representatives to the United Nations and other international organizations to immediately work toward negotiating, adopting, and implementing an international treaty banning space-based weapons and the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects in space that are in orbit.
SEC. 5. REPORT.
The President shall submit to Congress not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, and every 90 days thereafter, a report on--
- the implementation of the ban on space-based weapons and the use of weapons to destroy or damage objects in space that are in orbit required by section 3; and
- progress toward negotiating, adopting, and implementing the treaty described in section 4.
SEC. 6. SPACE-BASED NONWEAPONS ACTIVITIES.
Nothing in this Act may be construed as prohibiting the use of funds for--
- space exploration;
- space research and development;
- testing, manufacturing, or production that is not related to space-based weapons or systems; or
- civil, commercial, or defense activities (including communications, navigation, surveillance, reconnaissance, early warning, or remote sensing) that are not related to space-based weapons or systems.
SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
- The term `space' means all space extending upward from an altitude greater than 60 kilometers above the surface of the earth and any celestial body in such space.
The terms `space-based weapon' and `space-based system' mean a device capable of damaging or destroying an object or person (whether in outer space, in atmosphere, or on earth) by -
- firing one or more projectiles to collide with that object or person;
- detonating one or more explosive devices in close proximity to that object or person;
- directing a source of energy against that object or person; or
- any other undeveloped means.
If we are overcome by panic and fear, we can begin a war in and from space. Life as we know it on our planet will end.
Fortunately, when my nightmare is over, we are back in the year 2004. Our world still has the chance to go either toward minimum human standards or toward disintegration and war. For resources on peace, see