Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons
The exhibition “Everything You Treasure—For a World Free From Nuclear Weapons” was jointly created by SGI and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Launched in Hiroshima in August 2012 at the 20th World Congress of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), the exhibition commemorates the 55th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda’s September 8, 1957, Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons.
The exhibition has been shown at various international conferences such as the Second Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference held in Geneva in April 2013, the first Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons held in Oslo, Norway, in March 2013 and the second in Nayarit, Mexico, in February 2014.
To build a broader nuclear abolition constituency by providing the opportunity to learn about nuclear weapons from multiple viewpoints and in line with diverse interests
To provide information and perspectives that empower people to take action for “the future we want”
To generate popular momentum toward the outlawing of nuclear weapons through a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons
Nuclear weapons are a continuing and direct threat to all that we, collectively and individually, treasure. They impact us in ways ranging from humanitarian, environmental and economic to medical, generational and spiritual. We ourselves are the solution to the abolition of nuclear weapons which provides an opportunity to transform society, win over violence and establish a culture of peace.
The exhibition has a total of 40 panels (20 pairs) divided into 3 sections and is available in English, Spanish and Japanese. It has also been shown in Korean.
Section 1: What Do We Treasure?
Examines the historical realities of nuclear weapons use and their existence as a continuing threat to human security and sustainability—a safe and secure life for all. Viewers are invited to reflect on what is most important to them and the need to protect this from nuclear weapons.
Section 2: Learning More
Examines the nuclear weapons issue from 12 perspectives: Humanitarian, Environmental, Medical, Economic, Human Rights, Energy, Scientific, Political, Spiritual, Gender, Generational and Security.
Section 3: Changing Our Worldview
Presents an overview of disarmament achievements. Highlighting, that we ourselves are the solution, viewers are invited to share their personal commitment for action toward a nuclear-weapon-free world and the realization of an international treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons.
Warning: Very frank discussions of what actually could happen with the detonation of nuclear weapons
How the Ban Treaty Works
The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons – adopted by 122 nations on 7 July 2017 – offers a powerful alternative to a world in which threats of mass destruction are allowed to prevail. It provides a pathway forward at a time of alarming global crisis.
Prior to the treaty’s adoption, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction not subject to a categorical ban, despite their catastrophic humanitarian consequences. The new agreement thus fills a major gap in international law.
History shows that the prohibition of certain types of weapons facilitates progress towards their elimination. Weapons that have been outlawed by international treaties are increasingly seen as illegitimate, losing their political status.
Arms companies find it more difficult to acquire funds for work on illegal weapons, and such work carries a significant reputational risk. Banks, pension funds and other financial institutions divest from these producers.
The UN nuclear weapon ban treaty complements the prohibitions on biological and chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions, and reinforces various other legal instruments on nuclear weapons, including the non-proliferation treaty of 1968.
Underpinning the decision by governments and civil society to pursue the ban was our belief that changing the rules regarding nuclear weapons would have a major impact even beyond those nations that would formally adopt the treaty at the outset.
This belief stemmed from experience with treaties outlawing other weapons, which have established powerful norms that greatly influence the policies and practices of states that are not yet parties to them.
The treaty aims not only to advance nuclear disarmament, but also to prevent further proliferation. It will enhance the security of people everywhere, not least of all those in nations currently armed with nuclear weapons.
The three conferences on the humanitarian impacts of nuclear weapons in 2013 and 2014 shed new light on the perils of living in a world armed to the brink with these weapons. They clarified the urgent need to prohibit them under international law.
The treaty embodies the principle that there can be no safe hands for nuclear weapons, establishing the same standard for all its parties. Far from ignoring the security concerns of governments, the treaty is a direct response to them.
Arguments for Nuclear Abolition
The humanitarian case
The abolition of nuclear weapons is an urgent humanitarian necessity. Any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic consequences. No effective humanitarian response would be possible, and the effects of radiation on human beings would cause suffering and death many years after the initial explosion. Prohibiting and completely eliminating nuclear weapons is the only guarantee against their use.
Even if a nuclear weapon were never again exploded over a city, there are intolerable effects from the production, testing and deployment of nuclear arsenals that are experienced as an ongoing personal and community catastrophe by many people around the globe. This humanitarian harm, too, must inform and motivate efforts to outlaw and eradicate nuclear weapons.
“Nuclear weapons are unique in their destructive power, in the unspeakable human suffering they cause, in the impossibility of controlling their effects in space and time, and in the threat they pose to the environment, to future generations, and indeed to the survival of humanity.” – International Committee of the Red Cross, 2010
The security case
Nuclear weapons pose a direct and constant threat to people everywhere. Far from keeping the peace, they breed fear and mistrust among nations. These ultimate instruments of terror and mass destruction have no legitimate military or strategic utility, and are useless in addressing any of today’s real security threats, such as terrorism, climate change, extreme poverty, overpopulation and disease.
While many thousands of nuclear weapons have been dismantled since the end of the cold war, the justifications for maintaining them remain largely unchanged. Nations still cling to the misguided idea of “nuclear deterrence”, when it is clear that nuclear weapons only cause national and global insecurity. There have been many documented instances of the near-use of nuclear weapons as a result of miscalculation or accidents.
When it comes to nuclear weapons, there are no safe hands. So long as any country has these weapons, others will want them, and the world will be in a precarious state.
Unless we eliminate nuclear weapons, they will almost certainly be used again, either intentionally or by accident, and the consequences will be catastrophic.
Any use of weapons would violate international humanitarian law because they would indiscriminately kill civilians and cause long-term environmental harm.
It’s OK for some countries to possess nuclear weapons.
It’s unlikely that nuclear weapons will ever be used again.
Nuclear weapons can be used legitimately in war.
The environmental case
Nuclear weapons are the only devices ever created that have the capacity to destroy all complex life forms on Earth. It would take less than 0.1% of the explosive yield of the current global nuclear arsenal to bring about devastating agricultural collapse and widespread famine. The smoke and dust from fewer than 100 Hiroshima-sized nuclear explosions would cause an abrupt drop in global temperatures and rainfall.
“Climate change may be the global policy issue that has captured most attention in the last decade, but the problem of nuclear weapons is at least its equal in terms of gravity – and much more immediate in its potential impact.” – International Commission on Nuclear Non-Proliferation and Disarmament, 2009
The economic case
Nuclear weapons programmes divert public funds from health care, education, disaster relief and other vital services. The nine nuclear-armed nations spend many tens of billions of dollars each year maintaining and modernizing their nuclear arsenals. Funding allocated to disarmament efforts is minuscule by comparison. It is time to redirect money towards meeting human needs.