Second billboard opposing nuclear bomb factory near Santa Fe installed
Group demands investment in our communities: in useful work for the many — not overpaid, irresponsible jobs for a few
Contact: Greg Mello, 505-577-8563 cell
Albuquerque, NM — This past Friday a second billboard was erected on Interstate 25 between Albuquerque and Santa Fe alerting motorists to the proposed plutonium warhead core (“pit”) factory at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) northwest of Santa Fe. Two boys on bikes, with a community solar project in the background in a green field, are contrasted with Edvard Munch’s iconic “Scream.”(photo as installed to be added later)
This is the second billboard recently installed on that highway (first billboard, including simple background on pits; for more see also this press release) by the Los Alamos Study Group, a “green” think-tank and advocacy group.
A third billboard in San Jon, NM questions whether New Mexico’s service to the nuclear bomb industry has contributed to the state’s economic and social decline (“Billboard aimed at traffic entering NM raises question: is New Mexico a “failed state,” and are nuclear weapons partly responsible?,” Jan 30, 2020; February 2021 update).
Further advertising is planned; the Study Group urges individuals wanting to contribute to the campaign to visit the group’s web site.
Study Group director Greg Mello:
“The new billboard depicts two worlds — two visions of the present and future, two tracks for policy and investment and where they lead.
“If we do not take immediate, focused actions that directly benefit our communities and the environment we will find ourselves in a nightmare beyond anything we can imagine. We need grounded, green social investments that reduce inequality in our state, and personal choices that benefit our towns and rural areas. We need them right now.
“It is late afternoon for humanity. Night is coming, and if we choose wrongly there will be no tomorrow for our grandchildren. And we are choosing wrongly. Our congressional delegation and our Governor are doing nothing to mitigate the climate crisis bearing down on us, even as they support making New Mexico far and away the world’s leader in spending on weapons of mass destruction.
“In fact the Governor is insisting on increasing New Mexico’s contribution to the climate crisis, by demanding that oil and gas production continue unabated. For this action alone, Governor Grisham should resign.
“Most of the world rightly abhors these weapons. The leaders of Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Espanola seem to love them. They just want the money; they don’t care about anything else. Ethical considerations are passe in our greed-oriented, fast-money society. The failure of nuclear weapons to bring economic and social development doesn’t interest them in the slightest. These leaders don’t seem to realize or care that the U.S. military empire costs some $7,300 per U.S. household, year in and year out. To hear them, you’d think all that plutonium-laced money was just a wonderful gift, manna from federal heaven.
“Some of these leaders fancy themselves “progressive,” but they haven’t put two and two together: support for a gigantic military is never compatible with any kind of real social contract, or with democracy.
“Military installations and nuclear laboratories are constantly bragging about how many “jobs” they create. That is how LANL is selling the new pit mission, which will bring about 2,000 new jobs. We need 10 times that many new jobs right now. There are about 50,000 people living in poverty in LANL’s shadow. LANL, and plutonium, will do nothing to help them. Quite the reverse. Plutonium and the twisted loyalties, identities, and reputation it brings will destroy Santa Fe. This is not inevitable. New Mexicans have stopped plutonium factories before and we can do it again.
“LANL provides only a few thousand jobs, usually at salaries much higher than comparable work elsewhere, absorbing the very talent most needed to build our communities. Most LANL jobs add to the dangers we collectively face by our communities, however much they pay. They do not bring security to the nation or economic development to this state, as history and a glance around LANL’s environment shows. LANL produces essentially no useful good and services, which is perhaps the biggest reason it is so economically sterile.
“In New Mexico, the ugly shadow of our nuclear labs corrupt our political life, deadening our imaginations just when we most need to free ourselves to build strong, resilient communities. We face converging crises that include not just a renewed nuclear arms race but also a combined economic, environmental, and social crisis that threaten the very existence of humanity. In other words we face an emergency, but there is nothing in our public life that reflects this, whether at the local, state, or federal level. Our opinion leaders and politicians are ignorant — or worse. We still “drift,”* as Einstein said in 1946. (*’The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.’)***ENDS***