Marcel Arsenault: ''There is still time to pull humanity back from the nuclear brink - but only if we act decisively''

One Earth Future funder and founder Marcel Arsenault in his latest op-ed is calling for a renewed commitment to fund the nuclear risk reduction field.

Christopher Nolan's latest film, 𝘖𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘳, has struck a chord with audiences worldwide, jolting us out of our slumber and reminding us of the existential danger from nuclear weapons. In a time of escalating nuclear threats and dangerous posturing, this arrived at a crucial time. It wakes us up to the very real risks we’ve come perilously close to ignoring. 

Late last year, President Biden warned the world that the risk of nuclear "armageddon" had reached levels not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. The threat of nuclear catastrophe looms ominously over us, and yet, instead of addressing it with the urgency it demands, investment in nuclear weapons risk reduction has hit a new low. Government and private funding worldwide is shrinking at an alarming rate, signaling a worrying lack of commitment to addressing this existential threat. The record is disturbing: In 2022, the MacArthur Foundation exited the nuclear field, removing $100 million annually from the sector. Now in 2023, Global Zero, a leading voice for nuclear abolition, is winding down operations citing financial strains.

Abandoning nuclear risk reduction efforts comes when we need increased focus, not surrender. 𝘖𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘮𝘦𝘳 reminds us that the success of the Manhattan Project, however controversial its legacy may be, was a testament to what can be accomplished with historic investment in brilliant minds united by a shared commitment to safeguarding the future. We have the power to gather the brightest minds and most dedicated funders once again, but this time, with a new vision – one that strives for a world free from the specter of nuclear annihilation.

We must learn from history and invest in human ingenuity with a long-term view, with peace as the ultimate goal. The lessons of the past teach us that monumental achievements, such as splitting the atom, are possible when we dare to invest in our collective potential. However, we must be cautious not to repeat the mistakes of the past, where short-sighted motives led to the creation of weapons of mass destruction.

What legacy do we want to leave for generations to come? The answer to this question lies in the actions we take today, at this crucial moment. It is time for bold leadership and investment in research, technology, and diplomacy aimed at reducing the nuclear threat. We owe it to ourselves, our children, and all future generations to shape a world that prioritizes peace, cooperation, and understanding.

This time, let us harness that same spirit of unity and ingenuity to rid ourselves of the grave nuclear danger that humanity unleashed 78 years ago. We must shake off complacency and summon the will to invest once more in securing our shared future. There is still time to pull humanity back from the nuclear brink - but only if we act decisively.