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Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

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Roy W. Menninger's Message

Dear Vic:

The dinner at which you will read these brief comments is more than a celebration. It is a testimony to the dedication and intense commitment of a few of our medical colleagues who recognized the terrible threat of atomic war in the late 1950’s. As the pioneers of PSR, they found the voice to speak out about the previously unacknowledged medical consequences of an atomic explosion, citing the consequences of a hypothetical bomb dropped on Boston. This was new. This was here. This was dramatic. At a time of official “reassuring talk” about an inane civilian defense strategy of “duck and cover” and rudimentary shelters built with doors and shovels, it brought a shocking recognition of the profoundly human dimension of atomic war.

Bernie Lown was one of these pioneers. My most vivid exchange with Bernie occurred in Alma Ata, Kazakhstan in May 1990, when a group of American physicians traveled to the Russian atomic test grounds in support of the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty—an ironic undertaking since our own government was unwilling to support our position. As the IPPNW Paterfamilias and the Majordomo of the event, Bernie was due to address a large aggregation of international of physicians (and others) from all over the world, but in his rumpled coat and disheveled tie he looked like a used car salesman, not a doctor. At the last minute, as he was about to mount the stage, I persuaded him to wear the classic white coat that I had brought for the occasion, so that, as the leader of the venture, he would be visibly and undeniably a physician. Fortunately, he didn’t hesitate. I think that universal mark of his profession made him more articulate and persuasive than ever. He gave a powerful speech.

PSR has grown from its modest beginning around Bernie’s kitchen table in Boston into an organization of authority and influence, and with the oncoming generation of physicians, it will provide the leadership to address this persistent, undiminished threat to our future. And we need that leadership. Time has shown us that reason, undeniable logic, and common sense are not enough to banish this mortal terror from the world. It takes dedicated persistence, articulate reiteration, repeated reminders, and endless entreaties to push our leaders to recognize the obvious: that nuclear weapons are bad for human health and survival. I urge our successors to continue this fight. They can make the difference.

Roy W. Menninger, MD
Topeka, KS

Page Updated April 19, 2011

In the Spotlight

  • April 28, 2018
    2018 Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship Awards Ceremony
    Join Oregon PSR to celebrate the high school student winners of this year's scholarship. Featuring keynote speaker Marshallese anti-nuclear and climate activist and poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner. April 28 at 6 pm in Portland, Oregon.