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Moving Beyond Fear: Can the earth shake us out of our dangerous slumber?

Posted by David Hart on August 24, 2011

Yesterday afternoon, like many people in DC (and up and down the East Coast), I experienced the jarring reality of a moderate earthquake.  It was a scary moment up high in our office tower.  Sadly, at that same moment, many people feared that instead of a natural disaster, we were facing a man-made tragedy.

One friend looked up at the sky “to see if there was a mushroom cloud.”  

When I heard my smart, involved, loving friend say that this was his immediate reaction, it shook me even more deeply than the quake did.  I watched the news coverage of the earthquake and heard that similar fears were widespread.

Why in the 21st century do we continue to live with such fears?  We act as if we are dinosaurs without much brain power facing the onslaught of meteors from space.  But, in this we have both the intelligence and the power to change our fate.

I don’t want to wake up the morning after a real and avoidable nuclear explosion and then ask the question, “What more could I have done to prevent this catastrophe?”

Instead, I want to find a way to work with others to turn this natural disaster into a wake up call.  Need we wait for the mushroom cloud to catalyze a movement to save ourselves and our world or can we find the courage to act now, to act boldly in cooperation with others to secure our future?

Let the shaking of the earth felt by millions of Americans wake us from our dangerous self-deception.  Let us wake from the slumber of denial and step energetically into action.  Let us make this the moment where we finally take the steps necessary to move beyond a world of fear.  Let this be the moment when we finally say that it is totally unacceptable to live in a world in which many people are so on edge that when an earthquake rocks our cities, we fear the start of a nuclear war.

I refuse to ignore the scary reality facing us.  And, I refuse to be frozen in fear.  Instead, I choose to join with others and push for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide.  

We shouldn’t turn away until the day after the ground shakes from a nuclear bomb.  Instead, we should educate ourselves and find ways to connect with others in our communities who share our sense of concern.  

If we take action in unison, we can avoid waking up to the horror of a nuclear explosion and the knowledge that we failed to act with sufficient urgency to avoid this totally preventable catastrophe.

The nuclear dinosaurs are going to become extinct.  Let’s not let them take us with them.  Instead, let’s build a safe sustainable future worthy of all the beauty that humans can create.  

Please take a moment to watch this brief video ( and then join this growing, diverse, international movement with a goal no less worthy than saving our world.

I seek a day when the ground shakes and we won't look up to see if there is a mushroom cloud in the sky.

Together let’s move beyond fear to a future built on hope and possibility. 


Tim A said ..

Let’s hope those in DC who support these 50 mile EVAC zones called nuclear plants were looking toward VA wondering if the “radiation plume” was heading there way!

September 4, 2011
David Hart said ..

I've been pleased that this personal reflection has resonated. It is being shared widely and I just got news that this piece has been translated into Italian and posted online. Thanks to Michele Di Paolantonio, MD, President of AIMPGN (IPPNW Italy). See:

August 26, 2011

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