About the event
In the five decades between 1945 and 1996, over 2,000 nuclear bomb tests were carried out all over the world. The International Day Against Nuclear Tests aims to raise public awareness about the effects of global nuclear weapon tests, and to campaign for nuclear disarmament in general. Inaugurated in 2009, this day is a day to remind ourselves about the far-reaching effects of nuclear weapons and to reinvigorate ourselves in the campaign for disarmament.
How to approach it
For younger students focus less on the reasons why nuclear bombs are bad and more on the motivations for peace. Disarmament is about building a world in which everyone is free from the threat of scary weapons and war. Focus on the people looking to build this world, and how brave they are for standing up for what they believe in. You could suggest that despite disarmament seeming like the right thing to do, people still support nuclear weapons and many just don’t believe that a collective agreement to disarm is possible. Show your students that what is needed are enough people believing that disarmament is possible. For example, you could run an imagining exercise in which students come up with their own ‘roadmaps to peace’ e.g. descriptions of how, in the future, the international community comes together to enact nuclear disamarment.
For older students you could delve into more details about the harms of nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons testing. This could include the monumental cost (that could be spent on more worthy causes), the environmental damage or the destructive health consequences. For example, show that nuclear test sites can take between 1 to 5 years before it’s safe to be there at all. Or show how the wildlife in Bikini Atoll, where many of the US’s first bombs were tested in WWII, is still contaminated to this day. In between 1940 and 1996 the US spent, in today's currency, over 10 trillion dollars on its nuclear weapons. In one year (2020) the UK spent over 4 billion pounds on its nuclear deterrent- that’s over £8,000 per minute. With these facts, ask your students what would you spend on this instead? As a fun activity you ask them to draw up an alternate budget for the UK to highlight the absurdity of nuclear spending.
Did you know that the UK spends over 4 billion pounds on nuclear weapons every year? If you could spend four billion pounds on something to make the world a better place what would it be?