Before the end of the cold war, nuclear apocalypse was a frightening possibility that overshadowed everyone’s lives. With tensions rising between the US and North Korea, we can learn valuable lessons from CND and Greenham Common. On Monday, I was idly interrogating my children about their anxieties, when my nine-year-old son raised the prospect of a third world war. Given the current tensions between the US and North Korea, I suppose this wasn’t too surprising. I explained that, were there a nuclear strike, the UK would be very unlikely to be its target, and he replied: “It’s so polluted, we may as well have been nuked already.” There seemed to be the lilt of a joke in this comment somewhere, but I couldn’t swear to it. I squeaked on a bit about how levels of lead have actually gone way down, and diesel cars – one of which we were actually sitting in – would soon be phased out, but thought: this is exactly how I remember life in 1982, the sense of an impending threat that everyone talked about but nobody explained in useful terms. Then it was nuclear war; now it’s pollution.
Guardian 6th Sept 2017 read more »