At the second annual Think Outside the Bomb Conference this weekend, attendees might start worrying and stop loving the bomb in order to find alternatives to nuclear war and weapon production.
The conference – which starts at 7 tonight at Corwin Pavilion and ends 5 p.m. on Sunday at the MultiCultural Center – includes a number of speakers, discussion panels and leadership workshops. Organizers said the conference allows young people nationwide to discuss and plan ways to abolish nuclear production and proliferation.
Will Parrish, an event organizer and youth empowerment director, said 200 young people from various western states such as California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Oregon and Idaho are expected to attend the conference.
Parrish said the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation is sponsoring TOTBC. The foundation is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 that supports and initiates efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons, waste and nuclear production.
“The major goal of the project is to get people to think outside the fact that nuclear weapons are not a past problem, and focus on the fact that young people can make an influence now,” Parrish said.
While the conference is open to the public, Parrish said most students who will attend the event were required to apply.
“Young people will come together and get educated on all the current issues about nuclear waste and energy,” Parrish said. “We will give people the tools and skills that they need to be more effective activists and leaders, including training and strategizing.”
Among the many speakers, Parrish said Shigeko Sasamori, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima when she was a teenager, will discuss how she endured injuries and health problems as a result of the 1945 bombing.
Parrish said the conference concentrates on specific goals such as the UC Nuclear Free Campaign – an effort to end the UC’s management of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and the Laurence Livermore National Laboratory in Northern California.
“The Los Alamos lab is 43 square miles that focuses on research, storing nuclear waste, designing nuclear weapons and producing parts,” Parrish said.
Parrish said the conference will cover other topics, including alternatives to nuclear power and nuclear waste.
“Nuclear power receives 20 billion of tax-payers’ dollars and subsidies to be economically feasible,” Parrish said. “That 20 billion could go towards developing alternative energy such as wind and solar.”
The goal of the Youth Empowerment Initiative, which organizes conferences such as Think Outside the Bomb, is to inform young people about the threat of nuclear war and to devise plans to end nuclear production.
“The goals are essential to the elimination of all nuclear weapons and foster world peace through international law,” Parrish said.
TOTBC originated in August 2005 when Parrish held a conference in New Mexico that brought together 60 young people from across the United States in addition to a few representatives from Kazakhstan and the Marshall Islands, he said. He said they exchanged ideas about nuclear disarmament.
“From that conference, a national network of youth was born who could work together on different projects focusing on nuclear issues such as nuclear power, nuclear disarmament, nuclear waste and the current wars,” Parrish said.
Parrish said nuclear energy is an environmental hazard.
“Nuclear energy pollutes radioactive waste that’s active for 24,000 years,” Parrish said. “It’s incredible [that] we create all this material that’s active that long.”
The next conference is scheduled for Nov. 4 through 5 in New York City.
“We have people all over the country,” Parrish said. “If we do more and more conferences, we can build strong regions working on different issues.”