bruce witzel photo 3 (2)[7]


Premiers in 3 of Canada’s provinces recently announced their support for nuclear energy. More details about this another time. Suffice to say I’m very concerned about the possible growth of nuclear power as a supposed means to combat climate change.

My practical experience as a long time innovator with renewables and energy efficiency illustrate these are much safer and more cost effective methods towards the carbon shift the world requires. Solar and wind power are growing at exponential rates while nuclear power is shrinking.

It’s a new dawn. Let’s keep it that way.



                                                                            photo compliments of PV Magazine – location and photographer unknown


The climate emergency is of concern to people everywhere and we must never forget how world problems are interconnected. Nuclear energy has a serious link to the proliferation of nuclear weapons themselves. I’ll focus here and now on the hope and work of disarmament.


 Southern Utah2 - bruce witzel photo

                                                                               Plane over southern Utah near Monument Valley Oct. 29,2010


Peace activist Rev. John Dear recently pointed out that United States nuclear weapons spending has increased over the past few years. Congress has approved (or is in process of approving) numerous so-called  ‘upgrades”that could cost upwards of  1 Trillion dollars. 

My biggest wonder is how nuclear weapons can get any better at vaporizing people?




Two years ago at a symposium for integral disarmament Pope Francis said this:

“Indeed, the escalation of the arms race continues unabated; and the price of modernizing and developing weaponry, not only nuclear weapons, represents a considerable expense for nations. As a result, the real priorities facing our human family, such as the fight against poverty; the promotion of peace; the undertaking of educational, ecological, and health care projects; and the development of human rights, are relegated to second place.”


This echoes Dwight D. Eisenhower only months after he was elected president of the U.S. in 1953:

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”


Rodin sculpture at Stanford University 2010-05-27 bruce witzel photo (2)

                                                                          Rodin Sculpture at Stanford University  May 27, 2010


Or, as Albert Einstein said in 1945 only months after the annihilation of hundreds of thousands of people in Nagasaki and Hiroshima:


“The splitting of the atom has changed everything, save our mode of thinking, and thus we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”


Bismark, North Dakato State Legislature Museum - bruce witzel photo

                                                                                                        State Capital Building, Bismarck North Dakota

 Los Alamos National Museum of Nuclear Science and History 2010-10-23 bruce witzel photo

                                                                             Los Alamos National Museum of Nuclear Science and History  Oct.23, 2010 


For our generation of history to believe any war is just, let alone a nuclear war, is sort of like believing in slavery – it’s absurd.


Golda Meir quote, Glenbow Museum, Calgary Alberta - bruce witzel photo

                                                                                                                  Glenbow Museum Exhibit, Calgary Alberta


What is happening to our common sense of humanity?


Garden art May 21,2012 - bruce witzel photo


Time is almost past the due date. We need to re-assess, or rather, re-access our basic core human values – together and as individuals. What’s at stake is our common survival and metamorphosis.


Butterfly with Sweet William 2016-06-20 bruce witzel photo

                                                                                                                              Butterfly in our garden June 20, 2016



This begins in my heart, my mind, my own flesh and blood. John Dear says a key to change is nonviolence and this requires three simultaneous attributes:


 Franciscan monastery in 1978 - bruce witzel photo

                                                                   Franciscan Monastery 1978


First, you have to be nonviolent to yourself. We have to stop cooperating with our own inner processes of violence, beating ourselves up, fueling our anger, our rage, hatred and resentment.


Second, we have to practice meticulous, interpersonal nonviolence towards everybody in our lives, everybody in the world, and all the creatures and Mother Earth.


Third, you have to be involved in the struggle for justice, disarmament and creation.


Bruce Witzel photo (2)

                                                                                                             Disarmed – statue in Montreal museum



During the First Gulf War after a few months of the fighting by late 1990 I entered into a heated argument about it with my sister.


58,000 Pines at the Living Memorial Sculptual Garden near Mt. Shasta - sculpted by Denis Smith, photo by Bruce Witzel  (through the luminary lens)

58,000 Pines Living Memorial Sculptural Garden near Mount Shasta, California


Afterwards I was in despair. Especially because of my own poor example of anger and  violence.

I wrote this poem.  The George I refer to in it is George W.  It was a good decade before 9-11  





Earth is inflamed

And children are maimed

Slave soldiers are burned

Our mother’s concerned ?


War futility is sad

Mutually Assured Destruction

It’s MAD

Two man ego-senility gone bad.


George may awake

To reality one day

Will it take nukes

Over Chesapeake Bay?

As for Saddam to deny

Destruction of oil-blob black sky;

Maybe he thinks he’s president of Exxon?


Those that live by the weapon

Die by that sword

Of arms merchant lords

Who afford no accord.

Third man Mahatma does well to our minds

Eye for an eye

Only leave two men blind!


B. Thomas Witzel 





 I’ll close with a couple paragraphs written by Tom Boswell from the National Catholic Reporter: 


In John Dears new book They Will Inherit the Earth he describes the struggle of the indigenous community of the Santa Clara Pueblo in New Mexico, whose home just below the mountain of Los Alamos and the nuclear weapons national laboratories has become a lethal radioactive waste dump.


Young girl 1910, Northern Mexico - photo of a photo(edited) by C. Waite

                                              Young girl in Northern Mexico 1910, photo of a photo by C. Waite


The labs upon the mountain make up “the second richest county in the U.S., with one of the highest per capita rates of Ph.D.’s and millionaires anywhere on earth,” Dear points out.

But down below is the second poorest county in the U.S.


Annotation 2019-12-10 012109

Annotation 2019-12-10 012000


In his book Dear outlines a list of “rules for living in solidarity with Mother Earth.” The first speaks of our need to grieve and to be joyous. 


   Living Memorial Sculpture Garden - created by Vietnam veteran and sculptural artist Denis Smith - photo by Bruce Witzel 2012-10-18

                     Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, Weed California created by Vietnam veteran Denis Smith


“We need to take quiet time and sit in the beauty of creation in the presence of the Creator and grieve,” he writes in his book. “We grieve for our sisters and brothers, for the death and extinction of billions of creatures, and for Mother Earth herself. The more we take formal time to quietly grieve for suffering humanity and suffering creation, the more nonviolent and compassionate we become.”


Solemn tribute, Manzanar internment camp California  - photo by Bruce Witzel

                                                        Solemn Tribute at Manzanar Internment Camp, California


Other “rules” include practicing meditation, prayer, mindfulness and nonviolent communication, cultivating fearlessness, taking public action for climate justice, and teaching nonviolence, particularly to priests and ministers.     (end of excerpt)


~ may peace be with us all ~




Statue entitled American Bull, Custer City South Dakota Aug. 8, 2005

Statue entitled American Bull 2005-08-08 Custer City South Dakota



  1. Thank you, Bruce. On point as usual. i remain filled with hope and joy, even though that makes no conscious sense, especially lately. I suggest you locate a daily letter you can subscribe to by a historian Heather Cox Richardson. She’s brilliant, calm, knowledgeable, and writes daily about the insanity in the US and how to make sense out of it. Very helpful. No charge, she’s just doing this as service. No ranting, just amazing perspective. Anyway, may your year go well. Also, I recently read a book called Braiding Sweetgrass, by a botanist who is also indigenous. And writes like a poet. Its heartening on every level. Stay in touch, my friend.

    • So good to hear from you Susan. I’ve looked into Heather Cox Richardson and she does indeed have an amazing perspective, both on history and present times. Thanks for the introduction. I’ve sort of had a much lower profile with social media lately. It still is wonderful to have this manner of communication, with kindred spirit (s). Such hope and possibility.

  2. For myself I’ve come rather slowly to realization that despair is such a futile luxury. Now if I do indulge myself it is for the briefest of moments. As with you Debra, I think about my grandchildren.(the Greta Thunberg generation). It is not right to give a bad example or wrong attitude. I love one of the last lines of the movie of the Shawshank Redemption… The two convicts are talking and Andy says to Red: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” Really Debra, all any of us can do are small steps. I truly believe they do add up. Eventually we will go the distance.

  3. You ask a very important question, “What is happening to our common sense of humanity?” I at times despair, Bruce. As I always preface in these conversations, at my age, it’s not about me, but my grandchildren. I have had similar experiences in dialogue with friends and family as you describe in argument with your sister. I feel so passionately with concern for both environmental concerns and climate change, as well as nuclear proliferation, but as you know, currently in my country there is no appetite for addressing either concern, and in fact, environmental protections that have been in place for 50 years are slowly being dismantled. Thank you for sharing your wonderful poem, Bruce, and for reminding me that we don’t fight back against these things, but do what we can to encourage change. Small steps for now, I think.

    • Really Debra, all any of us can do are small steps. I truly believe they do add up. Eventually we will go the distance .As for my myself I’ve come rather slowly to realization that despair is such a futile luxury. Now if I do indulge myself it is for the briefest of moments. And like you Debra, I think about my grandchildren – the Greta Thunberg generation. It is not right for us to give a bad example or wrong attitudes. This reminds me of one of the last lines of the movie of the Shawshank Redemption… The two convicts are talking and Andy says to Red: “I guess it comes down to a simple choice really. Get busy living or get busy dying.”

  4. I’m with you, Bruce, when you ask: “What is happening to our common sense of humanity?” I share your sentiments that “We need to re-assess, or rather, re-access our basic core human values – together and as individuals. What’s at stake is our common survival and metamorphosis.” I’m currently grieving for the slow dying of all the life-giving gifts that Mother Earth has bestowed on us. The excerpt quoted from John Dear’s book, They Will Inherit the Earth,” echoes my state of mind.

    May peace and compassion be with us all ❤

    • We do need to work together, to care for each other, to support each other within our grieving… I found it a wonder that John Dear reminds us to also be joyful when we are able to. Like for a smile, maybe of my grandaughters, or the beauty of a simple sunset, the joy of seeing snowflakes … occasionally that is…. lol… and I know you don’t see this much in California…. you have other joys. So good to be connected. Thanks Rosaliene.

  5. I am now in rehearsal for a production of “The Diary of Anne Frank” (as Mrs. Van Daan) at our small community theater. Foremost in my mind is the opportunity to tell a story of humanity, war, and forgiveness. The famous last lines of Anne and her father (“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” “She puts me to shame.”), inspire me to hope in humankind despite the atrocious examples of behavior set at the highest levels of leadership in my country. It may be ever thus, that a few powerfully awful leaders will create obstacles to peace and healing that are almost insurmountable. Still, we carry on lifting the best and brightest wherever we can – for example, Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. Keep up the good fight; keep proclaiming the message, Bruce! I appreciate your blog presence.

    • I appreciate your appreciation Priscilla… and your own presence. Wish I could see your play. It’s a perfect time to put it on at Christmas. I too “still believe that people are really good at heart”. We forget sometimes,,, not Anne Frank though. I commit to continue my small part …as my conscience leads me. Good cheers,

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