World Symposium on Humanity 1979 Considers Nuclear Energy

Footage from the 1979 World Symposium on Humanity in which speakers, including Ralph Nader, discuss the dangers of nuclear power. The discussions center around the disaster at Three Mile Island, a recent occurrence.

00:19Copy video clip URL Footage of nuclear explosions, taped off of television.

00:38Copy video clip URL Ralph Nader discusses nuclear technology as “congealed suicide.” A woman talks about the potential for “death machines” causing destruction that’s “worse than Hiroshima.” Ellen Burstyn talks about civilizations’ capacity to destroy themselves. 

02:43Copy video clip URL A panel discussion. Nader discusses “the Harrisburg accident” as “the beginning of the end of atomic energy” and the disrespect shown to future generations by the present’s use of such damaging, volatile technology. The need to hold Congress accountable for future accidents. 

07:38Copy video clip URL Interview with a man about the dangers of nuclear energy and the need to create a forum for expression about alternative energy sources. 

09:42Copy video clip URL A man delivers a speech about the Harrisburg accident. He talks about nuclear energy as a “male-oriented technology, whether it’s weapons or power.” The “crossroads of life and death” facing humanity. 

12:27Copy video clip URL Thomas Banyacya, a Hopi elder, talks about the dangers threatening humanity. 

13:30Copy video clip URL Ernie Peters, a Sioux leader, talks about the need to show concern for future generations and for plants and animals. “It’s puzzling to us the Indians – they call us savages, savages because we believe that we can talk and communicate with all the creations of the Great Spirit and as savage and barbaric – whatever they want to call it – we are proud to be considered these things because we, the Red Men of the Western Hemisphere, and I know many tribes throughout the world, have had no part in the modern educational scientific destruction of our Mother Earth.”

15:05Copy video clip URL Banyacya uses an illustration of a Hopi prophecy to demonstrate the dire consequences of allowing destruction of the environment to continue. 

16:44Copy video clip URL A white man talks about “the understanding of the Indian people about reverence for the earth.” 

18:19Copy video clip URL A man asks a panel about getting mainstream media coverage of the danger of nuclear energy. A panel member tells the crowd not to be dependent on the media to take action: “Just assume that everything in the world depends on you. You do your part and you’ll find a lot of other people who’ll do theirs and we’ll see how far we can go with that.” 

20:21Copy video clip URL Another panel member discusses the lack of communication between and among technical, financial, and governmental departments. 

23:17Copy video clip URL Nader: “Nuclear power, as long as it contains the generation of radioactive waste and radioactive materials, cannot be considered an acceptable risk.”

24:20Copy video clip URL The panelist discusses the ways in which the top physicists have turned away from nuclear power. 

25:24Copy video clip URL A speaker talks about the ways that ordinary people have made a difference in the past, and the need for them to do the same to prevent future nuclear reactors from opening. 

28:09Copy video clip URL A speaker talks about the danger of the world’s nations arming themselves with nuclear weapons. 

30:37Copy video clip URL A speaker discusses the investment in global capital in nuclear power and nuclear weaponry. 

33:50Copy video clip URL Japanese Buddhist monks deliver a mantra for peace. One of the speakers from the symposium talks about what he has learned from them. He talks about the possible end of the human race due to nuclear technology. 

38:23Copy video clip URL A speaker offers “a simple proposition” that “this world and everything in it belongs to the people that inhabit it” and the need to put “human sovereignty” over nationalism. 

40:45Copy video clip URL Nader talks about the need for ordinary people to feel the capacity to shape events. The previous speaker continues his speech about the need to overcome destructive nationalism and other sectarian thinking. The need for a world government to work in humanity’s interests. 

47:02Copy video clip URL A question about how the people can unite. Nader answers, talking about the ways to balance immediate and longterm activism. 

53: 23 A speaker details the working of nuclear reactors and explains how the Three Mile Island accident occurred and the dire health effects of exposure. The prioritization of the nuclear industry’s interests over the safety of the population. 



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