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PSR Monitor

October 27, 2020

Peace and Security

50 ratifications

PSR celebrates 50 ratifications for the ban treaty

On October 24, United Nations Day, Honduras became the 50th nation to ratify the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), paving the way for the treaty to officially enter into force on January 22, 2021. This long-sought-after treaty is becoming a reality right before our eyes. It changes the legal status of nuclear weapons in international law, and marks a historic milestone for a decades-long, intergenerational movement to abolish nuclear weapons. PSR congratulates these first 50 forward-looking nations, the 596 ICAN partner organizations, and everyone reading this who played a role in achieving this victory. Together, we have successfully challenged the status quo and illuminated the path toward a nuclear weapons-free world.

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Vic Sidel APHA protest

American Public Health Association Renews Appeal for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

On October 24, the American Public Health Association Governing Council adopted a policy statement "Towards a Nuclear Weapons Free World," which was co-authored and submitted by PSR members from PSR San Francisco Bay Area and Washington PSR. The new policy updates and replaces many older APHA policy resolutions on nuclear weapons and is composed of four main action items including support for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Remarkably, the treaty achieved 50 ratifications on the very same day.

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United States and Russia scramble against deadline to save New START

A lot of movement regarding the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) Treaty has taken place since we last wrote about the treaty in the June Monitor. The treaty between the U.S. and Russia is set to expire February 5, 2021, but some new developments have generated hope that the countries may reach an agreement in time.

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Environment & Health

Running Out of Time cover

Health, Life Insurance Companies
Must Divest from Fossil Fuels

Health insurance and life insurance companies are supposed to help us deal with threats and risks. So why are they investing in fossil fuels, which undermine health, increase susceptibility to COVID-19, and contribute to climate change?

"Running Out of Time," an eye-opening new report co-released by PSR and The Sunrise Project, will fill you in on the startling details: the extent of those investments, the harm they do to humans and the climate, and the importance of persuading insurers to divest their fossil fuel holdings.

   Read the report   

Upcoming Reports

PSR's Environment & Health program plans to release two new reports in November/December. One, a new study and the first of its kind as far as we know, looks at the incidences of COVID-19 cases in Colorado and New Mexico and asks: Does proximity to fracking operations increase vulnerability to COVID?

The second, to be released subsequently, reveals the possible use in oil and gas drilling and fracking operations of a chemical that can break down into dangerous perfluorinated compounds, known as "forever chemicals" because they do not break down in the environment.

Watch the PSR website and next month's Monitor for further information.

My Green Doctor

Save Money This Year by "Going Solar"

Now may be the time to add solar panels to your home or practice. This month, Physicians for Social Responsibility's My Green Doctor offers six reasons why "going solar" could be your best financial decision this year.

My Green Doctor is a free donor and membership benefit from Physicians for Social Responsibility. It helps you as a clinician save money by guiding your office to adopt wise environmental practices. It also encourages you to share these ideas with your patients as a means of slowing the momentum of climate change and preparing for its threats to health. Ask your office manager to register, and please share this with your colleagues.

Building Resilient Neighborhoods graphic

PSR AZ Special Workshop: "Building Resilient Neighborhoods" in Times of Excessive Heat

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Arizona Chapter held its first comprehensive virtual "Building Resilient Neighborhoods" (BRN) workshop online for Climate Tucson members, on Saturday, October 17. The workshop covered all the steps needed to be prepared for the dangers of excessive heat, from keeping yourself and others safe from dangerous and often fatal heat-related illnesses to the supplies and resources required in case of the worst-case scenario: an extended power outage. It included an updated BRN Citizen's Guide. The need for preparation is no longer a prudent thing to do; it’s a critical safety requirement due to climate change as we face continued record-breaking summertime heat. To find out more about this effort, visit

Election 2020

Vote graphic

Encouraging young people to vote

With one week until Election Day, the most important question to ask the youth in your life right now is, Do you have a plan to vote? Click here for helpful voting resources. Also on our website, PSR Nuclear Weapons Abolition Intern Steph Talarek writes about why the youth vote is critical this year.

Upcoming Virtual Events

40 Years of Health and Justice Advocacy
Tue. Nov. 17, 6:00 pm PST
Join PSR-Los Angeles to celebrate their 40th Year of advocacy and the launch of the new Health and Justice Institute, with a fun, lively evening of reflection and celebration with engaging speakers, games and prizes, and a live DJ. Register here


PSR Virtual Gala
Thu. Nov. 19, 6:00 pm EST
Join PSR for an interactive experience that celebrates PSR's accomplishments on the national and local levels and unveils a new vision for how we, as an organization of health professionals, meet the intersectional challenges of climate change, security, and racial equity in this extraordinary moment. Get tickets


2nd Annual Medical Symposium: Health Effects of Oil and Gas Development
Sat. Dec. 5, 8:00 am - 5:00 pm MST
PSR Colorado presents the second Medical Symposium. Come and learn about the scope of health and environmental effects of oil & gas development on our communities. Experts will be presenting peer reviewed research from a micro (cellular) level and progress to a macro level of global impact. Continuing education credits available. Register here

In the news

Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons Passes Important Threshold
New York Times - Oct 25
Quotes PSR


Physicians for Social Responsibility celebrates 50th ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
PSR Press Release - Oct 24


Thousands of Doctors and Nurses Across America Prescribe Urgent Medicine to Protect Health: Calling on Leaders to Act on Climate Change
PSR Press Release - Oct 21


U.S. health industry asked to divest from fossil fuels
Benefits Pro - Oct 19
Coverage of the new report on insurance divestment co-authored by PSR.


Heartening progress on nuclear warhead freeze
Elliot Trester, MD, Texas PSR, Austin American-Statesman - Oct 16


Panelists discuss Hunters Point history, radioactivity, and future for Bayview engagement
Mission Local - Oct 14
Mentions San Francisco Bay Area PSR


The Controversial Natural Gas Compressor In Weymouth, Explained
Earthwhile (WBUR) - Oct 13
Mentions Greater Boston PSR


Power Companies Turn to Small-Scale Nuclear Reactors
The Mississippi Link - Oct 12
Mentions Oregon PSR's report on small reactors


Boiling Point: These maps show how air pollution and COVID-19 can be a deadly mix
Los Angeles Times - Oct 8
Quotes Martha Dina Argüello, PSR-Los Angeles


More should have been said about climate change (Print only)
Alan H. Lockwood, MD, FAAN, FANA, PSR Board Member, Elyria Chronicle - Oct 4


NASA, Trump Administration's smaller-scale Santa Susana cleanup plan sets off angry responses
Los Angeles Daily News - Oct 2
Quotes Denise Duffield, PSR-Los Angeles


Pacific Northwest wildfires sicken people in the Midwest and beyond
Investigate West - Oct 1
Quotes Kristen Knox, MD, Washington PSR


Environmental Justice: Governor vetoes bill to reform California's top toxics regulator, the DTSC
Red, Green, and Blue - Oct 1
Quotes Martha Dina Argüello, PSR-Los Angeles


Let's clear the air on wildfires, climate change
Mercer Island Report - Sep 29
Quotes Amy Markezich, MD, Washington PSR


Nuclear threat most easily vanquished
John Reuwer, MD, PSR member, VTDigger - Sep 25


40 Groups Demand Congress Probe 'Gross Misuse' of $1 Billion in Covid-19 Funding by Pentagon
Common Dreams - Sep 25
Mentions PSR

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