What Is Nuclear Guardianship?
Nuclear Guardianship combines art, science, and remembrance to address the seemingly
intractable human-caused problem of nuclear contamination with wisdom and creativity.
Based on the pioneering work of eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, Rocky Flats: A Call to
Guardianship applies the ideas and ideals of Nuclear Guardianship at the site of the
now closed Rocky Flats nuclear weapons manufacturing plant near Boulder, Colorado.
Nuclear Guardianship Ethic
(created ca. 1990, revised July 2011)
- Each generation shall endeavor to preserve the foundations of life and well-being
for those who come after. To produce and abandon substances that damage following
generations is morally unacceptable.
- Given the extreme toxicity and longevity of radioactive materials, their production
must cease. The development of safe, renewable energy sources and non-violent means
of conflict resolution is essential to the health and survival of life on Earth. Radioactive
materials are not to be regarded as an economic or military resource.
- We accept responsibility for the radioactive materials mined and produced for our
- Future generations have the right to know about their nuclear legacy and the dangers
- Future generations have the right to protect themselves from these dangers. Therefore,
it is our responsibility to pass on the information they will need, such as the nature
and effects of radiation, and methods for monitoring and containing it. We acknowledge
that deep burial of radioactive materials precludes these possibilities and risks
- Transport of radioactive materials, with its inevitable risks of accidents and spills,
should be undertaken only when storage conditions at the site of production pose a
greater hazard than transportation.
- Research and development of technologies for the least hazardous long-term treatment
and placement of nuclear materials should receive high priority in public attention
- Education of the public about the character, source, and containment of radioactive
materials is essential for the health of present and future generations. This education
should promote understanding of the interconnectedness of all life forms and a grasp
of the extraordinary time spans for which containment is required.
- The formation of policies for managing radioactive materials requires full participation
of the public. For this purpose, the public must have ready access to complete and
- The vigilance necessary for ongoing containment of radioactive materials requires
a moral commitment. This commitment is within our capacity, and can be developed and
sustained by drawing on the cultural and spiritual resources of our human heritage.
The Nuclear Guardianship Ethic is proposed as an evolving expression of values to
guide decision-making on the management of radioactive materials.
Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardians for more information:
By Wes McKinley and Caron Balkany, Esq.
The Ambushed Grand Jury is the true story of four Citizen Investigators who uncover
the Justice Department’s cover-up of deadly radioactive contamination at Rocky Flats
Nuclear Weapons Plant.
By Kristen Iversen
Full Body Burden is a haunting work of narrative nonfiction about a young woman, Kristen
Iversen, growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear
weapons plant once designated “the most contaminated site in America.” It’s the story
of a childhood and adolescence in the shadow of the Cold War, in a landscape at once
startlingly beautiful and—unknown to those who lived there—tainted with invisible
yet deadly particles of plutonium.
By Joseph Daniel
A Year of Disobedience and a Criticality of Conscience is a beautiful updated edition
of the original photo-documentary on the demonstrations, civil disobedience, arrests,
and trials of thousands of people against the Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Plant during
the one-year period between April 29, 1978 and April 28, 1979.
Rocky Flats Downwinders:
Rocky Flats Right to Know:
Alliance for Nuclear Accountability:
The Colorado Coalition:
The best way to find out more about the Joanna Macy Center at Naropa is to join our
mailing list and attend our events. For any other questions please contact Program
Manager, Carla Mueller .
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