‘From Dr Kate Dewes and Commander Robert Green, Royal Navy (Ret’d), Disarmament & Security Centre, Aotearoa/New Zealand

Greetings from Christchurch, in nuclear-free New Zealand. Kate first learned about the horrors of nuclear weapons in the early 1970s when, as a music teacher, she had to explain to her class of teenage girls why a piece of music was called ‘Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima’.  On the opposite side of the planet her future husband, Robert, was in the British Royal Navy navigating aircraft carrier-based Buccaneer nuclear-armed strike jets with a target in Russia.

Twenty years later, they met at the launch of the World Court Project, a successful citizen campaign challenging the legality of the threat, let alone use, of nuclear weapons at the International Court of Justice. Kate pioneered this after helping make her country nuclear-free in 1987. Robert, having left the Navy in 1982, realised British nuclear weapons did not make his country safe. So we teamed up to help rid the world of nuclear weapons when Robert became Chair of World Court Project UK. We married in 1997, and Robert joined Kate in Christchurch permanently two years later and established their Disarmament & Security Centre in their home (www.disarmsecure.org). In 2018 the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation published an updated edition of Robert’s 2010 book Security without Nuclear Deterrence.

Now aged 76, he is advising a former Polaris submarine commanding officer, Commander Robert Forsyth RN (Ret’d), who is challenging his submariner colleagues in UK to oppose the ongoing operation of the Royal Navy’s Trident-armed submarine force. 

200 years ago, surprisingly few determined British, American and French citizens succeeded in replacing slavery with more humane, lawful and effective ways to create wealth. Now, 75 years after the nuclear atrocities committed against Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the UK is best-placed to lead the world in discarding nuclear weapons for more humane, lawful and safer security strategies if civilisation and the Earth’s ecosystems are to survive.’