And in the Marshall Islands, the longtime political leader and anti-nuclear activist Tony deBrum has died at the age of 72. DeBrum helped organize for his country’s independence from the United States and went on to serve in a number of top political positions during his 50-year career in government. He was one of the world’s most prominent voices confronting climate change, which threatens the future of the Marshall Islands. He also spent decades organizing against nuclear weapons, after having witnessed firsthand the United States’ nuclear testing on his homeland. This is Tony deBrum, speaking in 2015 as he accepted the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize.
Tony deBrum: “Decades after the conclusion of devastating nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands, I might be branded by some as a radical for my impassioned conviction against the use, testing or possession of nuclear weapons. But this is not radical. It is only logical. … I have seen with my very own eyes such devastation and know, with conviction, that nuclear weapons must never again be visited upon humanity. … Between 1946 and 1958, the United States conducted 67 large-scale nuclear tests in the Marshall Islands. That is the equivalence of 1.6 Hiroshima shots every day for 12 years.”
Tony deBrum died Tuesday in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands.