What is that strange glow in my backyard?

I have been writing a piece on sustainability (again) and politics, when I came across a time lapse map of global temperatures. After the time lapse of global temperatures, I came across a time lapse map of every nuclear explosion since 1945 to 1998.

This is a disturbing video (especially since I live in the American southwest)! It was created by Japanese artist Isao Hashimoto. Hashimoto says,

This piece of work is a bird’s eye view of the history by scaling down a month length of time into one second. No letter is used for equal messaging to all viewers without language barrier. The blinking light, sound and the numbers on the world map show when, where and how many experiments each country have conducted. I created this work for the means of an interface to the people who are yet to know of the extremely grave, but present problem of the world.

I remember being terrified of the threat of nuclear war when I was growing up in the 80s! Reagan’s Star Wars program did nothing to make me feel any better about the amount of nuclear weapons on this planet. 

The last U.S. underground nuclear explosion took place in 1992 at the Nevada test site, 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas. On September 24, 1996, President Clinton signed a treaty that would ban all nuclear weapons testing. According the Wikipedia, “Given the political situation prevailing in the subsequent decades, little progress was made in nuclear disarmament until the end of the Cold War in 1991. Parties to the PTBT (Partial Test Ban Treaty) held an amendment conference that year to discuss a proposal to convert the Treaty into an instrument banning all nuclear-weapon tests; with strong support from the UN General Assembly, negotiations for a comprehensive test-ban treaty began in 1993.”

“Besides advocating the implementation of the chemical weapons treaty, the President called for five additional steps in arms control: freezing the production of nuclear bomb-making material; making further reductions in nuclear arsenals; stregthening measures against nuclear smuggling; improving compliance with a biological weapons treaty and banning anti-personnel land mines.” (Mitchell, pg. A1)

Soldiers being exposed to a nuclear explosion at the Nevada Test Site in 1951.
Representatives of 60 countries signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) by the end of the day, including the five declared nuclear powers (United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China). “But India, which set off a nuclear explosion in 1974 and is believed to have a clandestine nuclear weapons program that it does not want to give up, has said it will not sign because the treaty does not set a date for the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Pakistan, which is also thought to have a covert nuclear program, has indicated that it will boycott the pact if India does.” (pg. A4)

VIP observers watching the spectacle during Operation Greenhouse at Enewetak Atoll, 1951. (What a way to catch up on your tan, hey?)
Though the CTBT was adopted by the United Nations; the United States Senate would not ratify the treaty. It is hard to believe, but the treaty is still not ratified today.

President Obama is currently reviving the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. He stated during his 2008 election campaign that “As president, I will reach out to the Senate to secure the ratification of the CTBT at the earliest practical date.”In his speech in Prague on 5 April 2009, he announced that “[To] achieve a global ban on nuclear testing, my administration will immediately and aggressively pursue U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. After more than five decades of talks, it is time for the testing of nuclear weapons to finally be banned.”

Mitchell, Alison. “Clinton, at U.N., Signs Treaty Banning All Nuclear Testing.” New York Times 24 Sept. 1996, Volume CXLVI ed.: n. pag. Print.