“Tipping the Scales of Justice: Linus Pauling, the Fallout Suits, and the Judicial
Aspect of the Global Environmental Crisis” Watch Video
Linus Pauling is known for his prominent role in concluding the world's first nuclear arms control treaty in 1963, which banned the testing of nuclear weapons in all environments except for underground. Many excellent studies have revealed Pauling's moral impulse and contributions to peace. But it is less known that, in his struggle for the test ban, Pauling pioneered a number of innovative risk concepts and grassroots actions which have become integral to environmentalism after the 1960s. While many scientists, both for and against the test ban, downplayed global fallout pollution as irrelevant, Pauling was one of the few who took the environmental dimension of the question as seriously as its arms-race aspect.
Higuchi's research on Pauling's publications has indicated his idiosyncratic way of conceiving environmental risks, alleged "benefits" for national security, and policy actions to take during a time of scientific uncertainty, are all radically different from many other scientists. For example, Pauling insisted on taking humanity on earth as one indivisible community at risk and drew attention to the aggregate effects of fallout across the world and over generations. He also argued that nuclear testing countries, not fallout victims, should bear the burden of proof regarding safety. Furthermore, he devised a repertoire of many innovative actions to halt nuclear testing. His tactics included a global petition campaign for the United Nations and unprecedented lawsuits by fallout victims across the world against the nuclear powers on both sides of the Iron Curtain.
Related Names: Linus Pauling