17The Year without a Summer: Nuclear Winter

Some say the world will end in fire,Some say in ice.From what I’ve tasted of desireI hold with those who favor fire.But if I had to perish twice,I think I know enough of hateTo say that for destruction iceIs also greatAnd would suffice.—ROBERT FROST

A GOOD PART OF MY LIFE has been stalked by the threatening phantom of nuclear war. By the time I helped found IPPNW, I thought I had fathomed all the horrors in store for humankind, but “shock and awe” was about to overtake the lurid scenarios stored in my overwrought brain. In the winter of 1983, the terror was afforded a new dimension.

Astonishingly, it was forty years into the atomic age before scientists first discovered the unforeseen atmospheric ...

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