START-ing the "Countdown to Zero"

07/22/2010 01:48 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Ever since the world first witnessed the blossoming of the mushroom cloud we've been living a constant nightmare of international terrorism. Demonstrations and use of the A-bomb have blown open an infinite chasm of fear, but have never been able to articulate very positive foreign relations.

Despite the end of the Cold War, the nuclear threat has frozen in time as a coveted crutch rather than be condemned (recall the MAD doctrine from the bipolar world of the 50s: mutually assured destruction). This is not one of our most democratic accomplishments.

The idea (in keeping with the Cold War-era status-quo) is that since both the United States and Russia have the power of catastrophic retaliation, it's likely neither will launch their warheads.
Everyone's "happy" for lack of a much, much better word. And there might be a teetering equilibrium between our stockpiles except that when we add the rest of the world onto this see-saw insurance policy, it no longer seems even that assuring.

A documentary called Countdown to Zero was put together by the same team that produced An Inconvenient Truth to showcase this need, and to highlight the fact that nuclear terrorism isn't so unlikely anymore. It premiers in Denver at the Mayan Theater on July 30th.

Here is the trailer:

I was invited to participate and speak at the film's pre-screening panel event at the Aspen Ideas Festival along with GZ roadie Drew Davidson. Also on this panel were Ambassador Richard Burt, former CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson, retired General Jack Sheehan, executive producer Diane Weyermann, and President of the World Security Institute Bruce Blair.

Today, in a world of growing interconnectedness and dependence--a world where you could maintain a real-time friendship with someone in Egypt without ever leaving your house--oughtn't we be demanding stronger foreign relations over an insistence to use stronger bombs?

Global Zero calls for the worldwide end of these MAD comforts. It is an international, non-profit and non-partisan group that stands for the phase-out of nuclear weapons in a plan drafted by an international commission.

How? START-ing with cooperation. Pun quite intended.
(Please visit to sign your support, find more information and access to the plan).

The recent signing of the U.S.'s START treaty with Russia is an important measure toward "freeing humanity from the nuclear threat," as it reads. The treaty would make cuts in the two largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the world to 1,500 each, once ratified by the Senate. Leading by example after all, is not a weakness. It's leading.

As a grassroots campaign made up of young people, Drew and I were consistently told by festival attendees that "your (read: our) generation will need to be the one to fix this."

And that's what we intend to do, because ironically through the discovery of fission we only succeeded in fusing our fears. It's beyond time to use a strategy more comprehensive than the red button.

Again, the movie will premier in Denver at the Mayan Theater in Denver on July 30 at 7:15p.m., I hope to see you there.