20th century, the Western
Shoshone Nation's homelands began
to suffer from nuclear weapons testing conducted
by the U.S.A. &
the U.K. A few peacemakers came out in the 1950s to challenge
the nuclear testing, and a few more in the 1970s. People
of faith gathered for the first "Lenten Desert Experience"
at the Nevada Test Site in 1982 to witness against ongoing
nuclear violence. Soon the resisters were calling their
movement "Nevada Desert Experience" (NDE).
The name also refers to an organized activist group (the
one sponsoring this website) which continues to conduct
spiritually-based events near the Nevada
National Security Site (the NNSS/NTS)
in support of peace and nuclear abolition. NDE celebrates
the power of God's creation, analyzes the tragedy of
the nuclear weapons industry, and calls for ending
the destruction and repairing the damage. 60 miles
from the expanding city of Las Vegas, also receives
shipments of "low-level"
of NDE and Nuclear Abolition in the Nuclear Age
NDE...What’s in a Name?
Nevada Desert Experience...If you didn’t know what our focus is, what
would you imagine it to be? The name fits, but doesn’t mention anything
about the organization’s main focus: stopping nuclear weapons testing
and development. But it has been our name for three decades,
so what’s the problem? Maybe there isn’t one, but for three
years now some members of the staff and Council have suggested
changing the name for better clarity, transparency of purpose
and ease of understanding by people new to us. Other voices
have argued that the name
has served us well, and that with a name change comes the
of losing contact with supporters. Also, keeping connected
organization’s historic roots is so important, that changing the
name could harm our work and effectiveness.
We recognize that our name has emotional and historical
significance to many people. We recognize that new people
discover NDE and our work every year. We want to communicate
our purpose, goals and work in a swift way through our
name. We know that changing our name will cause confusion for some folks.
know that changing our name costs time, energy and money.
We decided to turn to Desert Voices readers. There are
four choices to consider. Note that the first option
is to keep our name as it has been. Please cast a vote
prior to 21 September 2011, the fall equinox, to let
our staffers know:
We have four choices for NDE's name. Please note
that the first option is to keep our name as is (change nothing about
our official name).
Please cast a vote prior to 21 September 2011
to let our staffers know:
What do you prefer as the name for NDE?
a) Nevada Desert Experience
Please contact the office by phone, postcard, letter, e-mail,
b) Nevada Desert
Experience and Peace Witness
c) Nevada Desert Peace Experience
d) Nevada Desert Peace Witness
Email votes with “NDE Name...” in the subject line to info (AT) NevadaDesertExperience (DOT) org
Mail votes to: NDE Name, 1420 W Barlett Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89106
Call-in votes to: (702) 646-4814
Facebook Group -
Look for the Name Change Options and select your choice
The Reasons Behind the Name
"Nevada Desert Experience"
In 1983 when faith-based nuclear abolitionists
formed themselves into Nevada Desert Experience (NDE) for
the second annual Lenten Desert Experience, the name for
the organization made sense. These founders and the participants
in the NDE events were coming from far-away urban and other
non-desert places to experience the desert both in its beauty
and in its ongoing tragedy. Nevada's Great Basin and Mojave
Deserts are known for nuclear weapons testing, yet an experience
of the natural environment and its greatness was a peaceful
inspiration to the activists to protect this place--this
huge stretch of wilderness which had been home to Paiute
and Shoshone people since time immemorial.
The Experience of this Nevada Desert was
one which the pilgrims carried back to their urban and otherwise
foreign homes where they could spread the word about the
nuclear devastation in Nevada, and motivate others to work
for peace and protection of our sacred desert area, as part
of the efforts to stop nuclear testing at the NNSS/NTS,
and to abolish nuclear weapons globally. NDE has continued
to organize retreats and direct actions for peace at the
NNSS/NTS and elsewhere for 30 years now. We have a strong
base of support in California, and people from around the
planet still come annually on pilgrimages to the Nevada
Desert to celebrate and try to protect the natural desert
environment and to conduct public witness actions for the
sake of peace and nuclear abolition. In the past five years
we have had a particularly stronger position as being locally
based in Nevada (in contrast to some prior years where we
kept office space in California). This heightened local
focus allows for more community organizing and a broader
range of issues to which we pay attention in Southern Nevada.
NDE achieves its primary goal of stopping
nuclear testing in a small way every time nuclear testing
is halted for extended periods of time. We have continued
our prayerful actions during periods of cease-fire (up to
five years sometimes) for nuclear bomb experimental explosions.
We are not a watch-dog group against nuclear testing, we
are an event-based group working in a spiritual realm, conducting
rituals for peace and focused mostly on the moral, ethical,
and spiritual problems of weapons of mass destruction (WMD)s.
Our public witness events have become an important spiritual
discipline for people of various religions. People of conscience
want to continue standing for peace at this environmentally
devastated location for its historical significance, and
because the NNSS continues its potential to resume conducting
violent activities in the future. No full-scale self-sustaining
chain reaction nuclear detonations have been conducted since
1992. Yet the money keeps flowing into the American nuclear
experiment of this huge industry based on WMDs at the NNSS/NTS.
So NDE continues to honor the wild spirit of the lovely
desert, and our NDE focus has expanded to address threats
to peace beyond strictly "nuclear weapons testing".
The history of humans abusing the desert
(physically with toxic pollution and spiritually through
disrespect) has continued through drone warfare practiced
at Creech Air Force Base next to the Nevada National Security
Site. The Nellis Air Force Base and other institutions in
Southern Nevada are environmentally devastating and aggressively
promoting warfare and oppression of poor folks around the
world. These early 21st century developments in desert abuse
and war-mongering have led to the contemporary self-examination
of NDE by NDE Council members and participants. What is
the most important work for a Nevada-based environmentalist,
anti-nuclear peace group to do? How does the group represent
itself in its literature and in other formal ways? What's
the appropriate name for such a group? NDE's Council has
been addressing this question of our name for a few years,
and we have decided to put it to the test of our membership.
We recognize that our name has emotional
and historical significance to many people. We recognize
that new people discover NDE and our work every year. We
want to communicate our purpose, goals and work in a swift
way through our name. We know that changing our name will
cause confusion for some folks. We know that changing our
name costs time, energy and money organizationally. What
do you think we should do?
of The Nuclear Age and Nuclear Abolition