ACTION ALERT: Tell Your City to Divest from Nuclear War
April 8, 2016 Susi Snyder / ICANW & The Future of Life Institution & Max Tegmark / Huffington Post
The US is hoarding more than 7,000 nuclear missiles. A long history of near-misses underscores the risk of an accidental nuclear war that could trigger a nuclear winter, killing most people on Earth. Yet rather than retire its excess nukes, the US plans to spend $4 million-per-hour for the next 30 years making them more lethal. On April 2, Cambridge, Massachusetts unanimously voted to divest its $1 billion pension fund from nuclear weapons production.
A US City Divests from Nuclear War Susi Snyder / The International Campaign Against Nuclear Weapons (ICANW)
(April 5, 2016) -- The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA), has voted to keep their $1 billion pension fund OUT of the nuclear weapons industry! This was the result of some great cooperation with a few awesome people. It also got us a good quote from Stephen Hawking, who said: "If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don't bank on the bomb!" [See story below-- EAW.]
The City Council of Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA) has voted unanimously to divest their $1 billion pension fund from nuclear weapons producing companies.
In an historic, unanimous vote, the Cambridge City Council decided on 22 March to go on record opposing investing funds from the Cambridge Retirement System in any entities that are involved in or support the production or upgrading of nuclear weapons systems. The full text of the policy order is below.
This victory is due in no small part to the dedicated efforts of colleagues at the Future of Life Institute, MIT and Boston College.
CAMBRIDGE Mass. (April 3, 2016) -- On 2 April, Cambridge Mayor Denise Simmons announced that the Cambridge City Council has unanimously decided to divest their city pension fund from nuclear weapons production. This effectively removes $1 billion from possible investment in the companies most heavily involved in producing and modernizing nuclear weapons.
Mayor Simmons said "It's my hope that this will inspire other municipalities, companies and individuals to look at their investments and make similar moves". Engaging local officials to oppose nuclear weapons has always been an effective tool to raise awareness of nuclear dangers, and build widespread support to ban and eliminate them.
The announcement was made at an MIT conference on reducing the dangers of nuclear war, where the Future of Life Institute (FLI) launched a divestment campaign against upgrading nuclear arsenals. "If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don't bank on the bomb!", said physicist Stephen Hawking, a FLI scientific advisory board member.
Susi Snyder (PAX), co-author of the annual Don't Bank on the Bomb reports welcomed the news and said "this is a great way to use this resource -- to show there is broad opposition to nuclear weapons -- and everyone can do something about them.
This shows that there can be a great impact by including a prohibition on financing nuclear weapon production in a treaty banning nuclear weapons". (PAX just wrote a piece about this for the Open Ended Working Group in Geneva, Switzerland).
Ending investment in companies involved in nuclear weapon production is a great way to send a clear and decisive message that nuclear weapons are not okay. Divestment efforts aren't the only thing that will outlaw and eliminate nuclear weapons, but they are a great way to stigmatize them, and show how illegitimate they truly are.
(April 4, 2016) – 1,000 nuclear weapons are plenty enough to deter any nation from nuking the US, but we're hoarding over 7,000, and a long string of near-misses have highlighted the continuing risk of an accidental nuclear war which could trigger a nuclear winter, potentially killing most people on Earth. Yet rather than trimming our excess nukes, we're planning to spend $4 million per hour for the next 30 years making them more lethal.
Although I'm used to politicians wasting my tax dollars, I was shocked to realize that I was voluntarily using my money for this nuclear boondoggle by investing in the very companies that are lobbying for and building new nukes: some of the money in my bank account gets loaned to them and my S&P500 mutual fund invests in them.
"If you want to slow the nuclear arms race, then put your money where your mouth is and don't bank on the bomb!", my physics colleague Stephen Hawking told me.
To make it easier for others to follow his sage advice, I made an app for that together with my friends at the Future of Life Institute, and launched this "Brief History of Nukes" that's 3.14 minutes long in honor of Hawking's fascination with pi.
Our campaign got off to an amazing start this weekend at an MIT conference where our Mayor Denise Simmons announced that the Cambridge City Council has unanimously decided to divest their billion-dollar city pension fund from nuclear weapons production.
"Not in our name!", she said, and drew a standing ovation. "It's my hope that this will inspire other municipalities, companies and individuals to look at their investments and make similar moves".
"In Europe, over 50 large institutions have already limited their nuclear weapon investments, but this is our first big success in America", said Susi Snyder, who leads the global nuclear divestment campaign dontbankonthebomb.com.
Boston College philosophy major Lucas Perry, who led the effort to persuade Cambridge to divest, hoped that this online analysis tool will create a domino effect: "I want to empower other students opposing the nuclear arms race to persuade their own towns and universities to follow suit."
Many financial institutions now offer mutual funds that cater to the growing interest in socially responsible investing, including Ariel, Calvert, Domini, Neuberger, Parnassuss, Pax World and TIAA-CREF.
"We appreciate and share Cambridge's desire to exclude nuclear weapons production from its pension fund. Pension funds are meant to serve the long-term needs of retirees, a service that nuclear weapons do not offer", said Julie Fox Gorte, Senior Vice President for Sustainable Investing at Pax World.
"Divestment is a powerful way to stigmatize the nuclear arms race through grassroots campaigning, without having to wait for politicians who aren't listening", said conference co-organizer Cole Harrison, Executive Director of Massachusetts Peace Action, the nation's largest grassroots peace organization. "If you're against spending more money making us less safe, then make sure it's not your money."
ACTIONS:Divest from Bombs. You'll find our divestment app here. [See list of weapons makers below.]
Convince your hometown to Divest from Bombs. If you'd like to persuade your own municipality to follow Cambridge's lead, you can use their policy order as a model. Here it is:
WHEREAS: Nations across the globe still maintain over 15,000 nuclear weapons, some of which are hundreds of times more powerful than those that obliterated Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and detonation of even a small fraction of these weapons could create a decade-long nuclear winter that could destroy most of the Earth's population; and
WHEREAS: The United States has plans to invest roughly one trillion dollars over the coming decades to upgrade its nuclear arsenal, which many experts believe actually increases the risk of nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism, and accidental nuclear war; and
WHEREAS: In a period where federal funds are desperately needed in communities like Cambridge in order to build affordable housing, improve public transit, and develop sustainable energy sources, our tax dollars are being diverted to and wasted on nuclear weapons upgrades that would make us less safe; and
WHEREAS: Investing in companies producing nuclear weapons implicitly supports this misdirection of our tax dollars; and
WHEREAS: Socially responsible mutual funds and other investment vehicles are available that accurately match the current asset mix of the City of Cambridge Retirement Fund while excluding nuclear weapons producers; and
WHEREAS: The City of Cambridge is already on record in supporting the abolition of nuclear weapons, opposing the development of new nuclear weapons, and calling on President Obama to lead the nuclear disarmament effort; now therefore be it
ORDERED: That the City Council go on record opposing investing funds from the Cambridge Retirement System in any entities that are involved in or support the production or upgrading of nuclear weapons systems; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Cambridge Peace Commissioner and other appropriate City staff to organize an informational forum on possibilities for Cambridge individuals and institutions to divest their pension funds from investments in nuclear weapons contractors; and be it further
ORDERED: That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to work with the Board of the Cambridge Retirement System and other appropriate City staff to ensure divestment from all companies involved in production of nuclear weapons systems, and in entities investing in such companies, and the City Manager is requested to report back to the City Council about the implementation of said divestment in a timely manner.
Max Tegmark is an MIT physicist and author of "Our Mathematical Universe." Follow Max Tegmark on Twitter: www.twitter.com/tegmark Responsible Investing Made Easy The Future of Life Institution
Who Invests in Nuclear Bombs?
Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc.
Boeing Company (The)
China Aerospace Science and Technology
Engility Holdings, Inc.
General Dynamics Corporation
Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.
Honeywell International Inc.
Jacobs Engineering Group Inc.
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Larsen & Toubro
Northrop Grumman Corporation
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Serco Group PLC
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