To: The City Council of Charlottesville, Virginia
Divest from Weapons and Fossil Fuels
RESOLUTION OF DIVESTMENT
WHEREAS, US weapons companies supply deadly weapons to numerous brutal dictatorships around the globe , and companies Charlottesville currently has public funds invested in include Boeing and Honeywell, which are major suppliers of Saudi Arabia’s horrific war on the people of Yemen;
WHEREAS, the current federal administration has labeled climate change a hoax, moved to withdraw the US from the global climate accord, attempted to suppress climate science, and worked to intensify the production and use of warming-causing fossil fuels, with the burden therefore falling on city, county, and state governments to assume climate leadership for the sake of their citizens’ wellbeing and the health of local and regional environments;
WHEREAS, militarism is a major contributor to climate change , and the City of Charlottesville has urged the US Congress to invest less in militarism and more in protecting human and environmental needs ;
WHEREAS, the City of Charlottesville’s own investments ought to model the changes it has urged on the Congress;
WHEREAS, continuing on the current course of climate change will cause a global average temperature rise of 4.5ºF by 2050, and cost the global economy $32 trillion dollars ;
WHEREAS, five-year averages of temperature in Virginia began a significant and steady increase in the early 1970s, rising from 54.6 degrees Fahrenheit then to 56.2 degrees F in 2012, and the Piedmont area has seen the temperature rise at a rate of 0.53 degrees F per decade, at which rate Virginia will be as hot as South Carolina by 2050 and as northern Florida by 2100 ;
WHEREAS, economists at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst have documented that military spending is an economic drain rather than a jobs-creation program, and that investment in other sectors is economically beneficial ;
WHEREAS, satellite readings show water tables dropping worldwide, and more than one in three counties in the United States could face a “high” or “extreme” risk of water shortages due to climate change by the middle of the 21st century, while seven in ten of the more than 3,100 counties could face “some” risk of shortages of fresh water ;
WHEREAS, wars are often fought with US-made weapons used by both sides ;
WHEREAS, heat waves now cause more deaths in the United States than all other weather events (hurricanes, floods, lightning, blizzards, tornados, etc.) combined and dramatically more than all deaths from terrorism, and an estimated 150 people in the United States will die from extreme heat every summer day by 2040, with almost 30,000 heat-related deaths annually ;
WHEREAS, local government investing in companies producing weapons of war implicitly supports federal war spending on those same companies, many of which depend on the federal government as their primary customer;
WHEREAS, between 1948 and 2006 “extreme precipitation events” increased 25% in Virginia, with negative impacts on agriculture, a trend predicted to continue , and global sea level is projected to rise an average of at least two feet by the end of the century, with rising along the Virginia coast among the most rapid in the world ;
WHEREAS, weapons companies that Charlottesville can commit to not investing in produced the weapons brought to Charlottesville in August 2017;
WHEREAS, fossil fuel emissions must be cut by 45% by 2030 and to zero by 2050 in order to hold warming to the 2.7 ºF (1.5 ºC) goal targeted in the Paris Accord ;
WHEREAS, climate change is a serious threat to the health, safety and welfare of the people of Charlottesville, and the American Academy of Pediatrics has warned that climate change poses a threat to human health and safety, with children being uniquely vulnerable, and calls failure to take “prompt, substantive action” an “act of injustice to all children” ;
WHEREAS, the rate of mass shootings in the United States is the highest anywhere in the developed world, as civilian gun manufacturers continue to reap enormous profits off bloodshed that we do not need to invest our public dollars in;
WHEREAS, the City’s investment practices may be in conflict with the City’s commitment to equality and justice;
AND WHEREAS, hundreds of people have petitioned the City to take the following action ;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the City Council formally declares its opposition to investing City funds in any entities that are involved in the production of fossil fuels or the production or upgrading of weapons and weapons systems, whether conventional or nuclear, and including the manufacture of civilian arms, and decides that it shall be City policy to divest from such entities; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the City Council directs any and all persons acting on behalf of City investment activity to enforce the provisions of this Resolution; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that this Resolution shall be binding City policy and shall be in full force and effect after adoption by the City Council.
1. Rich Whitney, Truthout, Sept. 23, 2017, “US Provides Military Assistance to 73 Percent of World’s Dictatorships” https://fas.org/asmp/library/publications/us-mexico.htm ), World War II (https://www.amazon.com/Trading-Enemy-Charles-Higham/dp/0760700095/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1463760561&sr=1-1&keywords=Trading+with+the+enemy ) and many others.
9. “Our cities are getting hotter—and its killing people,” by Alissa Walker, http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/136/5/e1468
More information at DivestCville.org
Why Our City Should Divest from Weapons Firms
David Swanson / Letter to the Editor @ The Daily Progress
(March 26, 2019) — Charlottesville has seen some struggles lately related to racism and involving weaponry. The city has passed resolutions in the past opposing wars and urging Congress to move money from militarism to human and environmental needs.
Yet the city has our money invested in companies whose weapons may be used in environmentally destructive wars, in wars in which most of the victims don’t look “white” — and often on both sides of those wars.
And the city has our money invested in fossil fuel companies.
The city has divested before, from Sudan and from South Africa. It is perfectly capable of establishing a policy of not investing in weapons companies — a policy that would cover whatever companies produced the guns people brought here in August 2017. It is perfectly capable of divesting from fossil fuel companies.
A number of us have drafted a possible resolution for the city to consider. It’s posted at DivestCville.org and endorsed by numerous organizations and, thus far, several candidates for City Council in this year’s election.
Other cities are passing similar measures. The US Congress has rules for the acceptance of petitions from local and state governments. The rules were written by a guy named Thomas Jefferson. It is absolutely appropriate for our City Council to represent us to a higher and less representative level of government or to take action on a national or global issue.
But this is a local issue. Climate chaos happens here. Gun violence happens here. The impacts of war culture happen here. And this is our money we’re talking about.
At least two companies that Charlottesville has money invested in are big suppliers of Saudi Arabia and its war on Yemen, the worst humanitarian disaster seen in many years. T
his is not something the people of Charlottesville would vote for, but we’ve never been asked. So, we’re volunteering our opinion.
Charlottesville should set an example for other cities to follow. This is our planet at stake.