ACTION ALERT: Counting the Nuclear Weapons Money October 24 at the UN
(October 24, 2019) — One trillion dollars is being spent to modernize the nuclear arsenals of nine countries over the next 10 years.
We’re showing the scale of this investment and how it could be devoted to peace and humanitarian needs, rather than the threat of nuclear annihilation while governments meet at the United Nations for United Nations Disarmament Week and the UN General Assembly, October 24-30, 2019.
We’re counting the money by hand
$100 million per minute in $1million dollar notes, and symbolically re-allocating these to climate protection, poverty alleviation and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Counting is taking 7 days and nights.
You Can Help!
Count the nuclear weapons money for ten minutes, half an hour or more, and decide where you would like this money to be invested instead of nuclear weapons.
The main counting takes place at the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money Hub, 504 West 22nd Street at 10th Ave, Chelsea, New York City. Counting starts on Thursday Oct 24 at 1pm and continues until Wednesday Oct 30 at 7pm. Join us there at any time.
Other countings are taking place in London (UK), New Mexico, Philadelphia and Wellington (New Zealand). There will also be short countrings at other locations in Manhattan. Click here for details.
The event is being streamed online with videos of those counting the money and short interviews, so that you can follow the counting even if you can’t join us in New York or at one of the other locations.
Help Us Count the Nuclear Money in New York: October 24-30 2019
Richard Paul / Project to Save the World
One trillion dollars is being spent to modernize nuclear arsenals over the next 10 years. This money could instead be used to help end poverty, protect the climate, build global peace and achieve the sustainable development goals.
Help us move the nuclear weapons money to better purposes! Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign is promoting nuclear weapons divestment. Partner organizations hold similar campaigns on divestment from fossil fuels and conventional weapons industries.
The anti-nuclear weapons campaign has been boosted by the UN Global Compact adding nuclear weapons to its list of excluded investments, and the UN Human Rights Committee adopting General Comment 36, which affirms that the threat or use of nuclear weapons violates the Right to Life.
Activists are also referring to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (‘Ban Treaty’) and the International Court of Justice 1996 nuclear weapons case to convince their cities, universities, governments, pension funds and banks to end their investments in nuclear weapons.
While governments meet at the United Nations for United Nations Disarmament Week and the UN General Assembly, Oct 24-30, 2019, we’re going to count the money by hand — $100 million per minute in $1 million dollar notes, in front of the United Nations and at other publicly visible places in New York City. Counting will take seven days and nights. You can help! Join a team of two to count for half an hour or more. Teams will include people of all ages, nations, backgrounds; celebrities, activists, politicians, UN officials, diplomats, artists, religious leaders, sportspeople, refugees and others.
Here are links to a few other like-minded projects:
World BEYOND War’s Campaign to Divest from the War Machine:
Don’t Bank on the Bomb
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee
Contact: Parliamentarians Network for Nuclear Disarmament
How Much Is a Trillion Dollars?
And why the world shouldn’t spend it on nuclear weapons
Headline photo: Ronja Jansen and Kristýna Chyňavová count the money during a smaller Counting the Nuclear Weapons Money action in Basel in January 2019. Courtesy, Basel Peace Office.
(September 8, 2019) — How much is a trillion dollars? An unimaginable amount? Uncountable?
Not the latter. That’s exactly how much money will be counted out, in front of the United Nations in October. It will take seven days and seven nights to count it all. (And you can help count it).
Why one trillion? That is the staggering amount of money that the world’s nuclear armed countries plan to spend on the nuclear arms race over the next ten years. The action is an offshoot of the campaign — Move the nuclear weapons money — and is designed to let the world know just how obscene a number that is. And all the far better things that money could be spent on.
A version of the bank notes to be counted envisions better use of one trillion dollars. (Image courtesy of Counting the Nuclear Weapons Money)
“Those manufacturing the nuclear weapons will make a killing,” say the action’s organizers. “But everyone else suffers. Imagine how this money could help reverse climate change, fund sustainable development goals, and support peace, education, health and welfare.”
Indeed, as the campaign handbook states: “Most of the nuclear weapons money goes to private companies which are awarded contracts to manufacture, modernize and maintain nuclear weapons and their delivery vehicles. For these companies, the bloated budgets are in their interests.
Indeed, the companies actively lobby their parliaments and governments to continue allocating the funds to nuclear weapons. And they support think tanks and other public initiatives to promote the ‘need’ for nuclear weapons maintenance, modernization or expansion.”
Who are those companies. NuclearBan.US and others keep track. Top offenders are Boeing, Honeywell International, Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman. But there are others listed. Seventeen of them are U.S. based.
Move the Nuclear Weapons Money calls for divestment, and this includes the banks. A new edition of Don’t Bank on the Bomb — Producing Mass Destruction — was released in June 2019, and shows how the private sector is involved in making nuclear weapons.
The Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign website lists where else that money could be spent. At the top of the list are:
• $280 billion feeding all 780 million malnourished people in the world for ten years.
• $200 billion building 2-100 million houses.
• $100 billion building 400-400,000 hospitals or clinics.
Even on the low end, huge changes could happen. Rounding out the same list are:
• $8 billion planting and growing 20 billion trees in Africa.
• $8 billion eliminating malaria in 10 years saving half a million lives per year.
• $5 billion, providing one million fresh water wells in Africa.
And yes, climate change remedies are in the calculations as well, with billions for solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars.
Enough for everyone, and a far more certain way of securing peace in the world than clinging onto nuclear weapons and their myth of deterrence. Because no, contrary to illogical claims that all this obscene spending on nuclear weapons has led to a more peaceful world, that isn’t actually the case. As Serge Stroobants, Director of European Operations at the European Institute for Economics and Peace illustrated during his presentation at the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money conference in Basel, Switzerland this past April, violence globally has increased and is costly.
To bring all this spending down to a (slightly) more relatable scale, take a look at the UK government’s plans to replace its Trident nuclear missile-carrying submarines. As the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, which has campaigned vigorously against this policy since its inception, states:
“The government is in favour of replacing Trident at a cost of at least £205 billion ($258 billion USD). This money would be enough to improve the National Health Service by building 120 state of the art hospitals and employing 150,000 new nurses, build 3 million affordable homes, install solar panels in every home in the UK or pay the tuition fees for 8 million students.”
The counting will take place October 24-30, 2019, also United Nations Disarmament Week, outside the UN in New York City and at other venues around the city. Campaigners will count “$100 million per minute in $1 million dollar notes.” The event will be live streamed.
The notes themselves, fakes of course, will be designed by artists from around the world.
The more ominous side of the One Million Dollar note. (Image courtesy of Count the Nuclear Money)
The Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign was launched in October 2016 by the Basel Peace Office, International Peace Bureau, World Future Council and Parliamentarians for Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. It now includes a number of other organizations and networks including the Global Security Institute, UNFOLD ZERO, World Federalist Movement and the Abolition 2000 Working Group on Economic Dimensions of Nuclearism.
The campaign works in close cooperation with the 350.org Go Fossil Free divestment campaign and the Global Campaign on Military Spending. It lists its goals as: cut nuclear weapons budgets; encourage divestment from companies manufacturing nuclear weapons and their delivery systems; and reallocate these budgets and investments to meet economic, social and environmental need – such as ending poverty, protecting the climate, supporting renewable energy, creating jobs, and providing adequate healthcare, housing and education for all.
Among those endorsing the campaign are Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters who said: “It is our choice. We can either spend the millions and millions of dollars on nuclear weapons and MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – or on our future, the planet, kids, education, equality. This is what Move the Nuclear Weapons Money is about.”
$13 Billion of Public Money to be Counted for Peace at New Mexico Nuclear Weapons Facilities
(October 23, 2019) — During United Nations Disarmament week (Oct 24-30, 2019), citizens of New Mexico (USA) will visit some of the facilities and administrative centers in their state that are involved in the nuclear weapons industry, and will count out nearly $13 billion in mock money. This is roughly the amount of money proposed for investment over the next ten years for expanded plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico.
The State hosts a number of nuclear weapons facilities including LANL in Los Alamos which undertakes nuclear weapons research, design, and development; Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) in Albuquerque which undertakes systems engineering of nuclear weapons and research, design, and development of non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons; and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) where plutonium-contaminated wastes generated by the nuclear weapons complex are disposed. New Mexico is also the State where the first nuclear weapons test was undertaken – at the Trinity Test Site on July 16, 1945 — near Socorro.
The citizens will count the money in 13,000 mock bills of one million dollar face value, and symbolically reallocate this to peace, climate protection, poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
The action will highlight, in particular, the connections between nuclear disarmament and reversing climate change. ‘Many Americans and especially climate protectors are starting to make the cause and effect connection of the corporate military-industrial complex to climate destruction,’ says Suzie Schwartz, representing Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures. ‘Billions of taxpayer money are being directed toward nuclear armaments that could instead be reallocated to climate protection, just transitions, and sustainable development goals rather than the threat of nuclear annihilation.’
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) who are organizing the action, are being joined in the money counting action by climate activists including from Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA). ‘While all members of the human species are under threat from the constantly growing danger of the climate crisis, our government is using their money and resources to make weapons,’ says Artemisio Romero y Carver, YUCCA Steering Committee Member. ‘Instead of spending billions of dollars on death and destruction, we should be using those funds to address critical social needs in our communities, build economic vitality & family-supporting jobs that people can be proud to hold, & facilitate a just transition to a fossil-fuel and nuclear-free energy future.’
The counting will take place at four locations in New Mexico:
- Taos Plaza, Taos (Thursday Oct 24: 3pm-5pm), the opening public event;
- State Capital Roundhouse. Santa Fe, (Friday Oct 25: 12noon-2pm) organized with Fridays for Future and Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA) to bring attention to the two existential threats – the climate crisis and nuclear weapons – and where they will present a letter to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.
- Socorro Plaza Gazebo. Socorro, (Saturday Oct 26: 2pm-4pm) just before the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium Candlelight Vigil to acknowledge those harmed by overexposure to radiation from the July 16, 1945 Trinity atomic bomb test.
- Los Alamos New Mexico (Monday Oct 28. 2:30 to 4:30 pm) to oppose, in particular, the production at the Los Alamos National Laboratory of plutonium triggers (or “pits”) for new nuclear weapons, and the proposed $13 billion investment in the nuclear weapons complex.
The action coincides with an international event in New York city where peace, climate and social justice activists will count out $1trillion in one million mock notes each of $1million face value, representing the global nuclear weapons budget for the next ten years.
The money counting event will be launched at a press conference at the United Nations on UN Day (October 24), and then continue non-stop for seven days and seven nights at the Count the Nuclear Weapons Money Hub, a public space in the art gallery district of New York City. See http://www.nuclearweaponsmoney.org/count-the-money/.
For more information contact:
New Mexico actions: Joni Arends, Executive Director, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Phone +1 505 986-1973. firstname.lastname@example.org
New York event: Susanna Choe, Count the Nuclear Weapons Money core team member. +1 914 227 6845, email@example.com or Alyn Ware, Count the Nuclear Weapons Money core team member + 1 929 216 3653, firstname.lastname@example.org
Help Cut Nuclear Weapons Budgets
• Encourage your parliaments to adopt parliamentary resolutions similar to the Bangladesh parliament resolution calling on a reduction in nuclear weapons spending to help fund the Sustainable Development Goals;
• Call on the Security Council to hold a special session on implementation of Article 26 of the UN Charter, which obliges the Council to adopt a disarmament plan in order to release resources for economic and social need.
• Invite your religious leader, mayor and/or parliamentarian to endorse ‘A Nuclear-Weapon-Free World: Our Common Good’ which calls on governments to reallocate the $100 billion annual nuclear weapons budget to instead help reverse climate change, eliminate poverty and address other social and economic needs;
• Take action during the Global Days of Action on Military Spending to highlight nuclear weapons budgets and promote the Move the Nuclear Weapons Money campaign.
• Sign the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament petition to cancel the replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.
ª Call on your legislator to support the Smarter Approach to Nuclear Expenditure (SANE) Act, introduced into the U.S. Senate by Senator Ed Markey and into the Senate and into the U.S. House of Reps by Congressman Earl Blumenauer.
All Nuclear-armed States
• Call on your government to reduce their nuclear-weapons budgets and reallocate these funds to economic, environmental and social need.