World BEYOND War June 3, 2019
On the evening of June 3, 2019, the City Council of Charlottesville, Va., voted to divest the funds in its operating budget from weapons dealers and fossil fuel producers. Here's the resolution as passed by the City Council: PDF. The city has also committed to taking the same step with its retirement fund by this coming autumn.
The proposal to do this was brought to the city in March by a coalition of groups called Divest Cville, which attended and spoke at city council meetings (see videos), held rallies, wrote letters, made flyers, bought ads, produced responses to possible objections, met with the City Treasurer, and presented a petition.
David Swanson, Executive Director of World BEYOND War, one of the organizations involved, said that combining weapons with fossil fuels was not just a matter of listing the two worst investments, but was a step intentionally taken to highlight the connections between the two industries.
A major motivation behind some wars is the desire to control resources that poison the earth, especially oil and gas. In fact, the launching of wars by wealthy nations in poor ones does not correlate with human rights violations or lack of democracy or threats of terrorism, but does strongly correlate with the presence of oil.
Divest Cville made the following case:
U.S. 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.
The current federal administration has labeled climate change a hoax, moved to withdraw the U.S. 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.
Militarism is a major contributor to climate change, and the City of Charlottesville had already urged the U.S. Congress to invest less in militarism and more in protecting human and environmental needs.
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.
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;
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.
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.