Cambridge (Massachusetts, USA) Mayor Denise Simmons announced today that the Cambridge City Council has unanimously decided to divest their city pension fund from nuclear weapons production. This effectively removes US$ 1 billion from possible investment in the companies most heavily involved in producing and upgrading 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 as well).
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.