In the shadow left by the attacks on Lebanon, Paris, and Iraq, hundreds met this past Saturday for a Massachusetts Peace Action conference to discuss building sustainable security. Various panels, which included speakers such as Noam Chomsky, Chung-Wha Hong, and Jamie Eldrige, explored the current socio-economic and political landscape in search of meaning and feasible goals we could all work towards. The conference also broke into two segments of international and domestic workshops, considering issues like the climate crisis and movements such as Build Housing Not Bombs and Black Lives Matter.
The Future of Life Institute was represented at an international workshop that focused on new initiatives toward nuclear disarmament. Other organizations, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, Global Zero, and Pax Christi, discussed their own efforts and findings in the area of nuclear weapons. A central theme of the workshop was the need for America and Russia to take their nuclear weapons off of hair-trigger alert. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, there have been at least 13 nuclear close calls due to human, radar, and sensor fallibility. As time goes on and nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, the likelihood of an accidental all-out nuclear war continues to rise.
The Future of Life Institute also presented its own research and efforts regarding divestment from the production of new nuclear weapons. FLI is currently working on Pax Christi’s Don’t Bank on the Bomb project, which seeks to stigmatize investment in nuclear weapons from a policy-neutral point of view. While nuclear weapons have largely fallen out of the public’s consciousness, the 2015 report from the Don’t Bank on the Bomb project found that 382 large financial institutions are investing $493 billion USD in companies that produce nuclear weapons. In light of the persisting threat of nuclear weapons, we have completed research on several institutions in the Boston area and are beginning to move from research to advocacy. Our current efforts are focused on universities, banks, and local governments, such as Harvard University, JP Morgan Chase, and Fidelity Investments. If you live in the Boston area and are interested in taking part in our nuclear divestment project, please apply here.