1) The human species faces an unprecedented ecological crisis. Wildlife communities are collapsing,a sources of clean water are being contaminated,b air quality in cities is falling,c and famine threatens tens of millions of people,d all while the climate changes rapidly and unpredictably. Solving this crisis will require cooperation between nations and an extraordinary expenditure of resources.
2) Meanwhile, the world spends its time and money on war. In 2015, governments collectively spent $1.5 trillion on militaries.e The endless drone strikes, proxy wars, and torture, usually of marginalized or indigenous people, make international cooperation impossible.
3) The S.T.E.M. community contributes heavily to the war machine. In addition to civilian scientists who work for defense companies like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon, at least two hundred thousand active duty U.S. military personnel perform science, engineering, and technical roles.f In 2017, America allocated $184 billion of its $583 billion military budget for research, design, and procurement of weapons and equipment.g Without the cooperation of the S.T.E.M. community, drones, nuclear bombs, and fighter jets would not be possible.
4) We can do better. From flying a camera billions of miles to Pluto, to putting a personal computer in everyone's pocket, scientists and engineers continually accomplish amazing feats. What if a significant portion of the S.T.E.M workers in defense instead pursued solutions to the ecological crisis? Not only would we have enough minds to scale up known technology, like clean energy and permaculture, but, through collaboration with other disciplines, we could develop solutions not yet dreamed of.
5) We demand that 90% of the money currently spent on research, design, and procurement for militaries worldwide be instead given directly to the S.T.E.M. community. This reallocation can take many forms, from transferring money to existing institutions, like the National Science Foundation in America, to creating new organizations that allocate the money democratically across nations. As it stands, the demands of war dictate what we research and engineer. It is time we decide for ourselves the best use of our minds.
In order to weaken the military-industrial complex and build leverage for our demand,
we pledge not to work for any military or defense company
World Wildlife Foundation, Zoological Society of London and Global Footprint Network
b Pacific Institute
c World Health Organization
d United Nations
e Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
g Department of Defense: Number $184 billion obtained by summing portions of military budget for "RDT&E" and "Procurement". Doubtless, engineers are also involved in the additional $251 billion spent on "Operation and Maintenance"
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