Dear Lockheed Martin,
As a concerned citizen of Burlington, VT I feel obligated to let you know that the overwhelming majority of residents here seem strongly opposed to the proposed partnership between Lockheed Martin and the city of Burlington to address the impeding threat of climate change. Surprisingly, many people aren't opposed to the idea solely because you happen to be one of the world's largest arms manufacturers, but mainly because you don't seem to have much of a proven track record when it comes to addressing climate change. You see, here in Burlington we really pride ourselves on the notable efforts we've already made to reduce carbon emissions and develop sustainable communities, and we're rather reluctant to invite anyone into our town who doesn't already have a wealth of experience doing the same, regardless of their net worth. Otherwise what's the point, right?
Perhaps you've heard of climate change expert Bill McKibben. In a recent Burlington Free Press article McKibben says of Lockheed, "The fear that they could be just greenwashing is real -- for instance, these guys belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has opposed every single good idea on energy and climate for decades; to me, that's a sign they're willing to make money on climate, but still work in Washington to prevent meaningful progress." This is your big chance to prove otherwise.
McKibben's NGO 350.org. It's an international non-profit dedicated to stopping climate change. 350 just launched a new campaign 'The U.S. Chamber Doesn't Speak For Me' to "show that when it comes to climate and energy, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of big polluters, not everyday American business." According to a recent New York Times article, ("Justices Offer Receptive Ear to Business Interests" 12/18/10),"[The Chamber of Commerce] board includes executives from some of the nation's biggest companies, including Lockheed Martin." The Chamber of Commerce filed a brief in a Supreme Court case stating, a suit by eight states against power companies over carbon dioxide emissions, 'has potentially disastrous implications for the U.S. business community."
The New York Times article links to the Supreme Court brief (American Electric Power Company Inc., et al. v. State of Connecticut, et al.) which shows the lengths the Chamber of Commerce and its corporate partners, including Lockheed, will go to block carbon reductions.The brief implies that the states’ efforts to regulate C02 emissions are “ill-conceived policies and measures which could damage the economic security of the United States.” It belittles the states’ earnest litigation to address the climate crisis as an example of “nuisance suits,” which are “an especially ill-conceived and constitutionally illegitimate response." Like Mom always said, "you'll be judged by the company you keep." Right?
So we have thought of a great way you could prove your commitment to addressing climate change to the citizens of Burlington so someone other than Mayor Kiss might be a little more supportive of this proposed partnership. Would you be willing quit the US Chamber of Commerce and prove to us you really are committed to addressing the climate crisis? You see, like McKibben says, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has maintained a hard-line opposition to any legislation addressing the climate issue, so it's very hard to take anyone seriously who says that they want to address this issue while maintaining their involvement with them. You wouldn't be the first corporation do to so either! Apple, Nike, and Johnson & Johnson have all quit the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for this very reason! Even utility companies such as Exelon, Pacific Gas & Electric, and PNM Resources resigned from the Chamber over its environmental policy. Won't you be the next brave corporation to show your commitment to addressing climate change by quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce? It sure would help the citizens of Burlington take your proposal a little more seriously...
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Anna Guyton, Peace & Justice Center Program Manager
Joe Solomon, 350.org
Jenna Whitson, 350.org
David Stember, 350.org
Page Atcheson 350.org
Jonathan Leavitt, Journalist and Community Organizer
Will Bennington, Farmer and Community Organizer
Laurie Essig Phd.
Liza Cowan, Director, Pine Street Art Works
Danielle Bombardier, Community Organizer