As you may have heard, Bill McKibben of 350.org has been traveling the country on what he calls his “Do the Math tour”. The goal, as McKibben puts it, is “to jumpstart a new movement…that will change the terrifying math of the climate crisis.” The means by which McKibben et al. hope to achieve their goal are simple but powerful: “cut off the [fossil fuel] industry’s financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels.” In other words, defund the fossil fuel industry.
With that in mind, there’s a website dedicated to petitioning your college or university to “immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.” By doing so, we all send a powerful message, voting with our wallets, that it’s not acceptable for fossil fuel companies to keep trashing our planet – the only one we’ve got – for any reason, let alone in the name of massive profits for themselves.
So, time to pressure your college or university to divest, just like the anti-apartheid divestment movement did, but in this case for an even more important cause: the future of life on our planet. You can see a list of colleges with active divestment campaigns here. In Virginia, I see George Mason University (go Patriots!), James Madison University (go Dukes!) and Virginia Tech (go Hokies!), as well as the College of William and Mary (go Tribe!). Great going by students on those campuses.
Now, it’s time for a few other Virginia colleges and universities to step up to the challenge of their generation, and all generations, by joining this movement. So, how about it: University of Virginia; Old Dominion University; Virginia Commonwealth University; Radford University; Norfolk State University; Christopher Newport University; Virginia Military Institute; Roanoke College; Shenandoah University; etc? You’re not going to let those other colleges and universities beat you on this, now are you? Good, didn’t think so. So please click here to read the latest from Bill McKibben, then here to start a petition on your campus. And good luck!
P.S. If you had any doubt as to the urgency of this crisis, see Science Stunner: Greenland Ice Melt Up Nearly Five-Fold Since Mid-1990s, Antartica’s Ice Loss Up 50% In Past Decade. It’s far worse than anyone had thought, even a few years ago. So much for the crazy (and/or bought-and-paid-for) “deniers” and “skeptics.”