Divesting from dirt fuels

Over the past year, American group 350.org has pushed the potentially game-changing strategy of divestment from dirty fuel into the media, local groups, churches, and even governments. 350.org was co-founded by long-time activist Bill McKibben who wrote about climate change nearly 30 years ago.

Over the years, his writing has become more and more obviously disillusioned with people and our odds for survival. His book ‘Eaarth’ tells the tale of the planet being changed permanently already, pointing out that we are already living on a different planet than we were 50 years ago. With that in mind, the question becomes how far are we willing to go to keep from heating the planet to a point where we could no longer exist?

It’s important to note that most big endowments are simply invested in high return or high interest investments. Meaning that they are normally in diversified funds that reap high gains. Numerous college campuses, churches, environmental groups, and even some cities like Seattle, have chosen to take any money they might have invested out of dirty fuels. Local groups here in Australia are urging their members to do the same. As a result, huge sums of money are being taken out of the hands of ‘dirty fuel’ producing companies and re-invested into solid, green investments. When you think of the amount of money a city like Sydney, or Sydney University would have, it makes it really clear what positive effects taking that money out of coal, oil and gas, and putting it into renewables could have.

With the new energy from 350.org (350 being the number of parts per million of carbon dioxide the atmosphere should have at the most) in this divestment campaign, Bill and the 350.org group seem to have hit a positive note. They seem energised and ready to make the changes needed through whatever means necessary. There has been a real upsurge in civil disobedience and activism in America around a major oil pipeline that is being built. Coal exports in Australia, often cause the same problems here. Yet while the problems come from different companies and countries, the solution could be exactly the same.

Bill McKibben will be speaking about this in his ‘Do the Maths’ tour stop in Sydney at the Seymour Centre, Tuesday 4th June at 6pm. After seeing this presentation last month, I can definitely say I feel more motivated now than I have in recent years. Don’t miss this, if you can possibly help it.

For more information on the tour, check out: http://maths.350.org/australia.

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