You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: 350.org’s Global Divestment Day.
The typically on-point Naomi Klein sums up the need for this action quite well:
"Are fossil fuel companies — long toxic to our natural environment — becoming toxic in the public relations environment as well? It seems so.”
Despite science, despite polling, despite even the Pope getting on board with the need to curb climate change — the prevalence of massive piles of money available to legislators, networks, educational institutions, and publishing outlets is keeping projects like the Keystone XL pipeline at the top of to-do lists.
Last month the House of Representatives voted 266 to 153 to pass Keystone and the Senate followed last week with a strong, but not quite veto-proof majority of 62-36. Yes, that means some democrats voted in favor of the pipeline. The president has vowed to veto the project — our friends at the NRDC have a letter on their website you can sign asking him to keep his word — but that doesn’t change the amount of time being wasted on this toxic project. Alternative, renewable energy plans and necessary infrastructure bills languish while fossil fuels remain at the forefront.
It’s clear that the only way to stop the construction of destructive and potentially catastrophic-to-the-climate projects such as Keystone is to make them financially untenable for the billionaire backers. If fossil fuels weren't guaranteed money makers, there wouldn’t be lobbyists pushing legislators to back such a destructive industry; there’d be nothing in it for them.
Enter: Global Divestment Day. The entire world — six continents and dozens of countries — is participating on February 13th and 14th, joining with 350.org to speak en mass to their powerful institutions.
The event info states the simple goal:
"Together, we will show that we are a truly global and growing force to be reckoned with. As the fossil fuel industry throws more money at fossil fuel expansion, we will turn up the volume of our divestment movement. And we won’t stop until we win. Join us for Global Divestment Day on February 13 and 14 and together, let’s make fossil fuels history.”
GoFossilFree.org and 350.org both link to the plans for the event. You can find an action near you, start your own, download the divestment campaigning toolkit — valuable and valid long past the event next week, and find campaigning and petitioning tools. Each region around the world has its own specific resources including a Step-by-Step Guide to Divestment. 350 and their coalition partners have done all the research for you; just click, join and use the tools they’ve made available at your finger tips.
This all should be getting less controversial. Even — to the dismay of the conservative Catholics holding 30% of our Congressional seats — the Pope has gotten increasingly vocal on the disproportionate affect climate change has on the poor and our global responsibility to care for those who are without power and resources.
As detailed by John Abraham at The Guardian, Dr. Michael Naughton, Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas thinks we haven’t heard the last from Pope Francis on climate change — and he’s guaranteeing an anti-capitalism bent to his position:
"Francis will no doubt, in his punchy and prophetic tone, draw our attention to a market system that too often treats the environment like a commodity in what he describes as a 'throw away' culture. As he is never tired of repeating, the poor suffer the most from our ecological crisis. He will confront this 'logic of the market' with a 'logic of gift' that views the earth to be shared with all of humanity — a gift in need of great care and attention.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m here for whatever your motivation might be to get on board with confronting climate change and demanding our institutions divest from supporting fossil fuels. It will take a truly world-wide effort to keep our planet livable for generations to come.
JOIN with 350.org for Global Divestment Day February 13th
Add your name to @NRDC’s letter: “Tell President Obama You Stand Behind His Veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline!”
"US House passes Keystone pipeline bill” at AlJazeera
"Pope Francis plants a flag in the ground on climate change” by Dr. John Abraham at The Guardian
Hear the segment in context:
Episode #895 "Living like the world is ending (Climate)"
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich