At least 75 per cent of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground to avoid catastrophic climate change, but not only are fossil fuel companies committed to burning all of those reserves, they're spending billions searching for more. Wrecking the climate in exchange for money is officially the worst business model. Truck Nutz, you’re off the hook.
Every time we read another bowel-loosening article on climate change it's easy to feel powerless because fossil fuel companies are so deeply entrenched in our economy and politics. But one way people are pushing back is divestment. If institutions remove their investments from fossil fuel companies, it sends the industry a message in a language it understands -- money -- that its business model is no longer acceptable. We don’t like you anymore. You’re losers.
And if you're an institution that claims to serve the public interest, it's immoral for you to invest in fossil fuels. It's not in the public interest to wreck the climate, so you shouldn't be profiting from that wreckage. The goal isn't to bankrupt fossil fuel companies, it's to disgrace them. And as with tobacco companies, the eventual goal is to force them to pay for some of the damage they’ve caused.
Tens of billions of dollars have already been divested by colleges and universities, churches, charities, cities, and others. But Canada -- shockingly -- is lagging. In fact, no Canadian university has fully divested. But it just so happens that I have degrees from two of those universities.
So to Dalhousie President Richard Florizone. You announced last fall that Dalhousie wouldn't divest, citing your "fiduciary duty to generate reasonable risk adjusted returns." If you want to generate reasonable returns for a living, go work at a bank. Your job is to prepare students for the future, so you need to stop profiting from an industry that is actively working to make that future uninhabitable.
I've started a petition for alumni. The signatories commit to withholding any donations to Dalhousie until you commit to divest. And further, if there's no change to your position, this fall I'm going to rip up my degree on camera and I invite others to join me.
I've started a similar petition for Queen’s alumni. To Queen's Principal Daniel Woolf. You signed a Climate Change Statement of Action recognizing that Queen's has an "obligation to demonstrate leadership in areas of community, national and global importance."
Now's your chance to demonstrate that leadership. Queen's has formed an advisory committee that's currently deliberating on divestment and they'll announce their opinion in the fall. If at that time you choose to side with the fossil fuel industry, I'm throwing a degree-ripping party and you won't be invited.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.