Fossil Fuel Divestment and the #FossilFree divestment movement is growing in size, stature, and importance.
The impact of climate change is one of the biggest challenges to our and future generations wellbeing. There is also a growing pressure on universities often the source of climate science data to stop fuelling the problem and move towards the future. This comes with the great news that St. Andrews university in Scotland has announced that it is divesting from Fossil Fuels.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to our – and future – generations’ wellbeing. As the true impacts of climate change increasingly come to light, there is a growing collective voice to stop financing the fuel of the past and move towards the technologies of the future. However, as with any changes, there is still a great many who stand to profit from the fossil fuel industries and therefore are holding on to whatever power and influence they have left, whether through legislation, lobbying, influencing governments or otherwise.
This is why one of the most powerful tools of the people that see action on climate change as desperately needed is the FossilFree movement and with this idea the movement is spreading. I recently read this article in the Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/22/leonardo-dicaprio-joins-26tn-fossil-fuel-divestment-movement which illustrates that a coming together of individuals and institutions have lead to a projected 2.6 trillion dollar divestment from fossil fuel businesses. This represents a 50 fold increase on the previous year!
With the rapidly changing climate, mass species extinction and increasing pollution daily urgent changes are needed. So the news of rapidly increasing divestments represents great progress however much more is needed.
Whilst studying at in Uppsala Sweden I was introduced to a visiting professor at Uppsala University and one of the UK’s leading climate scientists Kevin Anderson (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Anderson_%28scientist%29) . He argued, in one of his many lectures, that we as a collective aren’t doing nearly enough to combat climate change and that one big steps needed is for those in the know to take action themselves. There is a strong example to be set by universities themselves (as this is often where new climate science data comes from) to no longer invest their money in industries that their own research shows is a substantial part of the problem.
Therefore, it is great news that St. Andrews has divested their money from a dying and dangerous industry partially responsible for climate change, however, much more is needed. I was part of Fossil Free Uppsala, a group trying to get both universities in Uppsala to divest and I urge you, if you are reading to join the fossil free movement at your own university and encourage them to divest for the sake of future generations too.
and follow the #FossilFree movement on facebook and twitter.