Fossil fuel divestment campaign spreads to over 100 campuses

Wow! We launched this new fossil fuel divestment campaign this November 7 and in less than a month campaigns have sprung up on over 100 colleges and universities across the country. From big schools like the University of Michigan to small liberal arts colleges like Amherst, the idea of divestment is spreading like wildfire.

It’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on across the country, but here are a few updates from the growing movement. Earlier this month, Unity College in Maine became the first in the nation to meet our demands and fully divest from fossil fuels (Hampshire College in Massachusetts has also passed a sustainable investment policy that effectively divests them from fossil fuels). At Harvard, a student resolution supporting divestment just passed with 72% of the vote and students are now pushing to meet with President Faust about divestment. Just north, UNH students will be delivering 1,000 signatures to their president today to call for a meeting on divestment (they’re already getting AP coverage for the action). Down the coast, at Brown, students are also rallying to today to push their administration to divest from coal.

Students share information about the divestment campaign at a Do The Math tour stop. 

Over in the midwest, students are calling on the Badgers to divest and just published an editorial in the University of Wisconsin’s campus newspaper (more editorials are popping up across the country, like this one from Cornell). At University of Colorado in Boulder, students are preparing for a big Do The Math tour stop next week. And out in California, the five Claremont colleges have banded together to push for divestment across the system. Not to be outdone, the University of California schools are also hard at work, joining with our partners at the California Student Sustainability Coalition to push for divestment.

Continue reading ‘Fossil fuel divestment campaign spreads to over 100 campuses’

Big Keystone XL Protest Planned for Today, November 18

Thousands of people are descending on Washington, DC this morning for a big demonstration against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. The protest, the first demonstration at the White House since Obama’s re-election, should send a clear message to the administration and Big Oil: opposition to Keystone XL isn’t going away, it’s only getting stronger.

Photo credit: Josh Lopez 

It’s been over a year since 15,000 people surrounded the White House to push President Obama to live up to his promises to “end the tyranny of oil” and help “heal the planet.” Three days after that demonstration, the administration announced that they would be delaying a permit for the northern leg of the pipeline due to environmental concerns. A few months later, under immense pressure from the fossil fuel industry, President Obama made a symbolic concession to Big Oil, ordering government agencies to expedite the southern leg of Keystone XL.  Continue reading ‘Big Keystone XL Protest Planned for Today, November 18′

Youth & Civil Society Stage Walkout of Rio+20

Condemning the failed Rio process as “the future corporations bought,” a group of young people and civil society groups are about to walk out of the conference center, handing in their badges on the way out. Earlier this afternoon, hundreds of people flooded the negotiating halls to hold a “people’s assembly.”

“This is the real United Nations,” declared Sierra Student Club director Quentin James to a cheering crowd.

The walkout is about to begin, but we’ll post more updates soon!

 

Momentum Builds for Rio+20 #EndFossilFuelSubsidies “Twitterstorm”

It’s another sunny day in Rio de Janeiro, but a storm is brewing. As delegates from around the world fly into town for the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the largest environmental gathering in world history, 350.org is teaming up with over a dozen environmental groups for a major “Twitterstorm,” a 24-hour push beginning on June 18 to get as many tweets as possible for the hashtag #endfossilfuelsubsidies.

Every year, governments around the world give nearly $1 trillion in handouts and tax-breaks to the fossil fuel industry instead of using the money for sustainable development, clean energy initiatives, reducing the deficit, or any number of better initiatives. Three years ago, the G20 countries committed to ending these subsidies but there has been no action since.

The #EndFossilFuelSubsidies twitter storm is timed to coincide with this year’s G20 meeting which will begin in Los Cabos, Mexico on Monday. Two days later, over a hundred heads of state will join 50,000 people at the Rio+20 Earth Summit. The synchronicity of the meetings provides the perfect opportunity for world leaders to put their money where their mouths are and provide a clear plan to cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

Engineering the twitterstorm has taken the combined efforts of over a dozen environmental groups and numerous other partners. Advocates are busy lining up a list of celebrities – from Robert Redford to Leonardo DiCaprio – to blog and tweet about the push. Over 2,500 have joined a special Facebook event to form a “Twitter Team” that will drive the push and actively target decision makers, as well as key influencers online. The homepage for the storm features graphics that supporters can use to replace their standard avatar photo.

Continue reading ‘Momentum Builds for Rio+20 #EndFossilFuelSubsidies “Twitterstorm”’

Re-wiring Rio+20 (and the World)

World leaders are busy this week trying to downplay expectations for the upcoming Rio+20 Earth Summit. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has been fretting about a lack of consensus on a draft text for weeks. On Monday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said he’d be skipping the meeting. While the White House hasn’t made an official statement either way, it’s highly unlikely President Obama will jet off to Rio in the heat of the election (even more so now that he’s announced Hillary Clinton will be headed down to Brazil).

Which is all bad news for the planet. The political heat the President would get from Republicans is nothing compared to the physical heat from, say, the fires ravaging New Mexico and Colorado right now, or the heat-wave that broke 15,000 temperature records across the United States this March.

Watching the world over the last twelve months has been like watching an old car overheat: things break, systems malfunction, there is often fire. And while it’s tempting to label the planet a lemon and trade in for an upgrade, it looks like we’re going to be stuck with our current vehicle for the foreseeable future. Which means that we’re going to have to do our best to fix it up, converting our gas-run beater into a sleek, new electric vehicle.

While most of the people headed down to Rio+20 this month are focused on how we’re going to power our converted planet – what combination of solar, wind, and other renewables will keep the engine humming – another group of conference-goers are focused on fixing up another part of the machine: the wiring.
Continue reading ‘Re-wiring Rio+20 (and the World)’

Climate Impacts Day “Connects the Dots” Between Extreme Weather & Climate Change

Striking images and video are beginning to stream in from over 1,000 events in more than 100 countries where people are “connecting the dots” between climate change and extreme weather. The events are part of a global effort called “Climate Impacts Day” organized by the international climate campaign 350.org.

Over then next 24 hours, our crew at 350.org is going to be working hard to compile these images and get them out to the public and press. As Bill McKibben wrote yesterday, It’s time for each of us to get involved in the full-on fight between misinformation and truth.”

Continue reading ‘Climate Impacts Day “Connects the Dots” Between Extreme Weather & Climate Change’

Is Arch Coal About to Mine Historic Blair Mountain?

In 2011, we saw the power every day people can have when we work together to stop a devastating project like the Keystone XL pipeline. But Keystone XL isn’t the only major fossil fuel project that the industry is pushing. From building a major new coal plant in Kosovo to fracking in the north-eastern United States, the fossil fuel industry is going to any length to keep this dirty energy economy going.

One of the biggest fights here in the US is over mountaintop removal — the dangerous form of coal mining that involves literally blowing off the top of mountains to get at the coal underneath. Blair Mountain in West Virginia has become ground zero for the struggle to end mountaintop removal — a Keystone XL style symbol of an industry run amok.

We just got the press release below from our allies at Friends of Blair Mountain, the Sierra Club, the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and others who are working to save this important national treasure. According to some reports on the ground, it seems like Blair might be under threat once again (for a detailed look at all the different news coming out, check out this article by Ken Ward). Please take a minute to read about the latest threat to the mountain and share it with your friends to help spread the word:

No surprise: US Chamber Pushes Keystone XL Scam

In news that will surprise just about no one, US Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donahue hosted a press conference today where he offered full-throated support for the Keystone XL pipeline, that 1,700 mile Big Oil scam that would take tar sands oil from Canada down to the Gulf Coast of Mexico. Over the last few weeks, Keystone XL has become a major political fight as Congress and Big Oil (now there are two popular institutions) have tried to slam the project down the American people’s throats, despite the fact that President Obama already delayed the project for at least a year over environmental and safety concerns.

In his speech this morning, Donahue said:

“There is no legitimate reason, none at all, to subject it to further delay,” Donohue said in his annual address on the state of business and the economy. “Real leaders understand that Americans can have big differences in philosophy but still find common ground. They wouldn’t tell us that solutions have to wait until after the election.”

No, Tom, real leaders stand up to Big Oil and protect the American people from scams like Keystone XL, a fuse to the “largest carbon bomb in North America,” the Canadian tar sands. But it’s no surprise, I guess, that the US Chamber of Commerce isn’t concerned about the climate or the interests of everyday Americans. As Bill McKibben wrote this morning,

“The US Chamber of Commerce, two years ago, filed a legal brief arguing that if the planet warmed humans could alter their physiology’ to cope with the heat. So I guess there’s no reason for them to worry about the climate impacts of opening up the second-biggest pool of carbon on the planet. For those of us who plan to keep our current anatomy, however, their assault on basic environmental review is one more sign they’re nothing but a front for the fossil fuel lobby.”

It’s no real surprise that the Chamber of Commerce is pushing Keystone XL, but it does help clarify what we’ve been saying all along: this pipeline is a scam and the only reason politicians are pushing it is because they’re on the payroll of Big Oil and front groups like the US Chamber.

Keystone XL Victory Will Help Stop the Tar Sands

These days, it’s easier to kill pipelines than “conventional wisdom.”

In a news analysis published today, the New York Times concludes that while the tax bill provision on Keystone XL will likely kill the project, the victory will do little to stop future pipelines, stall tar sands development, or slow down global warming. After all, the world needs energy, the tar sands have it, and therefore, they’re going to be developed, atmosphere be damned.

It’s a compelling argument that’s been made over and over again during the fight against Keystone XL. Here’s why it’s wrong.

Time and again, public opposition has stopped things that made “economic” sense. That’s every mile of the Colorado isn’t dammed, why we haven’t cut down every last inch of Brazilian rainforest, or, to pull from another time period, why the British Empire finally abolished the slave trade even though it was great economics. As it turns out, there are other forces in the world than supply and demand. Just because morality is hard to quantify, doesn’t mean it can’t change history now and then.

As political opposition to the tar sands grows, it’s going to be nearly impossible for oil companies to build the pipelines they need to get tar sands oil out of landlocked Alberta. You thought the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline was contentious? Just check out the struggle over the Enbridge Northern Gateway, a pipeline that was slated to be built from the tar sands out to the coast of British Columbia. Thanks to the opposition from indigenous communities along the entire pipeline route and people up and down the coast, the Canadian government has been forced to stall the project for yet another year of environmental review. The delay, along with the news on Keystone, has fired up the anti-tar sands movement even more. When Goliath teeters, David puts another stone in the sling-shot. Continue reading ‘Keystone XL Victory Will Help Stop the Tar Sands’

Keystone Cop: Clayton Thomas-Muller

Take a look at this incredible video of indigenous activist Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network, one of the leaders of the growing movement to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and shut down the tar sands. 


jamiehenn


Jamie is the co-coordinator of 350.org, an international global warming campaign. A recent college graduate, he lives in San Francisco, CA. In 2007, he co-organized Step It Up, a campaign that pulled together over 2,000 climate rallies across the United States to push for strong climate action at the federal level. He's also an early member of the youth climate movement, leading one of Energy Action's first campaigns in 2005: Road to Detroit, a nationwide veggie-oil bus tour to promote sustainable transportation. He's traveled to Montreal and Bali to lobby the UN with youth, but he's a strong believer that change happens in the streets not in meetings. Jamie received the Morris K. Udall award in 2007 and has been recognized by the mighty state of Vermont for his work on climate change. You can also find him blogging at Campus Progress' "Pushback," Changents.com, and 350.org.

Community Picks