Dear Fellow Climate Justice Organizers,
My name is Nathan Malachowski, and I am an alum of Allegheny College Class of 2014. Now I am a community organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement working to block the construction of the proposed Bakken Pipeline, which would threaten Iowa communities and the health and well-being of current and future generations.
When I was a student, myself and fellow organizers kick-started Divest Allegheny, and pushed for fossil fuel divestment at Allegheny College. The fossil fuel industry and college administrators are waiting for the student movement for fossil fuel divestment to fade away, but I am writing to pledge my commitment to this movement for the long haul.
As a senior at Allegheny College, Divest Allegheny was a shining ray of hope. It was my first “campaign” as an organizer, and the promise of winning and holding administrators accountable to our values drove me in the fight. The dissonance between Allegheny’s actions and mission fueled the fire- how dare Allegheny claim to protect the long-term interest of its students while failing to play an active role in the fight for climate justice?
Unfortunately, without adequate training or connection to the fossil fuel divestment movement, the campaign often felt small and inconsequential. Graduating and reconnecting with the Divestment Student Network has proven to me how wrong I was.
As an organizer with Iowa CCI, I find myself going head to head with the fossil fuel industry once again as we organize against the Bakken Pipeline. And now that my work is more focused outside of the university sphere, I see the need for student movements to connect to community organizations like the one I’m a part of. Iowa CCI is fighting the fossil fuel industry from advancing in our communities- students across Iowa are launching efforts to divest from the very same corporate giants. The possibility of building a connected movement that fights the fossil fuel industry on all fronts- from students to landowners in rural Iowa- is what drives me to become the most powerful organizer I can become. We need synergy in our work if we are going to stop the fossil fuel industry and win a just future for all people.
For this reason, I pledge to remain committed to the movement for fossil fuel divestment and continue to organize for climate justice far beyond college graduation. I am dedicated to building the power of our movement over the long-term because injustice is not an investment. I will not graduate out of this movement.
In addition to continuing to organize, I also pledge to withhold donations from Allegheny College until it commits to divestment from the top 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest reserves, in line with the demands of Divest Allegheny.
I take this commitment seriously, and I hope that you will also pledge to fight for the future of current students and of generations to come. Will you join me?
Allegheny College ‘14
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement