New Orleans ranges for 20 feet above sea level to 6.5 feet below sea level. To the north of the city sits a massive body of water called Lake Pontchatrain. Coiling around the city enveloping New Orleans like a snake is the powerful Mississippi river. New Orleans is surrounded by water, all roads lead to it—water is inescapable in this city. Indeed in this week of heavy rains, it seemed like the sea was coming for us, inundating our sidewalks and drenching all those brave enough to leave the comforts of inside. Sitting inside Gibson Hall watching people enter soaked, yet excited to join the sit-in at Tulane University, I couldn't help but note that we were being treated to a preview of the inundated future facing New Orleans.
Fun fact: during my two senior years of college (yes, five years total), I volunteered over 1,000 hours to the Divestment Student Network. Sound wild to you? Yeah, I thought so too. But I loved it. I had a good job working in the office of my department at school and got grants from the government to pay for my tuition. So, as I was approaching graduation, my mentor asked me what my plan was. I told him I was applying to work for other organizations. He asked me why and I told him I wanted to work for the DSN but I needed to make a living and the DSN didn’t have any money. Then he asked me a question that made me pause… He asked me if I believed my work was worth funding.
On Wednesday, June 17th, nine Black people were killed by a white gunman in the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Nature recently ran an editorial on fossil fuel divestment. It’s an interesting piece for two reasons. First, it presents the beliefs of an elite and highly educated group of people. Second, it is very confused.
It was 6:30 am when my alarm rang for the third time. I finally remembered why I needed to get up. It was Saturday morning and we were letting our board of trustees know that there was only one (one!) company in our directly invested in the Top 200 Fossil Fuel Companies.
I came to Northwestern University excited to become that cliché "global citizen"; to learn about the world, to meet people from places I had never been to, and to find new passions. Like many students, I wanted to get something out of my college experience besides just a degree. My time at Northwestern has really broadened my mind, exposing me to problems of race, mental health, socioeconomic status and other critical issues that I hadn't previously encountered. I've found my biggest passion in environmental and climate justice work, particularly in the coal divestment campaign on campus, Fossil Free NU. Students in this movement are incredibly committed to improving the world, and they never cease to inspire me. I'm equally amazed by the determination of our university leaders: their determination to remain stagnant, to lag behind the times and to uphold the status quo. They leave me unimpressed.
SEATTLE, WA – This week on May 14th the University of Washington Board of Regents will vote on coal divestment. On that day the commons near Gerberding Hall will be filled with the voices of students, the meeting room will be packed with activists all asking, “Whose side are you on?” It has been two plus hard years of campaigning and working, drafting resolutions and writing speeches, making progress and being “forgotten” since Divest UW has started. But all that work has finally led us to this point. We are being heard.
What does institutional power really look like? As student divestment activists we lobby our colleges to get them to activate their institutional leverage on behalf of people and planet, but when do we get a glimpse of this force? I believe I caught a peak last Friday. On that day at noon, 272 Whitman College students, faculty, and alums took seats on the well-carpeted floor of Memorial Hall. On the mezzanine outside of conference room 321 where the Trustees had been seated in leather office chairs, the group settled in for their hour-long occupation. These 272 of all different sizes persuasions, sitting close together in this gilded hall (right beneath our campus’s ivory-white clock tower I kid you not) were to me a breathing portrait of an institution mobilized, and a constituency ready to act together.
Fossil Free CU-Boulder Ends Their Occupation for Fossil Fuel Divestment with a Civil Disobedience Training
DENVER, CO -- On Thursday, April 16, organizers with Fossil Free CU had their fourth meeting with the Board of Regents this school year. A majority of the student supporters were at CU-Boulder occupying Norlin Quad celebrating the end to their 3-day, 2-night occupation with a civil disobedience training.