Monday, 4 November 2013

Divestment Campaign

Last week I was at Birmingham University for the Fossil Free Tour - put together by, People and Planet and Operation Noah. The Fossil Free Tour is travelling the world spreading the word to divest from fossil free companies.

I went for a few reasons,

- I went because of the recent decision by Quakers in Britain to divest from fossil fuels.

- I went because to be honest, I hadn't been to an event of this kind for a while and I wanted to hear more about the campaign and to see who else was there.

- I went because I wanted to be inspired.

Bill Mckibben was the draw, the headline speaker, the inspiration. He spoke about the international campaign to divest from fossil fuels. He spoke about 'doing the math'. That the share prices of fossil fuel companies are based on fuel that should never, can never be allowed to be extracted. To extract this fuel goes against even the most conservative of estimates.

Bill Mckibben's words describe it far more eloquently.

'The divestment campaign is based on the belief that if we are to stay below 2°C of warming, we cannot emit more than 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide in the future. Fossil fuel companies have more than five times that amount in coal, oil and gas reserves.'

A short trailer has been produced which can be seen here  Bill Mckibben - Do the Math

What we need, Bill Mckibben said, was Energy Companies - not Fossil Fuel companies. And to this end we must divest, take away their financial and political power. As a Quaker I could feel the saying 'Speak Truth to Power' singing through my veins. He spoke about those who have already taken this step and as he mentioned Quakers in Britain - it felt to me like we were beginning to live up to our commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community. Bill McKibben said Quakers in Britain 'had put their money where their mouths are' I hope others will divest and that this campaign continues to build momentum.

He showed a number of images during the presentation, these are the two that have stayed with me. These photos are from the 350 flickr photostream. (Join the Dots)
This first picture from Haiti was one that Bill McKibben made special mention to. The words on the paper say 'Your actions affect me'  He repeated these words 'Your actions affect me'.

I can only hope that these words come true for the Divestment campaign. I hope our actions affect the Fossil Fuel companies.

We must remember this is not the first time divestment has been used, and we were reminded of these examples on the night. From groups who have divested to make a difference, and they did! (Join the Dots)
This second image is the one I can't stop thinking about, and its because just as it came on screen, Bill Mckibben said something like, 'you'd have thought they have other things on their minds'. I think that statement could be true for everyone. I am lucky in my personal circumstances however I still manage to fill my mind with all sorts of worries and thoughts but the dangers of climate change are ever present, I am constantly thinking about the future of our planet and of humanity. This campaign provides a focus, an opportunity for an effective international campaign. We must all take responsibility for our own lives and actions - but we must also speak truth to power. This is one way to do just that!

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