Activists Celebrate Global Divestment Day with Worldwide Protests

February 13, 2015 | Monty McKeever

Just as this is published, a group of people will begin picketing their way down Wall Street to protest financing of the fossil fuel industry. They are joined in solidarity with hundreds of other protests in 50 countries across the world, all taking part in Global Divestment Day.

Climate activists are urging companies and individuals to divest in energy sources that contribute to climate change. Individuals are encouraged to voice their support for divestment by speaking out, joining local events, and closing accounts with banks and investment funds that are heavily invested in oil and coal. Companies are encouraged to embrace alternative energy and sustainability, or face the wrath of a growing and increasingly motivated climate movement.

Not everyone is on board, though. On Tuesday, the Environmental Policy Alliance, a group led by the widely loathed PR man Rick Berman (the guy New York Times taped telling oil executives that “you have to play dirty to win”) released the video “Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Hard to Do.” It compares fossil fuels to a girlfriend you shouldn’t break up with, because doing so might be inconvenient.

As most activists or relationship experts would point out, if your “girlfriend” is a danger to your children or grandchildren, then you should probably leave her. Just sayin’.

Gofossilfree.com, the website for Global Divestment Day, responded to Berman’s video with the following statement:

This is what the fossil fuel industry is saying about you: that you’re a bunch of big, bad, radicals who want everyone to go hungry in the dark. But we know that’s ridiculous. We know that this movement is pushing for a just, sustainable future for all of us — one where energy is something that helps communities instead of hurting them, and where you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a voice.

Protesters at Harvard got a jump-start on the Global Divestment protest Thursday, and have staged an ongoing sit-in at the school’s Massachusetts hall. From The Crimson:

Divest Harvard member Canyon S. Woodward ’15 said the occupation plan had been in the works since last fall, but he would not say how long the protesters, who were accompanied by a filmmaker, planned to stay.

“We’re trying to put as much pressure on them as possible,” Woodward said Thursday morning. “We are going to reiterate our call for divestment—we’re no longer settling for a meeting—we have to take action now.”

(Photo: 350.org)