Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fossil Free SMC!

We've had some really cool environmental awareness things going on around campus over the past few  weeks. Not that this is anything unusual--at Saint Mike's, most students aim to live daily with the environment in mind. However, we're at the beginning of a new, huge movement, and it all started with Bill McKibben's visit to Saint Mike's at the end of January. His talk was incredibly inspiring, and I was quite thrilled to be able to write an article for Her Campus SMCVT about the event.

Bill McKibben is one engaging speaker.

As one of the most influential people on the topic of climate change, Bill McKibben is quite a role model for people all over the world, and the student body was so excited to have him here. He is a founder of the website, an organization that attempts to instill environmental and legislative change through its campaigns. In the past, it has succeeded in launching huge social activism movements worldwide, and it continues to make an impact on how global citizens view personal responsibilities for the way we treat our planet.

One of 350's recent campaigns is its divestment campaign, which has been asking colleges and universities across the nation to divest stocks from its list of 200 top oil companies. This "Fossil Free" movement, if taken on by enough schools, could make an impact--but more importantly, it's a statement that a great number of our population will no longer stand by and see nothing done about climate change. We want to protect our future, and we will not support something that will inevitably harm it.

So, this week a group of about thirty or forty students got together to start planning our own divestment campaign. We are currently waiting to hear back from the school's administration about exactly which companies we are invested in, and once we find out about that, we're going to start planning talks about divesting from any oil companies. It's kind of surprising that we'd be investing in stocks in the first place--I don't know, it's just something I never thought about. But I'm so glad to be taking this next step. When you're fighting something as gigantic and ambiguous as climate change, everything counts. ESPECIALLY money. And where we put our money is a statement of our beliefs. Taking our investments away from these companies sends out a clear message: this is NOT okay.

I'm really excited for what the rest of the semester holds for this campaign. It won't be easy work, that's for sure--after all, we don't want Saint Mike's to be losing any money in this process, and we will need to find new companies to invest in that will make up the difference but also follow in accordance with our beliefs, environmental and otherwise.

To support Saint Mike's in the divestment endeavor, like our Fossil Free SMC Facebook page. Find out more about the divestment campaign and how you can set one up for your own school here at 350's campaign website. If your school is already participating, see how you can get involved. Most importantly, SPREAD THE WORD. Knowledge is power, and the more people who know about this movement, the better. Remember that if we keep ourselves educated about the issues we want to face, and band together to change those issues, we really can make a difference.

Stay informed!

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