THE BLOG

Why You Should Join Global Divestment Day

02/12/2015 11:54 am ET | Updated Apr 14, 2015
  • Bill McKibben Author of a dozen books, including 'The End of Nature' and 'Deep Economy'
ASSOCIATED PRESS

You know why you should join an action near you on Global Divestment Day? Like the one down on Wall Street this Friday in New York City, or the one at London's City Hall on Saturday?

Because we've got the bad guys on the run. It's as if this week's been scripted as a buildup to the worldwide weekend of divestment festivities.

On Monday the Independent Petroleum Producers (that is, Oil Inc.) released a study purportedly showing that divestment is a bad idea, financially -- except, to prove it, they had had to go all the way back to 1965 as a baseline and argue that the next 50 years of energy will resemble the last half-century. Good luck with that: Every measure of the last year, the last decade, or, for that matter, the whole current millennium shows that fossil fuels are fading quickly and getting riskier. (Heck, if institutions had listened to divestment campaigners last year, they'd have avoided this year's crash in oil prices.)

But Monday was nothing. On Tuesday fossil fuel PR guru Rick Berman, who, last year, was caught on tape convincing oilmen to wage "endless war" against environmentalists, released his great brainstorm: a video you absolutely have to watch. It tells the story of Joey, who breaks up with his girlfriend -- who is a barrel of oil -- because his scientist friends think she's uncool. Then, without fossil fuels, he can't have a cellphone, or dinner, or clothes. That's right: He's naked. (I play a cameo role as a leering demon trying to wreck modern life. Really, you need to watch.)

This short film goes right to the heart of the anti-divestment argument; in fact, it's a perfect mind meld with the Swarthmore board of trustees, who recently wrote that they wouldn't divest because students still use fossil fuels. Of course they do; that's the point! And the point of divestment is that if we can break the power of this industry, we can use sun and wind instead.

Kind of like Apple, which announced on Wednesday that it was building a giant solar farm in Monterey to run all its California operations off the sun -- and that it was expecting "major savings" in the process. But what does Apple know about technology?

So now we're almost to the weekend, and it's time for your move. Divestment is on a roll: Last week the New School, in the center of New York, and the oldest university in Australia joined the long and growing list. There are more than 400 events around the world, which means there's one near you. Sign up now and scare these guys some more!

P.S. And, you know, tweet the living heck out of this weekend. Because in some ineffable way that's a bit hard to explain, Twitter matters. If you follow the #divest hastag, you can watch pictures flow in from all over the place.