Divestment Movement: Cutting Ties with the Devils

It’s only the first month of 2018 and we have amazing news for our Earth! New York City has recently sue the Oil Giants – ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Conoco Phillips on the premise none other than destroying Earth itself. They don’t stop there. The city will also “divest the city’s $189 billion pension fund of an estimated $5 billion invested in fossil fuel companies.” This is seen as a direct answer call to the ongoing global Divestment Movement.

Divest What Now?

“Divestment Movement is the call for public interest institutions to sell whatever financial holdings they have in fossil companies.”, as explained explicitly by environmental writer Naomi Klein. The institutions include colleges, faith organizations, and municipal governments.

The rationale behind this movement is simple. The fossil fuel companies have every intention of pushing the planet beyond its boiling point. Read about how dangerous that is in article Paris Agreement. The profit earned does not serve the community but only to fatten its stockholders’ bank account to obesity. Hence, it makes perfect sense any responsible institutions should stop funding them. The money should reinvest in the renewable energy sector instead.

The movement has gained much traction since its official launch in November 2012. It has since spread from the United States to Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Britain. Over 100 cities, states, and religious institutions have answered to the call. NYC is only the latest addition to the party.

With so many victories the movement is winning now, it has no short of critics at its initial stage. The movement itself was argued to be incapable to bankrupt the oil giants. But that was missing the whole point.

Environment and Economy are husband and wife

As Sara Blazevic, a divestment organizer at Swarthmore College, puts it, the movement is “taking away the hold that the fossil fuel industry has over our political system by making it socially unacceptable and morally unacceptable to be financing fossil fuel extraction.”

And Cameron Fenton, one of the leaders of the divestment push in Canada, adds, “No one is thinking we’re going to bankrupt fossil fuel companies. But what we can do is bankrupt their reputations and take away their political power.” (Quoted directly from “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein)

More crucially, it puts the topic on the table for discussion. People are encouraged to give attention and take their stance on the matter – a situation Malaysia desperately needs. The movement will pave the way for making important legislation. One example is ban on political donations from fossil fuel companies. Or even better – outlaw fossil fuel advertising on mainstream media, much like how Malaysia legally prohibits tobacco advertisement. (What other legislation Malaysia is proud of and ahead of the world? Let me know below!)

The super rich illusion

The divestment movement draw strength from the people, not the super rich. Bill Gates may have expressed concern about climate change. His 1.2 billion USD investment in oil giants BP and ExxonMobil definitely says otherwise (as of December 2013). Gates also repeatedly denounced the reliability and efficiency of current renewable technology. The irony is that same technology he referred to has succeeded in providing 25% percent of Germany’s electricity today. Frankfurt and Munich are even on their way to 100% renewable energy by 2050 and 2025 respectively. Instead, Gates insists on inventing new ‘technology miracles’.

He proposed nuclear reactors in which, coincidentally, he is the major investor and chairman of the nuclear start-up TerraPower; Gates also pushed for machines that suck carbon out of the atmosphere. Again, as if by personal and exclusive blessing from the Lady Luck herself, he happens to be the primary investor in at least one such prototype; How about the direct climate manipulation also championed by him? You guessed it. Gates funded the research to block the sun and patented several hurricane-suppression technologies.

At this point, the super rich looks suspiciously more interested in making money out of global disasters than preventing them. In fact, a lot of people think it that way. After all, it is this realization that gave birth to the Divestment Movement.

What do you think about the divestment movement? Let me know in comment below!

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