Home Environment Letter to the Editor: Game Change in 350.org

Letter to the Editor: Game Change in 350.org

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First off I would like to thank both TheNewPolitical and Mr. Pashtun for taking on this cause. My wholehearted belief is that there is no such thing as bad press, and we are incredibly grateful for your coverage on this matter, and for Mr. Pashtun to represent our campaign to Ohio University Student Senate. We need passionate individuals like Hashim in this movement. There are however, riddled inaccuracies that can potentially hinder our cause within the article. For this reason I want to address a few of these to see that our organization is being honestly covered.

Mr. Pashtun has been on our core forefront of passionately helpful individuals, and he shows vast promise of extending our outreach and furthering our cause, possibly even to the international level. Between the last time we both talked and now, the game has shifted.

We recently had our first meeting at Fossil Fuel (Free) OU!, which is a subsidiary of the global movement to solve the climate crisis, www.350.org. Our full goal is to target the administration of Ohio University, as well as the student and faculty body, to push divestment from Fossil Fuels. We have two specific demands for our administration, which are the base of this organization:

1)    An immediate freeze of all commingled investments our university has in the fossil fuel industry(coal, natural gas, gasoline, etc.)

2)    Full divestment within five years.

This is being accomplished with a democratic mix of students and faculty, within four working groups of Outreach, Research, Media, and Contact with Administration. We want to nurture open communication with administration and find constructive solutions for the university to redirect their endowment money towards.

Our entire project is inspired by the work of Bill McKibben, during his Do The Math! Tour. Their stop in Columbus was in the end of November right before Thanksgiving weekend. The tour was inspired by an article McKibben wrote that was published in Rolling Stones this past July as one of the most influential article in the magazines history called, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719)

The gist of the article was, the amount of fossil fuels we can burn before reaching point of no return on climate disaster, is roughly one fifth of what lies in the global reserves industry controls that is intended to be burned. 2* Celsius of climate temperature increase is our point of no return, 565 gigatons is the amount of carbon fuels we can burn into our atmosphere before we reach that point, and 2,795 gigatons is the collaterally owned reserves of the fossil fuel industry which they intend to burn and profit off of. Our [students’] future is at stake, so we are fighting back by the means of divestment.

Divestment is the opposite of investment, when you invest you put money into something in order to get a return dividend. Divestment is the act of taking money out of something. Our universities over the country collectively hold over 400 billion in their endowments, with a large percentage invested in fossil fuels. This is the same tactic used in the 1980s that students in the US used to topple the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

We are not intending to bankrupt the industry, but to take away their social license of immunity to do however they please. After the ruling for the BP oil spill a few weeks back, it became evident enough was enough. 11 felony charges of manslaughter, and they are exonerated on a 4.5 billion dollar bail, also known in British Petroleum hub as two weeks profit. If yourself or I were charged with 11 felonies, we would not be seen again.

Ohio University is one of over 153 active campaigns nationwide. Our central hub iswww.gofossilfree.org. Our campaign was recently published in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/05/business/energy-environment/to-fight-climate-change-college-students-take-aim-at-the-endowment-portfolio.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) and we plan to see much more successes in the future.

One of the biggest bits I want to address is the quote from your article “We do not need a War on Terrorism, we need a War on Environmental Degradation… we should be just as focused on these things as we are on terrorism.” We do not need any kind of war, war itself is the largest polluter of mankind. We are not engaging in warfare of any kind with our administrations or industry, this is non-violent direct action aimed at our college’s portfolios. If anything this is a movement of love on behalf of the students to make questionably the largest step in curbing climate change, and reclaiming our future.

Fossil Fuel Free OU has been launched, and if any readers wish to get involved with this movement, they should go to our hub at www.gofossilfree.org and see if their school has already begun a campaign and get involved. If not, this may be your chance to save the world.


Benjamin Bushwick

President/Facilitator at Fossil Fuel Free OU!

Email: [email protected]          Phone: (301)-922-0787


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