I'm popping on to wax not-so-poetic about a topic that I have been thinking about a lot lately.
Specifically, divestment from fossil-fuels, but in general, a divestment from all the things we no longer believe to be serving us or believe to be viable in the long term (lookin' at you fast-fashion brands...).
I'm about 1 full semester into my MA for Climate Adaptation, and I've been learning a TON of cool shit. All of it is very science-y and too hard for me to explain at 9pm on a Friday night (tell me you're in your 30's without telling me you're in your 30's - I'm writing a blog on a Friday night) but let's just say I'm loving it even if I'm not any smarter for it yet.
OK, so, as this program focuses on climate adaptation and mitigation, there has of course been a lot of discussion around the cost of adapting to climate change ($$$), vs. the cost of mitigating further climate change ($). And my professor said something that really smacked me right between the eyeballs with it's simplicity & obviousness.
He said: Because we are currently subsidizing fossil fuels, when it comes to adapting to a changing climate, we will end up paying twice. Once in extraction, and again to clean up the mess they are causing.
Think about it. The government subsidizes the fossil fuel industry now, and our taxes are what will be used to fund adaptation strategies when we've completely blown through our carbon budget and turned our atmosphere into a microwave.
This is NOT COOL, y'all.
So, this is where divestment comes in.
Divestment is one of those things that's on every list you see regarding climate change. You know the ones: "5 Things You Can Do to Make an Impact!" or "10 Steps to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint!" And nothing against those lists (I've written many in my life, and they can be immensely helpful) but switching to a paper straw just doesn't stand up to Pemex setting the fucking ocean on fire.
But divestment is different. It's one of those steps that seems small and pointless, but actually can have a HUGE impact.
Divestment is ultimately just a fancy way to say "watch where you're money is going". WHICH, if you have been paying attention at all, is verrrryyy similar to one of my favourite sayings: VOTE WITH YOUR FUCKING DOLLAR.
For some reason I had just never made this connection. I'm embarrassed that it took so long, but here we are.
Divestment is important because your money, no matter how much or little of it there is, IS making a difference. It's telling your bank, your university, the companies you invest with...it's telling them all that you are cool with whatever they happen to be spending your money on - including practices that are very likely destroying our planet.
Divestment is important in the same way boycotting fast fashion is important - we need to tell these multi-billion dollar industries that the way they are running their businesses is not in line with our ethics - it just doesn't jive anymore and we won't stand for it until changes are made.
So. Talk to your banks. Talk to your institutions. Find out what they are *actually* spending your money on, and then put your money, literally, where your values lie.
Hint* - most big banks invest in fossil fuels. Some have strategies and are changing tack, but keep an eye out for greenwashing and slow-movers - lots of companies will say they are divesting but aren't making significant nor timely enough changes.
Hint Hint * - I'm speaking specifically from a climate lens here but this also goes for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If the companies you support don't engage in DEI you can make it clear to them that you don't agree with their policies and, trust me, moving your money away from them will make it VERY CLEAR.
OK. Rant over. Hopefully you have learned something or at least found something to chew on.
As always, thanks for reading along!