Year 4, Month 8, Day 11: Don’t Do As I Say, Do As I Want. Is That Clear?

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel discusses some of the opposition to divestment from our side of the ideological divide:

Not everyone supports the strategy. A local religious leader who’s been battling Exxon Mobil Corp. for years over climate change says he considers divestment the wrong move.

“This approach to this issue is too simplistic in my mind. It generates a lot of enthusiasm among young idealists, but it’s not a good strategy,” said the Rev. Michael Crosby of Milwaukee, a representative of the Capuchin order and board member of the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility.

Crosby prefers direct engagement. He traveled to Texas to urge shareholders of Exxon Mobil to adopt a climate change resolution.

The Capuchins’ work of direct engagement with Exxon Mobil has gone on for more than a decade — and during that time the corporation agreed to stop funding groups that were denying the existence of global warming, Crosby said.

Resistance remains. At this year’s shareholder meeting, Exxon Mobil Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said the company agrees that climate change is a serious issue. However, the ability to forecast the severity of what’s to come is limited.

“How do you want to deal with something where the outcome is unknowable but the risks are significant?” Tillerson said. “We do not have a readily available replacement for the energy that provides the means of living that the world has today.

“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers in the process of those efforts when you don’t know exactly what your impacts are going to be?” he said.

This was pretty complicated to get down to 150 words. July 21:

When Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson asks, “what good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” his definition of “humanity” pays more heed to the sociopathic corporate “persons” which he represents than to those of us made of old-fashioned flesh and blood. In this context, the notion that divesting from fossil fuel corporations is somehow futile because “the stock would be bought up by somebody else” is an obvious evasion of the moral and ethical foundations of good citizenship.

While Michael Crosby and his Interfaith allies may be using their investments as a point of leverage to confront corporate polluters over their contributions to planetary climate change, that strategy isn’t an option for most of us. It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing, and ending financial collaboration with the multi-national polluters who are fueling the climate crisis is both ethically and environmentally appropriate.

Warren Senders

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