Year 4, Month 9, Day 20: Rinse And Repeat

The Somerville Journal (MA, next town over from me) argues for divestment:

There is currently a global movement to get cities, universities, and other institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Madison, Providence, and our neighbors in Cambridge have already agreed to do so. I and others in Somerville believe that our city should be at the forefront of this movement.

We have known for quite some time now that we cannot keep releasing carbon dioxide into the air indefinitely without terrible consequences for the ecosystem and the sustainability of our way of life. This point has recently been underlined by an analysis from the Carbon Tracker Initiative ( showing that we can only burn around 20 percent of currently known fossil fuel deposits and keep climate change within internationally accepted limits.

And yet, despite this knowledge, fossil fuel companies continue to try to increase extraction, extract from currently untapped deposits, and find new deposits. This is their business model, this is their reason to exist, and their profitability depends on extracting the fossil fuel deposits they own and have rights to. They will continue to use their enormous wealth and power to make sure this happens.

I revised yesterday’s letter and sent it along. September 13:

When William Lloyd Garrison began agitating to end the great societal evil of slavery, the Civil War was decades away, and much of the public couldn’t have cared less about the issue. “There have always been slaves; without them our economy would collapse.” But the dedication of Massachusetts’ voice of conscience helped build a movement that transformed our society and hastened the end of a humanitarian crime.

Today we are beginning to recognize our collective servitude to the giant multinational corporations which sell us fossil fuels, sources of energy which we now realize are compromising our planet’s health and the lives of our posterity, most of the public still couldn’t care less. “We have always burned fossil fuels; without them our economy would collapse.”

The campaign for Massachusetts to divest from fossil fuels is the economic and moral inheritor of the fight against slavery, a hundred and fifty years ago.

Warren Senders

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