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Divest your money
Want to do something effective but don’t know where to start? One of the most tangible and straightforward things each of us can do is to financially withdraw our support from anti-social businesses. This is known as divestment. The historical precedent is the divestment campaign which helped end the apartheid system in South Africa. Currently, the two most successful global divestment campaigns are the Carbon Divestment Movement (“Go Fossil Free”), which is tackling climate change, and the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement, which focuses on the human rights issues in Palestine/ Israel.
Divesting is a perfect BAM precept. Changing one’s bank or funds may be annoying, but it’s not impossible. In addition to your personal accounts, why not tell others what you are doing and encourage them to do the same. Become a divestment champion for the month of June!
Divesting involves changing banks, pension funds or shares to those that do not engage in anti-social business. In the case of carbon divestment, this also means changing your electricity supplier to one that offers 100% green energy. By the end of 2016, more than $5 trillion worth of investment funds worldwide had divested from coal, oil and gas, and roughly half of that had occurred in 2016 alone. This implies a sea change that should fill us with optimism!
Carbon divestment is effective in three ways. The text that follows has been adapted from Go Fossil Free (https://gofossilfree.org/not-a-penny-more). Here is also a link to a short YouTube video that explains the concept.
Divest from fossil fuel companies.
Divestment holds the fossil fuel industry responsible for its culpability in the climate crisis. By shifting public support and our money away from the fossil fuel industry, we can break the hold that they have on our economy and our governments, while making way for a just transition to renewable energy.
Defund new fossil fuel projects.
Financing any new fossil fuel project, anywhere, is unacceptable due to the dangers fossil fuels pose to society, ecosystems, and the planet. Local campaigns are pushing their cities and towns to stop using the banks backing fossil fuel development. It’s time for banks to stop the lines of credit and project-level loans to fossil fuel infrastructure like new pipelines or fracking drill rigs.
Desponsor museums and cultural organisations.
We can shift public support away from the fossil fuel industry by pressuring our public institutions to break the sponsorship ties they have with many fossil fuel companies.
(written up by Christine Thuring)