Last night, after taking some time to replenish my depleted energy levels, I dragged my mom to 350.org’s Do the Math Tour. Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein spoke about climate change with a major focus on fossil fuels and their link to the environmental crisis in which we find ourselves. They asked us to walk away with three important numbers:
1. The world’s governments have collectively agreed that complete calamity would happen if the world’s temperature increases by 2 degrees Celsius.
2. 565 gigatonnes: the maximum amount of carbon that can be released into the atmosphere before we reach that 2 degree complete calamity limit. It seems like a lot, but keep this in mind: we already release 30 gigatonnes per year giving us only 16 years before we hit that 565 number.
3. 2795 gigatonnes: the amount of carbon that would be produced by burning all the oil and coal to which the fossil fuel companies have currently identified and laid claim. They intend to burn it all. It is FIVE TIMES the 565 gigatonnes limit.
Do you know what this means? Bill McKibben compared the oil companies to nuclear weapons companies in that their products intend to destroy life as we know it, but here’s the biggest difference: the oil companies intend for their weapons to deploy. They are essentially waging war on humanity and our planet. Scary thought, right?
It’s time to fight back. It is no longer the time for merely quiet alternatives. We must step it up and fight for our right to a planet that functions as nature intended. This fight will be long, and we may not win on every front, but we have no choice except to fight. There is no Planet B, no escape route. Bill and his team at 350.org are asking us to stand up and demand that our institutions whether they be schools, universities, churches or our own private investment portfolios be divested from the fossil fuel industries. He spoke of the fight around companies that benefited from apartheid in South Africa and how the boycott worked. The time is now.
Want to be more involved? 350.org has put together an action kit that will help you figure out the steps to creating this change. I pledge to fight these companies, to choose even more carefully than I already do, to divest my money is whatever way I can. Will you join me? Will you fight for your planet, for your future and for your children’s future?
And when you feel that you are just a tiny person compared to a huge company with crushingly-big resources, remember this photo and how powerful you are: