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Op-Ed | No, divestment isn’t enough — but it’s a crucial first step

Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 02:02

Further afield, indigenous Canadians with the “Idle No More” movement have been fighting tar sands development on native lands. Communities across the Pacific Northwest have been protesting coal export terminals in Oregon and Washington. A group called “Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival” has been blockading mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia for a long time. This June, hundreds of young activists from around the globe will gather in Istanbul for a gathering called the “Global Power Shift” to plan the next steps for the international climate movement. 

In short, we know that more needs to be done — not in place of, but alongside divestment.

To Laws-MacDonald and others who share his concerns: We invite you to join us as we grow our movement. We agree: “This country runs on oil, and only a fundamental change in how we power our day-to-day lives will affect the oil industry. I don’t mean turning the kitchen light off, or walking to work. We need huge changes.” We are striving to create such fundamental change, and hope that you will help us. 

And to those who support the divestment movement — to those of you who rallied outside of our board meeting, went to the teach-in, come to meetings, or otherwise just think we’re doing good work: First of all, thank you. This movement has exploded because of your energy, your commitment, and your passion. For all the reasons written here and more — reasons that have already been listed in countless articles and blog posts and impassioned discussions — this campaign has struck a chord with you, and your support has lifted us to greater heights than we ever hoped we could reach in such a short time.

However, we all know, and have always known, that some of our “critics” are right: Divestment alone is not a strong enough tactic to respond to the threat of climate change and to preserve a livable planet for our children and future generations. We are committed to seeing Tufts divest from fossil fuels, but we will not and cannot stop there. So we ask: Will you move forward with us?

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Devyn Powell is a junior majoring in international relations. She can be reached at Devyn.Powell@tufts.edu. 

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