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A New Wave Of Campus Activism: Fossil Fuel Divestment

Members of Divest Harvard. From left to right: Oliver Kerr, Harold Eyster and Murtaza Nek. (Courtesy of Divest Harvard)

Members of Divest Harvard. From left to right: Oliver Kerr, Harold Eyster and Murtaza Nek. (Courtesy of Divest Harvard)

College campus activism came alive in the 1960s to oppose the Vietnam War. It happened again in the 1980s, with a divestment campaign aimed at ending apartheid in South Africa.

A new generation of college activists is mobilizing to stop climate change. Their tactic is to demand that university endowment funds shed their coal, oil and gas stocks.

Students at dozens of universities around the country, including Harvard, are making the demand: Divest from fossil fuel companies that they say are recklessly contributing to global warming. Two small schools — Unity College in Maine and Hampshire College in Massachusetts — have agreed to shed their fossil fuel stocks. But will the movement grow?

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  • John Harrington

    I was on hold and wonder if you can pass my comments on to Chloe and the others?  I am excited that our college students are raising awareness of this issue and I applaud their tactics.  I just wanted to pointed out that they are approaching the problem from the fringe and that the real issue is that our law makers often have their hands tied to Special Interest Groups and Corporations.  

    We could solve the fossil fuel issue and many others, if we fought to allow our law makers the freedom to legislate for the people instead of to the corporations!

    A group that I found seems to be on the right track.  They have many former law makers on staff and are trying to do exactly what I think is the single most important issue of our time.  They are called the Americans for Campaign Reform (www.acrreform.org).

    Keep up the good work, thank you all for your efforts, we appreciate it!

    John Harrington

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