Close to 300 activists rallied in Washington DC’s DuPont Circle last night as part of a Global Divestment Day action against the fossil fuel industry. Activists from colleges and local environmentalist organizations across the DC metro area were present.
The activists brought a giant carbon bubble, and held signs stating that climate change is a moral issue. Local universities, businesses, and churches were encouraged to divest from dirty energy companies. One speaker made the argument that if divestment worked against apartheid South Africa, it can work against the companies causing climate change, polluting our water, and slowly making our air unbreathable.
400 actions took place across the world yesterday. Students organized flash mobs and sit-ins in France, Nepal, Japan, Britain, the US, Ukraine, and the Philippines. There were also rallies in Sydney, Australia, Edinburgh, Scotland, and London, England. Australians are being encouraged to remove their money from banks that finance coal mining.
Over 180 institutions have already pledged to divest from companies that push dirty energy.
This comes on the heels of state legislatures, like the one in Virginia, passing legislation that would lessen the state’s oversight over rates charged by utility companies. Utility companies such as Dominion Power, which naturally stand behind their dangerous products, now have an opportunity to charge poor and working-class people more for their not-so-green services.
In the short-term, it is important to push for green alternatives to delay the end of humanity, but in the long-run the environment and the well-being of humanity will always be threatened by capitalism. Capitalism requires expansion, and the expansion of industries will increase the emissions of pollutants even if these industries pollute less. Consumption of environmentally-friendly products will only delay the destruction of the Earth because the astronomical rate of consumption by first world countries is what lead us to environmental catastrophe in the first place. The chaos of capitalism and consumerism must go, and in its place we must establish a society based on cooperation and community.
The international solidarity of Global Divestment Day is great, but we need to take it to the next level and bring business-as-usual in all industries and localities to a screeching halt. We need to further integrate the struggle to stop the destruction of the environment with the struggles against the exploitation of workers, struggles against poverty, and the anti-war movement.