Why I pledged to Flood The Campus...
The divestment movement is a fantastic thing - something that is taking the social license of fossil fuels from under their feet. It goes beyond simple advocacy. It goes beyond changing public opinion. Divestment sends a powerful message, it demonstrates that investments can be built upon morality rather than merely profiteering. And what better institutions to lead this paradigm shift than institutions of learning?
I’ve followed Fossil Free MU’s campaign for a while, they’re a fabulous example a grassroots campaign being carried out tactfully and creatively. It was only this earlier this year that I got involved myself, when I began my degree at Melbourne University. Prior to that I had awkwardly attended events, chanting about making my then non-existent degree fossil free. It’s an exciting time to join, given that FFMU are escalating.
Alongside the constant influx of news regarding the increasing severity of climate change, it is the most critical time to be taking bold action. As students, we are the generation who the climate catastrophe is being inherited by, and complacency among our generation is inexcusable. The climate, the life-support system of life on earth, is too important to be left to wither. Yale University has just joined the list of universities globally to have divested from coal, oil and gas, and we want Melbourne University to show similar leadership. Empty promises are not enough. As a place where “ideas collide”, as is Melbourne’s favourite catch phrase, The University is sending a message of hypocrisy with its in investments in dirty fossil fuels. We, as students, are holding the University of Melbourne accountable, and by that we are undertaking an escalation proportionate to the level of climate action required.
It’s easy to have a defeatist attitude when comprehending issues of this magnitude, but the divestment movement has been accumulating support rapidly, with 515 institutions having already divested, which is US $3.4 trillion that have been sucked out from underneath the fossil fuel industry’s feet. Yale University partially divested four days ago, and yesterday Peabody - one of the world’s largest coal companies - filed for bankruptcy. Fifteen universities in Australia are apart of this movement, and we’re all standing in solidarity with one another.
We’re extending the red line that protesters drew in Paris to universities. I’m taking bold action because there are no more excuses, and because the catalyst for change has never been complacency.
Join us as we #FloodTheCampus!
By Phoebe Gavine