Some thoughts on the divestment movement

My involvement in the campaign to convince the University of Toronto (U of T) to divest from stock holdings in fossil fuel companies has taken two main forms: working on the brief and engaging with the administration.

They have both raised my awareness about two things: that we have a growing band of influential supporters, calling for the transition to a climate-safe global economy, and that our professionalism, seriousness of purpose, strong scientific backing, and clear moral case add up to make influential people take us seriously. I have had a surprising number of meetings with people who immediately express their concern about climate change, and their determination to see U of T demonstrate leadership on it.

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Climate Activists Disrupt Toronto Stock Exchange Opening & Call for Fossil Fuel Divestment

Organizers Float Banners Saying “Don’t Bank on the Tar Sands” Ahead of Global Divestment Day

(Toronto, ON) At 9:30 this morning dozens of people descended on the opening of the Toronto Stock Exchange to highlight the climate and financial risk of fossil fuel investments. They floated banners reading “Don’t Bank on Tar Sands ­ Divest Fossil Fuels Now” and occupied the TSX front office. The action comes on the eve of Global Divestment Day, an international day of action calling for fossil fuel divestment. There are over 350 actions planned across the globe.

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The Symbolism of Divestment

A frequent response from those skeptical about fossil fuel divestment is to say that that the decision to sell an institution's holdings in fossil fuel companies would be "merely symbolic". These companies are hugely valuable, when measured by stock market price. Universities collectively hold a small portion of their total stockmarket value.

The central message of the divestment campaign, however, is that these companies are operating with a flawed vision of the future. Their expectation remains that they will be allowed to burn the fossil fuels they possess. It's on that basis that they continue to invest vast amounts of money into the development of extreme energy projects like arctic drilling, mountaintop removal, and the bitumen sands.

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Eight Takeaways from the OEB Hearings in North Bay

Picture of OEB Consultation taken by Liz Lott - an incredible North Bay photographer!

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Five Reasons Why You Should Host (or Attend) an Energy East Application Party

So, you’re wondering what these “Energy East Application Parties” are all about? Well, we’ve got the answers for you below – along with five reasons why we hope that you’ll get involved today. Fill out our form to take the pledge to either host an Energy East Application Party with your climate-conscious friends, or join us at one of our events taking place between February 3 – March 3.

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Make 2015 a Movement Tipping Point, not a Climate Tipping Point

Welcome 2015. It’s that time of year where everyone contemplates our insecurities and worries about how we can be better versions of ourselves. encourages you to make joining the climate movement your New Years Resolution.

We could be facetious and sell it as a way to accomplish many new years resolutions at once! Our monthly potlucks will mean you’ll be eating healthy food. Our friendly, supportive community means you’ll feel good about yourself--which is unlike most New Years Resolutions. And our banner-making, marches, and maybe even direct actions will make you fit!

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Why 2015 is the Vatican's Pope Pius XII Moment

Dear Catholic Church:

I don't have any New Years Resolutions this year beyond being friends with the same wonderful people in my life now. But I have a New Years hope.
I hope that this time next year, the Vatican will have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

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Energy East Protesters Face to Face with Kathleen Wynne At Premier's Home

Toronto, ON—On Sunday, December 14th, an autonomous coalition of students, families, and environmental organizations brought a special delivery to the residence of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. They delivered letters, written large cardboard cut-outs in the shape of sandals, which expressed their outrage that Premier Wynne has "flip-flopped" on her previous position that carbon emissions and climate change must be considered when approving the Energy East tar sands pipeline.

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170 Students March for Fossil Fuel Divestment at University of Toronto

November 13, 2014 (Toronto, ON)—Yesterday 170 students and members of the larger Toronto community marched at the University of Toronto, calling on the university to divest its holdings in the fossil fuel industry. The march was part of Divestment Action Week at the U of T, a series of events focusing on fossil fuel divestment.

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Pipeline Problems Dog Trudeau at Book Signing

A team of activists from interrupted a public interview and book signing by Federal Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau at the Toronto Reference Library.  Demonstrators sought to communicate their concerns to the Liberal leader over his party's support for the Energy East pipeline project.

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