Greetings from Minneapolis
It's a gray morning here, and our big bus just rolled in from Madison. We've been on tour across America every night since the election (with a couple off for Thanksgiving), playing big sold-out shows at concert halls and theaters across the country. It's been incredibly exciting--huge crowds everywhere eager to help in the fight against climate change.
And it's not just talk. We've been trying to spark a movement as we've gone along--a movement to go on offense against the fossil fuel companies. Yes, we'll keep playing defense against bad projects like the Keystone pipeline. But we can't stop global warming one pipeline at a time--we also have to turn the fossil fuel industry into the tobacco industry and weaken their power to block any good idea that rises in DC
We're calling this the DoTheMath tour, and basing it on the viral article I wrote for Rolling Stone this summer. In essence, it shows that the fossil fuel companies have five times as much carbon in their reserves as even the most conservative government on earth thinks would be safe to burn. They're a reckless rogue force, outlaws against the laws of physics, and they deserve to lose their social license.
One way of many to make that happen is a divestment campaign, at colleges, churches, pension funds, and so on. We've been trying to spark such a movement as we travel--and it's working beyond our wildest dreams. As of yesterday, we passed the 100-campus mark with active divestment campaigns. Here's a list. And if you're a student or alum of a college on or off the list, it will be clear what to do!
We've already had our first big success--Unity College in Maine has completely divested and Hampshire College in Mass. has pretty much done the same. And the Harvard student body voted 3-1 to demand their trustees do the same.
Of course, this won't be easy. Harvard immediately said 'No,' as will most other big players. That's how these fights start. But the student leaders didn't give an inch. "President Faust will have to change her mind, because we aren't changing ours," one sophomore explained. Those who remember the ultimately successful battles for divestment from South Africa in the 1980s know what comes next: sit-ins and candlelight vigils, teach-ins and alumni campaigns.
I'm a little tired after all this travel. (Sleeping on the tour bus is somewhat more romantic in theory than practice). But I'm more fired up than I've ever been. It's time to take the fight straight at the fossil fuel industry, so we can open up some space for our champions in DC. It's time to be on offense!
Thanks to all who are helping, and I'll look forward to seeing you...down the road