Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, James Hansen, Naomi Oreskes, others use auction to bring Multi-School Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund to $50,000

For Immediate Release: February 15, 2016

Contacts: Boston College alumna Annabelle Rebolli, annabellereboli@gmail.com, 347-899-5851

Boston College undergrad Jorge Mejia, mejiajh@bc.edu, 917-484-3048

Website: http://divestfund.org/   |   @DivestFund   |   facebook.com/divestfund

Climate Justice at Boston College:  https://climatejusticebc.com/who-we-are/cjbc-history/

BC Alumni for Climate Justice: https://www.facebook.com/BCAlumClimate/

Bill McKibben, Noam Chomsky, James Hansen, Naomi Oreskes, others use auction to bring Multi-School Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund to $50,000

New York, NY – The Multi-School Fossil-Free Divestment Fund, a grassroots collaboration connecting donors to campus divestment efforts, hosted an auction that raised just under $18,000 for the 26 participating campuses. The auction coincided with the Paris Climate talks, connecting local divestment efforts to the larger political problem that is the climate crisis. The total value is now over $50,000–all donations steered away from universities with fossil fuel investments. A growing chorus of students, alumni, and parents are calling on universities to pull their investments from companies whose practices are incompatible with the globally agreed upon 2° C warming threshold. Schools will only receive the donations in the Fund if they heed this call.

A collaboration among a dozen members of the Fund, the auction effectively expanded the reach of fossil fuel divestment. Auctioned items included many items related to universities with divestment campaigns: a personalized barber-shop-style “Happy Birthday” from Stanford’s Fleet Street singers, Italian ice with Harvard historian of science Naomi Oreskes, lunch with climate scientist-turned-activist James Hansen, conversation with world-renowned linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, and a Climate Denialist Tour of MIT.

Many items reflected the future that climate justice organizers are building: a membership to the Wisconsin Bike Fed, Zipcar gift certificate, Red Fire Farm Locavore Deep Winter CSA Farm Share, family membership to the Aldo Leopold Foundation. Still others were simply delightful: a week’s stay at a cottage on the Isle of White, massages, portrait sessions, and artwork galore. There were items with well-known participants, like a ski excursion with 350.org co-founder and Right Livelihood winner Bill McKibben. As well as lesser-known, like energy insider Sam Brintons tour of congress.

Fran Ludwig, an organizer with the Fund and BC Alumni for Climate Justice explained: “We aimed to have this auction be inclusive, in terms of location, price, and style of the items. That’s because we wanted to engage people to one powerful part of the climate justice movement–fossil fuel divestment.” Together with other organizers, donors are being contacted and recruited into climate activism. After all, explained CJBC member and BC first year Jorge Mejia, “money doesn’t mean much without people–people organized to fight the fossil fuel juggernaut is our only hope.”

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Intervention: It is Time for BC to Break Up with Fossil Fuels!

Kickoff of the rally>march>vigil is here.

15 seconds of song here.

15 seconds of chant here.

Intervention: It is Time for BC to Break Up with Fossil Fuels!

February 13th, 2015                                                           

Contact: Erin Sutton; erincsutton@gmail.com 508.981.7205

Website: climatejusticebc.com

Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

DSC_02791

On February 13th, 2015, undergraduates, graduate students, and alumni gathered outside O’Neill Library and marched to President Fr. Dr. Leahy’s main office, as part of a call for Boston College to withdraw its investments from fossil fuel companies. Organized by the group Climate Justice at Boston College (CJ@BC), this action was carried out in coordination with climate justice organizers for Global Divestment Day, calling for a Valentine’s Day “breakup” between BC and the fossil fuel industry. The day of action follows Thursday’s at the Massachusetts State House and at Harvard. This global coordination of action displays the growth of divestment campaigns and their increasing pressure on decision-makers to stand for a stable climate and a just economic system. CJ@BC joins thousands of students across the country who are calling for their respective universities to divest from fossil fuel companies that have polluted the scientific process, our democracy, and our communities.

Before the vigil, students gathered in front of O’Neill library for a kick-off call and response. Alyssa Florack (‘17) described the destructive relationship Boston College maintains with the fossil fuel industry, and called for a breakup, “A long time ago, BC began its investment relationship with fossil fuel companies. They were making tons of money, and BC was happy. Or so it thought. Eventually, the affair started to heat up, and that’s when BC found out about global warming. Despite institutional pressures to maintain the status quo, many are realizing the dangerous consequences of this relationship. And the relationship doesn’t just hurt BC; it hurts all of humanity.” BC’s investments in the fossil fuel industry are not only unethical, but also risk the futures of the students the college claims to be educating to “shape the future”.

After the rallying speech, students marched to McElroy and down College Road to Botolph House. During the march, students sang rewritten verses from Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” playing on Valentine’s Day and repeating the call for BC to “break up” with fossil fuel companies that perpetuate climate chaos. The group of 45 were respectful, peaceful, and in high spirits, reflecting hopes for a better future. Students held signs with phrases like “It’s not me, it’s you,” “Pick a side” (with Boston College pictured on one side of a broken heart, and the Koch Brothers on the other), “This is an intervention,” and many more.

During the vigil outside Fr. Leahy’s office, a somber and solemn mood took over. Students shared their hopes for Boston College to be the best that it can be. Bobby Wengronowitz said, “BC claims ‘to exercise careful stewardship of its resources’ but what about the land on which the college sits? How is investment in fossil fuels, which contribute to rising sea levels, which may soon threaten to submerge the college, ‘careful stewardship?’”

Delia Ridge Creamer (‘16) said, “I have been working on this campaign since my freshman year at BC, and it’s inspiring to see how much momentum we have gained in the past year alone.” Erin Sutton (‘16) said: “As a student who relies on financial aid that Boston College provides for me, I feel ashamed accepting money that’s supposed to be building my future when it comes from the very corporations that are destroying it. I want to go to a Boston College that I can be proud of.”

CJ@BC has been organizing for over two years, calling on Boston College to stand for climate justice. In addition to divesting from fossil fuels, CJ@BC has been calling for more investments in renewables and efficiency, as well as more climate-related programs that would generate student-faculty collaboration and prepare students for work in burgeoning fields.

Climate Justice Alliance Statement to World Leaders

Climate Justice @ Boston College stands in solidarity with frontline communities in the US and abroad. See more at http://www.ourpowercampaign.org/

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  September 23, 2014

Contact: Marjorie Childress   505-410-8487   marjorie@ourpowercampaign.org

World Leaders prefer photo ops with community members rather than real talk

New York City — Two days before today’s UN Climate Summit 400,000 people made history on the streets of New York City – joining together to take part in the largest march ever on climate change. But world leaders continue not to listen. They’ll take their photo opportunities in the street, but refuse entrance into the actual halls of power.

Today, the Climate Justice Alliance attempted to bring a statement from the people to world leaders, but were refused entry. Community voices were silenced, even while frontline climate-devastated communities and the 400,000 others who marched on Sunday called for climate action that works for Main Street, not just Wall Street.

“We’re being exploited, assaulted on an everyday basis, by industry that surrounds our community,” said  Yuditha Nieto of T.E.J.A.S., an environmental justice organization in Houston, Texas. “We don’t get any support from our representatives. We have to put our two cents in and let them know that we are here.”

The exclusion of community members who live on the frontlines of the climate crisis show that today’s climate decision-making arenas have been taken over by a corporate agenda that prioritizes destructive profit driven policies over the wellbeing of families, workers and communities.

“Those within the UN Climate Summit need to start thinking about ways to change people’s relationship to the earth, ways to change the definition of prosperity and well-being to something that’s not about money for a few people, but for a good livelihood for everybody,” said Jihan Gearon of Black Mesa Water Coalition on the Navajo Nation.

For decades, frontline communities have been cultivating real solutions that move away from an economy of endless growth that exploits people and nature to one that links climate change and human rights, recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples, and the self-determination of frontline communities.

“We demand that world leaders support and move money to our community-led priorities and local infrastructure needs to build sustainable community economies, energy democracy, zero waste, food justice, public transit and affordable housing – pathways that can create millions of long-term jobs and put our communities back to work,” the Climate Justice Alliance said in the statement they attempted to deliver to world leaders.

“We support Indigenous peoples, our brothers and sisters of the North and the Global South, in their climate justice struggles linking land and water rights, land title and the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Climate Justice Alliance: Statement to World Leaders and President Obama at the United Nations Climate Summit

This Sunday, over 400,000 people marched on the streets of New York City in solidarity with communities around the world living on the frontlines of both climate change and the exploitative systems driving this planetary crisis. Thousands more took direct action yesterday by “Flooding Wall Street” to target the polluting corporations and their financiers profiteering from such global harm.

Today, as world leaders gather at the United Nations Climate Summit 2014, we – members and affiliates of the Climate Justice Alliance—duly note that these climate arenas are taken over by a corporate agenda that continues the onslaught of business-as-usual, the global expansion of fossil fuel development rather than action to cut greenhouse gases at source.

In place of genuine climate action, the UN Climate Summit 2014 is little more than a pep rally pushing carbon trading offsets and weak voluntary or limited pledges for emission cuts leading up to the global climate treaty negotiations in Paris next year. Today, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated a goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. On the surface this appears good. In reality, it is thinly veiled language for the promotion of market-based and destructive public-private partnership initiatives such as REDD+, Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative – which will further exploit human and natural resources to expand the profits of the world’s most wealthy.

As communities first and most impacted by the storms, floods and droughts, we are also at the forefront of the fight against the pollution, the poverty, the police violence, the land grabs, the water shutoffs, the forced migration and the human rights violations symptomatic of the climate crises. Which is why our communities are uniting for a Just Transition away from the “dig, burn, dump” economy and towards local, living economies that meet the material needs of people and where communities and workers are in charge.

For decades we have been cultivating real solutions where we live, work, play and pray. Our solutions define a new system that moves us away from an economy of endless growth that exploits people and nature to one that seeks harmony between humans and nature. We need a system that links climate change and human rights; that recognizes the rights of Indigenous peoples and the self-determination of frontline communities.  Our planet, Mother Earth, and her natural resources cannot sustain the increasing greed, consumption, extraction, pollution and waste associated with the 1%. We require a new system that addresses the needs of the majority and not of the few. To move in this direction, we need a redistribution of resources and a new definition of wellbeing and prosperity for all life on the planet in recognition of the limits and the rights of our Mother Earth and Nature.

We demand that world leaders support and move money to our community-led priorities and local infrastructure needs to build sustainable community economies, energy democracy, zero waste, food justice, public transit and affordable housing – pathways that can create millions of long-term jobs and put our communities back to work. We support Indigenous peoples, our brothers and sisters of the North and the Gobal South, in their climate justice struggles linking land and water rights, land title and the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Sunflowers serve to remove harmful toxics from the soil, while providing nutrients and shelter for animal life above ground.  We present these sunflowers to the global leaders at the UN Climate Summit as a symbol of the community-led solutions we are growing.

A TRULY ALTERNATIVE SPRING BREAK, Ellie Tedeschi

Sixteen Boston College students and alumni attended a divestment convergence hosted in Washington, D.C. over spring break, joining thousands of other college students representing over 100 university divestment campaigns. The event, named XL Dissent, took place over two days and culminated in a youth-organized protest of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

Friday February 28

9:45 pm

The group is off to a fantastic start; everyone has packed way too much stuff for the weekend (except for the girls, surprisingly). We haven’t even left Boston yet and we’re already having a blast.

Saturday March 1

3:00 am

The Boston area alone was able to completely fill 2 busses of students. This bus is packed. Candy. Pillows. Drool. I think my legs fell off.

2:00 pm

At the Thurgood Marshall Center in Washington DC leaders of college divestment organizations got together for a strategy session. Students broke up into smaller breakout groups to listen to speakers, brainstorm organizing strategies, and network with other youth leaders. The turnout was twice as large as expected, signifying how fast the national divestment movement is growing in over 300 universities, cities and religions institutions.

There is so much power in the room, so much passion for one cause. It is inspiring and energizing. I’m thinking I should try dreadlocks… they seem to be the new style.

6:00 pm

500 people attempt to cram into the Thurgood Marshall Center gym. The event will be huge! DC Action Lab arrives and explains the exact plan for the protest tomorrow. Everyone in the room is getting really pumped up and we are confident that our voices will be heard.

Side note: The meat line will always be MUCH shorter than the vegan line at an environmental convergence.

11:00 pm

U Street is awesome, so much to do and see. BCFF is the coolest club on campus with the coolest people and you should join!

Sunday March 2

6:00 am

It is way too early for folk songs but then again it’s too early to be awake in general. About 300 people managed to cram themselves onto St. Stephen’s church floor and everyone wakes up with a ton of energy, ready to get our protest on!

10:00 am

The protest begins at Georgetown’s red square. 1,200 students are holding signs, cheering and signing. Hazmat suits and ties are the preferred outfit of the day! This is our future and we will fight for it. We have a voice, it is loud and it is powerful! We march the three miles from Georgetown to the white house. People line the streets to watch and cheer us on!

“Power, power, power, power. Power to the people”

“1700 miles of pipe, 1700 miles we’ll fight”

It’s a perfect day and I am surrounded by perfect people. 1100 perfect people who are working together to make an incredible difference.

“1 we are the people. 2 we are united. 3 we will not let you build this pipeline”

12:15 pm

When we arrive at the White House we listen to a series of incredible speakers from leading universities and frontline communities whose tribes and livelihoods will be directly impacted by the KXL pipeline. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez a thirteen-year-old youth representative from Earth Guardians reminded the crowds that this is our future that we are being forced to fight for. Jasmin Thomas from a tribe in Canada spoke of the imminent destruction of sacred Native American land by tar sands extraction.

It was clear that we needed to remind Obama why we, the youth, voted him into power. We believed that he would fight for our futures, rather than give up on us and into big oil companies. We needed to remind him of the promises he had made to us in the past.

1:00 pm

Over a thousand amazing students make their way to the white house fence. 398 of them enter the arrest-able zone and tie themselves to the white house fence or die in the symbolic oil spill. 6 of your fellow BC students were among those to be arrested for civil disobedience.  They were incredibly brave and stoic and have earned tremendous respect.

When the cops arise to fence off the area they are extremely calm and friendly, joking with the protestors and showing their support of the peaceful student demonstration. When they finally announce that they are going to begin the arrests, the whole crowd cheers.

Somewhere, someone in the crowd screams “I love you” and the chant continues as the first protesters are arrested and loaded onto transport vehicles. Not even the cops and tourists can help but be moved by the passionate crowd. The arrests continue until well past 5 pm and the crowds remain to support their friends, peers and heroes.

Monday March 2

4:45 am

We spill out of the busses onto the quiet Boston sidewalks. We are delirious but freshly energized. Still on the high that comes with acting on something you believe in and realizing that your voice does have power, we make our way back to campus. Quiet and reflective it is clear that this weekend in DC was the experience of a lifetime.

We are ready to come back to Boston College with a fresh outlook and new ideas. We have seen what our generation can do when we put our minds to it and we have nothing but the highest of hopes for the BC community.

While climate change does pose a daunting challenge for our futures, it also offers an incredible opportunity for leadership and innovation.

WE ARE YOUNG, WE ARE POWERFUL AND WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

Young people standing up for our future at KXL Dissent

What: KXL Dissent: Student Organized Action in Washington DC
When: March 1-2
Where: The White House
Why: There is an urgency for action to stop climate change, and students around the country are organizing to tell Obama to take a stand on climate justice. The infrastructure we’re building right now, like the KXL pipeline, is determining the fate of our planet. We refuse to sit back idly while our elected representatives lock us into a dismal future, so we’re locking ourselves to the White House to send a symbolic message to Obama and the nation. There are will be students from well over 75 schools across the country. From BC, we have 11 confirmed! From other schools there are 800+ students attending and 300+ planning to risk arrest, and we expect those numbers to continue to rise.  Being a part of this event is monumental. It’s the kind of thing that when folks ask what you did stop the incredible injustice that is the climate crisis, you’ll say, “I went down to DC and locked myself to the White House!”

How: Sign up for the action here. And the buses from Boston here. We will be leaving on Friday, 2/28 at 11PM for the overnight ride to DC. We will be returning after the action on Sunday, 3/2 for the overnight trip back home, and will arrive at dusk on Monday morning.

For those who can’t make it: If you would like to help get more people to DC, go here, where you can donate to the buses from Boston. To support the action in general, go here. To contribute directly to BCFF, you’ll have to give cash to a BCFF person or you can make a check payable to bobby wengronowitz, who will make sure the BC crew puts it to good use. We already have 11 BC folks signed up!  You can mail to:

BCFF HQ, c/o bobby wengronowitz

410A McGuinn Hall
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467