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Mobilize The Young

Mobilize the Young

Image source: www.flickr.com/photos/350org

In an effort to mobilize the younger generation toward reducing carbon emissions and decreasing dependence on fossil fuels, the organization 350.org has launched a campaign aimed at persuading colleges and universities to divest their assets away from fossil fuel companies.

The campaign is student-led, and coordinated by 350.org, a climate advocacy organization founded by author and activist Bill McKibben.

Instead of utilizing fiscal or environmental arguments to persuade people and companies to move away from fossil fuel consumption, the organization’s goal is to turn global warming action into the moral issue of this generation.

The campaign gathers its own data—which can be biased, though it appears it is not—and also uses outside data to prove the necessity for action. According to data gathered, the world can release just 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere to limit global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius to mitigate extreme danger.

The problem though, according to 350.org, is that fossil fuel companies have another 2,795 gigatons in their reserves that they want to burn.

The campaign has spread extremely fast across the nation’s colleges and universities, and continues to do so. The manner in which the discussion is framed, i.e. as a moral and ethical decision, has made it easier to spread; it makes it easier for administration on campuses to divest funds away from fossil fuel investments.

“Bottom line, for a college or university, you do not want your institution to be on the wrong side of this issue,” said Stephen Mulkey, president of Unity College in Maine.

Coming on the heels of the campaign, the government of British Columbia announced that oil giant Shell is withdrawing its plans to drill for gas in the Sacred Headwaters, and that gas drilling is banned in the area. Shell is still moving forward with plans to drill off the coast of Alaska, but the denial from the British Columbian government is certainly a setback.

‘Divest’ campaigns coupled with government rejection of continued dependence on fossil fuels could be a recipe for environmental advocacy and fossil fuel reduction success.

Mobilize the Young

Image source: www.flickr.com/photos/350org

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