by Sophie Harrison, ’16 + Graham Provost, ’13
As Stanford students, we are surrounded by research that brings into stark relief the profound implications of climate change. With ever-increasing clarity we recognize the disastrous impact it will have on the natural world, on humanity, and particularly on vulnerable communities in the developing world. Climate change poses a threat to future quality of life worldwide, and as our society continues to head down a calamitous emissions trajectory, we cannot postpone action any longer.
Amidst this gloom there is a ray of hope: a growing movement. Last weekend, 50,000 people gathered in front of the White House, and thousands more assembled in solidarity across the country. We called on President Obama to move forward on climate and reject the disastrous Keystone XL pipeline. And, in the past few months, a movement has spread to more than 250 colleges. Students across the country are calling on our schools to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
Political action is crucial, but will remain illusive as long as the fossil fuel industry maintains its tight grip on our political system. We need a movement that shakes up the status quo. We do not have money or power on our side, but we do have the truth – the truth that fossil fuel companies are profiting exorbitantly from the wreckage of our planet. This is not a respectable business model; it is a deplorable enterprise. We must send a message to these corporations, to our elected leaders, and to the world, that digging up more coal, oil, and gas as fast as possible is not a morally acceptable path forward.
Universities can be among the first to take a stand and say that business as usual is no longer defensible. As students, we should not allow our educations to be financed at the expense of our futures. Tackling climate change is not only in our own best interest, but also in the interest of future generations. Unless we wish to leave our children a world ravaged by climate devastation, we must not continue to invest in the fossil fuel industry.
Stanford is jumping on board the movement. Last quarter, we marched to President Hennessy’s office to deliver a letter calling on Stanford to divest. Now, we’re building support for the campaign through outreach and a petition. Most importantly, we are working to expand the dialogue. On February 27th, from 6-7pm in Nitery 209, we’re hosting a Divestment Dinner, and we hope you’ll join us. Please come if you’ve got questions, concerns, and ideas, or are looking for ways to get involved.
We look forward to hearing from you, and to moving forward toward climate stability together.
Sophie Harrison is a freshman with a passion for environmental and social justice. She is a climate activist, wilderness enthusiast and singer (mostly in the shower) who hails from Vancouver, Canada. Graham Provost is a senior and master’s student in the Atmosphere and Energy program. He is dedicated to working through all avenues, social, political, and technological to make our society and out planet more sustainable.