“If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”
— Bill McKibben
The 350 Madison Divestment Campaign is part of a global movement committed to defunding and delegitimizing the fossil fuel industry and encouraging investment in clean alternatives. The movement urges universities and colleges, local governments, religious organizations, retirement funds, and other institutions to:
- Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies;
- Within five years, divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds; and
- End fossil fuels sponsorship.
Right now, we are focusing on pressuring JPMorgan Chase to divest from the fossil fuel industry. When we bank with Chase, our hard-earned money goes to support oil pipelines. That’s because JPMorgan Chase gives loans to fossil fuel companies, like Enbridge. Without those loans, fossil fuel companies don’t have the cash to build their polluting projects. And where does the money for those loans come from? From our bank accounts.
JPMorgan Chase knows that its customers don’t support fossil fuels. That’s why they brand themselves as a “green bank”. But we’re not fooled by their lies, and we don’t have to help them give handouts to climate disrupters. We can make a statement by taking our savings elsewhere. You can start right here.
In the aftermath of Standing Rock and the larger mobilization to block fossil fuel expansion, the banks that finance fossil fuels have also become a target of the divestment movement. Mazaska Talks is taking a leading role in this effort.
Our campaign is grounded in a simple but powerful argument based on what Bill McKibben has called “global warming’s terrifying new math”—namely, that the fossil fuel industry has in its proven reserves four times as much carbon as scientists think we can burn and still have a hope of keeping temperature rise below 2° Celsius. Given the new math, McKibben says, we need to view the fossil-fuel industry in a new light. It has become a rogue industry, reckless like no other force on Earth. It is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization.
Divestment is therefore a moral and political strategy as well as an economic one. If it’s wrong to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.