The key to winning victories against big oil? Perseverance

The key to winning victories against big oil? Perseverance

Bill McKibben writes:

Vermont’s Middlebury College announced on Wednesday that it was divesting its holdings in fossil fuel companies. Given that more than a thousand institutions with endowments totaling more than $8tn have made similar pledges, it might not seem so newsworthy – but Middlebury was one of the first to reverse course. Six years ago the college flatly rejected divestment, and the shift makes it clear why big oil’s purchase on our economy and our society is eroding.

Much of the explanation, of course, stems from local factors, and since I’m employed there I’ve had a firsthand view. The college’s students never gave up, passing on the activist torch to each new entering freshman class – indeed, some of the students who pioneered the fight were on hand for today’s announcement. And along the way the college got a new president: religion scholar Laurie Patton proved an adept conciliator able to help her institution move.

But the background has also changed over those six years, in ways that made Middlebury’s board of trustees, many of them drawn from the financial world, more likely to divest – and that will likely make the college a bellwether even for other rich institutions in the orbit of Wall Street. [Continue reading…]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.