Monday, October 05, 2015

Divesting Is Easy, Abstention Is Imperative

Update 10/8: Brazil To Auction Amazon Fracking Licences

And yes, Shell, the company people are thanking for pulling out of the Arctic (for their own business reasons) is one of the companies vying for blocks to now kill the lungs of the Earth. How do we stop this assault on our planet and our water if we are going to continue consuming the product they are destroying our resources to get at? It is the same as supporting Nestle while they steal water off indigenous tribal land. We and our wallets are the real problem. We can divest all well and good. However, unless they start to see a real shift in their profits we are running out of time.


Anyone following the so called climate movement recently knows that the word divest is a big one. Certain groups have been pushing for universities, institutions, etc. to divest their holdings in fossil fuels. They claim this will be the silver bullet in keeping us from the climate point of no return. Now, on the surface this does sound like a good way to move money out of fossil fuels. However, it is no silver bullet and in fact may just be a cleverly devised smokescreen to lull us into a false sense of security regarding "solutions" because we still have fossil fuel subsidies and pipelines going up all over this globe.

Of course, I am not one to totally dismiss anything that sincerely seeks to address the destruction we humans continue to wreck upon this Earth and its resources. However, in reading about the divestment movement I get the feeling it is one big PR campaign for the rich and when you dig deeper you have to wonder: are all those calling for divesting (including yacht loving celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio) really accomplishing anything?

How many who are involved in this have also pledged abstention regarding using and consuming petroleum products? There are two halves to this equation, although we never quite hear anyone announcing they will abstain from consumption of fossil fuels. They still fly, consume fossil fuel energy and again mention nothing about the damage fossil fuel consumption does to our waterways. It seems that for the most part, the climate movement has turned into one big investment soft sell. Divesting is one thing, abstention is really the sticky part of it. Until we can actually abstain and seek the moral will to live a life free of the trappings of fossil fuels, is just divesting some holdings really going to do much at this point?

I ask because as I survey the climate landscape especially in regards to water it isn't good. We have already passed into a phase that suggests abrupt climate change is at our door step. Just this past week we saw over twenty inches of rain dumped on South Carolina due to Hurricane Joaquin which was hundreds of miles off shore. Anyone following the maps would also have noticed the mangled jet stream that eerily resembled the path Superstorm Sandy took as it came up from the Caribbean. Arctic Amplification, which I have posted about before has been part of this. Yet, we still do not hear these words in media or even from many climate groups. Why is that?

My point being is that at the point we see this Earth at divesting seems to just be a bandaid meant to placate donors to climate organizations and lull followers into thinking we are really saving the world from ourselves. That's all well and good for a rich university or celebrity, but what about the poor? As long as the fossil fuel industry is continually allowed to build pipelines, destroy waterways, frack the Earth and use greenwashing as a way to escape culpability while producing a product still in demand, there is far to go and not much time to get there. I think at this point, divesting has to lead to abstention. If not, the product continues to flow regardless of where those holdings go and that is in antithesis to what scientists now state must be the action: keeping it in the ground to begin with. As I stated above, if this is indeed sincere it is at least something. However, it is no silver bullet without that other half. As long as that other half remains true solutions are elusive.

Also see:

The Arctic, Humanity's Barometer


Jim said...

Shell deciding not to drill for oil in the arctic was great news that none of us expected to hear.

J Moore said...

"For now" I believe is the key phrase and because conditions in the Arctic now are something Shell hadn't expected... in other words, it didn't look profitable for them at this time as they already experienced an accident and the stigma of another Gulf ecocide was more than their PR could take. Which of course, is a good thing. They will however, find other ways to profit and drill... and people will continue consuming their products (which is why abstention is imperative) as they continue to get away with responsibility for what they did to Niger and other places globally. This is also about a war taking shape in the Arctic. Perhaps the US government had a say in Shell leaving in order for Russia to get concessions there in lieu of what is going on in Syria and Asian markets. Nothing is ever done by these companies because they suddenly grow a conscience.

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