National Divestment Day saw many Australians moving money from companies which profit from fossil fuels.
Many Australians are speaking up for climate change – with their wallets. A decision by the Australian National University (ANU) to cease investments in fossil fuels has provided a spark for Australians to challenge government policy on energy. And it’s ‘clean power’ they seem to want.
The National Divestment Day, which took place over the weekend, saw many Australians marching and switching their investments to banks and institutions which invest in renewable energy programs, calling into question the Abbott government's 'pro-coal' stance. Mr Abbott's response to this? "[They are] Stupid. Coal is good for humanity."
The Abbott Government has reduced existing climate change policy, by repealing the emissions trading scheme and defunding the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, leaving it unable to support any new projects. Our emissions trading scheme was once hailed as template legislation for the world to follow. Carbon emissions, which came down under the carbon tax scheme, are rising again.
The divestment movement shows the use of wallets as weapons. Organisations such as churches, universities and businesses are also moving their money out of companies which profit from fossil fuels.
Australians aren’t the only ones to speak up against fossil fuel investments. The Global Divest-Invest coalition in the US has approached some 650 individuals and 180 institutions, in a bid to get them to reinvest fossil fuel assets into renewable energy over the next five years. The heirs of the Rockefeller family, who have made their vast fortune in oil, have pledged to divest more than $56 million from fossil fuel investments to reinvest in clean energy.
Read more about National Divestment Day.
It's great to see a return to the ideals of the past, where the people are reclaiming the power to change the way a government does its business. The government is supposed to be looking out for the best interests of its people, after all. So when the people speak – and they are saying they want climate policy to be a priority – and the government does the opposite of what their constituents want, the best course of action is to hit 'em where it hurts – their wallet. (which ironically enough, is filled with our money.)
Mr Abbott's policies on climate change and renewable energy programs show that he's mainly looking out for the rich. He's looking out for big business. He's trying to make it as inexpensive as possible for his crony capitalist supporters to make even more money. He has slashed funding for education and health. He’s even having a go at pensions. It’s difficult to imagine the future which Mr Abbott envisages.
The National Divestment Day is a thing of beauty, which reminds me of the ‘power to the people’ sentiment of the 60s. How do we make corporations and governments listen? Take away their money. It is a powerful and clever protest action, which speaks volumes for the good people of this country. The war on IS, illegal immigration, refugees, religious and racial differences – these things are polarising subjects which matter a little less when we have a common cause – to save ourselves from extinction.
What do you think? Would you switch your accounts to a bank which supports renewable energy programs? Do you know if your investments, such as super, are working towards a cleaner future? Is the future of the planet important to you?
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