New Years Resolutions for the Divestment Movement

Whatever your opinion on the tactic, it’s hard to argue that in 2013 fossil fuel divestment campaigns spread like wildfire around the globe. One of the fastest growing, and probably most talked about climate campaigns in the last year (if not decade) divestment is a new front in the climate movement.

Despite (or maybe because of) divestment’s rapid growth, victories – especially large ones – are still few, setting 2014 up as a big year for campaigns both on and off campus.  Like any campaign, we still have a long way to go, and so with that I came up with some person reflections on divestment and resolutions for 2014.


Fossil Free Frosh Week!

Summer’s ending, class is starting, and you can bet divestment will be the number one topic on everyone’s mind this year! We’retsandz super excited about the back-to-school momentum that has been building up on campuses across Canada. Between hard-hitting op-eds, film screenings, and citywide conversations to unite the efforts of campus divestment efforts, it’s clear that this movement is starting the year with a bang.

The national movement through the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition (CYCC) has been building over the summer as well. The Tar Sands Reality Check tour is being organized to bring divestment momentum to your city through speakers, trainings and local actions. PowerShift BC will be an incredible gathering of passionate young climate activists to spark the next burst of climate justice actions across Canada.

To kick-start these efforts, we’re excited to announce a nationwide week of action: a Fossil Free Frosh! Across Canada, local divestment chapters are sparking conversation and getting new students engaged through creative initiatives. From September 9th – 13th, we’ll set the stage for meaningful climate action the coming months. Tell us what’s going on at your campus!


Tar Sands Reality Check Tour!

In the past year, over 300 campaigns to divest campus endowments from fossil fuels have been aunched across North America. This new wave in the climate movement – what the Nation and Rolling Stone magazines are calling the “largest student movement in decades” – has sparked a new energy in students pushing for their voices to be heard in shaping Canada and the world’s climate and energy future.

At the same time in Canada, the tar/oil sands have continued to expand in size, and in influence over politics and policies in Canada. The last two years have seen environmental policies rolled back, funding cut, and the launch of a $16 million tax-payer advertising campaign to sell bitumen to Canadians and the world. There has never been a more important time for a reality check on climate change, fossil fuels and Canada’s energy future.


Divest McGill! An Open Letter to McGill’s Board of Governors

By Divest McGill

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Sign Onto the Letter

Dear Board of Governors of McGill University,

We write to you in light of the recent request to divest the university’s endowment from fossil fuel companies. We urge you to consider this request very seriously. Those of us who have signed the petition – students, faculty, staff and alumni – have done so because we are acutely aware that the issue of climate change merits urgent action. We stand with over 300 other universities across North America who are working on the same initiative, along with several municipalities and other institutions.


Canada’s Plan to Break the Carbon Bank

Originally in the Huffington Post

Last summer, 350.org founder Bill McKibben wrote an article for Rolling Stone called “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” The piece, based on research from the Carbon Track Initiative and backed up by the World Bank and International Energy Agency, laid out three numbers at the heart of the climate crisis. First, is the ceiling for temperature rise, the magic number of 2 degrees Celsius, the maximum warming that even Canada’s climate ignorant government has agreed to. The next number is our global carbon budget of 565 gigatonnes (Gt), the maximum amount we can emit to still have a decent chance of hitting that 2 degree threshold. The third, and scariest, number is 2,795 Gt, the proven reserves of the global fossil fuel industry, and all the carbon they are planning to burn.

All this adds up to sobering equation that to avoid catastrophic climate disruption, 80 per cent of the oil, coal and gas on our planet needs to stay underground, math that Canada’s Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver doesn’t seem to believe. Oliver really should be paying attention though, because if McKibben’s math was terrifying, new research from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives paints a grim picture of that it means for Canada.


Raising Money for the Fossil Fools

Last week, Toronto350 organized gathered ”donations” for Fossil Fools day. Check out the video from their action!

Fossil Fools Day Sweeps Campuses Across Canada

Yesterday, on campuses across Canada students brought the fossil fuel divestment movement to Canada with a bang. The national day of student action, called Fossil Fools Day, was organized to call out “an industry that is planning to cook the planet, is responsible for destroying land, polluting the air and water, and violating the rights of people around the world and an industry whose business model means burning over five times the amount of carbon our planet can handle.”

Actions called on campus administration to divest their campuses endowments from fossil fuels, and gathered signatures from hundreds of students across Canada in support. Check out some photos from the actions below.

University of Victoria

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Dump petro stocks, students tell UNB

Originally published in The Daily Gleaner


When three Renaissance College students in Fredericton with a passion for the environment were handed a class assignment in leadership, they decided to tap into a national movement in the hope of making a real difference.

Richelle Martin, Kayley Reed and Christina Wilson are the co-founders of Fossil Free UNB.

Martin said the campaign was created about a month ago out of a leadership and community projects class in an effort to raise awareness about climate change.


Carbon bubbles and fossil fuel divestment – New Report from the Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives

Originally Posted at Behind the Numbers

Divestment from fossil fuels is an idea whose time has come. Sparked by Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone article last summer, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”, divestment campaigns are now up and running on over 300 university campuses in the US, with 4 early victories already notched. Students in Canada have declared tomorrow (March 27) Fossil Fools Day, a national day of action, with many campuses launching divestment campaigns.

This makes for great timing for us to release a new national report, Canada’s Carbon Liabilities: The Implications of Stranded Fossil Fuel Assets for Financial Markets and Pension Funds (summary below). We “do the math” on Canadian fossil fuel reserves, in the context of a global carbon budget of 500 Gt. This builds on the great work of the Carbon Tracker Initiative, who found that too much “unburnable carbon“ – known reserves of fossil fuels that are five times larger than what can “safely” be burned — made for a carbon bubble in the financial markets.


3 Major Student Societies Endorse Divestment at McGill

Originally posted in the McGill Daily

With a long-standing history of failure to reach quorum, and a year haunted by intersocietal tensions, the McGill Post-Graduate Students’ Society’s (PGSS) Annual General Meeting (AGM) passed motions calling for gender equity and tar sands divestment. The AGM lost quorum before voting against tuition indexation.

A special council meeting also appointed a new Chief Returning Officer (CRO), Colby Briggs, a former community assistant at Concordia University. The appointment comes after a tumultuous year for the organization that saw the resignation of three CROs, one due to very public tensions with council members.