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Climate Activists Hit Hard With 'Do the Math' National Tour

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Politics and Democracy page.

Los Angeles-Less than a week after the presidential election, a fired-up crowd of climate activists cheered Bill McKibben and the "Do the Math" roadshow at their UCLA stop. "Do the Math" is on a three-week caravan traveling by biodiesel-powered bus, with a stop in Washington, DC, to challenge the president to take quick action on the environment.

The twenty-one-city tour promises to be a model for progressives committed to aggressively pushing Obama and Congress even before Obama's second term formally begins in January.

One hundred chanting, marching students attended the UCLA event from the Claremont Colleges, fifty miles away, to announce their campaign to seek a campus divestment from the "rogue" fossil fuel industry. Already this week Seattle's mayor instructed his finance team to investigate how to divest city funds, and Maine's Unity College announced its plan to divest.

350.org, the sponsoring organization for "Do the Math," is calling on colleges, religious institutions and public pension funds to make no new investments in fossil fuels, "wind down" current investments in five years. Divestment would lead fossil fuel providers to begin to curtail lobbying activities in Washington, DC, and prepare to transition to a future as "energy companies." The strategy is partly modeled on the global campaign of divestment from South Africa, although the analogy is incomplete. South Africans were carrying out a liberation war that could not be defeated, with powerful African-American and clergy constituencies in America. Legislators like Maxine Waters and Willie Brown carried divestment bills for seven years before being signed in California, tipping the balance against apartheid. Despite its efforts, 350 is not inclusive of black or Latino constituencies although is message is one of environmental justice. The UCLA event was overwhelmingly white on a campus where a majority of undergraduates are non-white.  


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