I have been avoiding lectures on global warming lately.
I already find the information I know to be quite overwhelming.
So my choice to hear Bill McKibben speak this past weekend (for my birthday, no less) was an odd one for me, but I’m glad I attended.
I usually avoid hearing the devastating details of Earth Changes across the globe.
Not because I don’t care, but because I care too much.
I become so distraught from the information, that more news usually leaves me in a depressed state and my own positive action decreases for a while.
I typically see Bill McKibben’s work and the work of other activists (fantastic activists, btw) like Al Gore as a bit of a downer.
And, while it is an important dose of reality, in my day-to-day effort to improve my life and shift consciousness and behaviors (my own and others) to one that is healthful to Mother Earth, the devastating awareness and sense of overwhelm is not helpful to me.
But I do take a peek once in a while to know the updated environmental changes to find out where we are at. Bill McKibben is a good source for that.
I guess that’s why I felt compelled to go.
In truth, it was an excellent lecture and different (in a good way) than what I expected.
It was important that I was there because it was the first time I had heard a laser-targeted goal from one of these activists (McKibben, Gore, etc) that wasn’t just stuff like “drive less” or “show up for protests”.
This was the first time I had experienced a lecture directed to earth protectors that was presented with a focused goal.
I have always felt that many protests were fragmented to singular situations like Standing Rock or fracking, but this solution that will cut the head off the entire dirty energy monster.
GOAL: Demand Chase Bank Divest From Dirty Energy Projects
If the system of dirty energy is a house of cards, defunding new and current projects is like removing a few cards from the bottom.
Divestment will knock down the entire sketchy system and allow a system to be rebuilt with a clean energy infrastructure that is in alignment with the planet’s well being.
I am feeling positive about this goal because a leading environmentalist that is not just talking about “stopping the wheel” of a singular unhealthy environmental system or practice, but “breaking the wheel” of all of the dirty energy systems by refusing to feed those systems with money. (Game of Thrones quote provides a good visual.)
If you are reading this, I’m pretty sure you are in the same boat as me.
You know that where we are headed in terms of global warming is bad, and you’ve read enough stories and you are willing to change or to implement change.
But often that is where the devastating information (Gore’s movies and other global warming information) leaves you. No real actionable information. No focus point to convert the whole system.
“Yes, yes, write to my representative. Got it.
Yes, yes, drive less. Minimize air travel. Turn the lights off. Got it.
I have done everything you ask. Why aren’t things getting better?”– Me and many other environmentalists
My favorite part of McKibben’s lecture is that for the first time, the conversation focused on one specific and powerful strategy toward tearing down the whole system of dirty energy, and here it is…
McKibben said that they have found the greatest success in stopping new dirty energy projects by stopping the sources of money that invest in dirty energy projects.
The biggest financial contributor right now to dirty energy projects (such as new oil drilling, fracking, deep-sea drilling, etc) is Chase Bank, so the focused effort right now and the GOAL will be to demand Chase Bank divest from such projects.
This is something measurable and powerful.
This is clarity.
This is something that could change everything toward the positive swiftly.
If greed is what drives companies (like oil companies) to continue to create dirty energy projects and money seems to drive everything in this world, then the endgame requires us to look at how to cut off the money to these projects and make it a lot less lucrative.
If this money was redirected into clean energy projects (solar, wind, and hydro) the impact would be fantastic.
Here is the relevant website: https://www.stopthemoneypipeline.com/
Watch this video for more information:
There will opportunities to get involved in protests on April 23, and this is a fantastic way to celebrate Earth Day and speak out on behalf of Mother Earth. Sign up for the Stop The Money Pipeline newsletter (at the bottom of the page) for updates.
I also encourage you to sign up for 350.org newsletter, to get the relevant information about the activism related to Chase.
Try NOT to get too depressed about the sad penguins and thirsty koalas that they are always emailing about.
(The struggle is real, and it is an internal struggle as well as an external, global one. Take self-sustaining practices seriously. Morale is vital for positive change.)
Dirty Energy Projects Need Insurance So Let’s Cut That Too
In addition to funding, the other aspect that is vital to the creation of dirty energy projects is insurance, so there are also actions being taken to stop that as well.
That is the second “laser-focused” goal: pressure insurance companies that insure dirty energy projects (deep-sea drilling, fracking, pipelines, etc) to stop insuring them.
McKibben mentioned that Liberty Mutual is the company that insures many of the dirty energy projects, so that will be a focus in the coming year.
This information is also on the Stop The Money Pipeline website.
This Divestment of Money From Dirty Energy Must Happen Fast
That’s all we have to turn this Titanic situation around.
If you are familiar with me and my work, you know that my focus is on permaculture and encouraging people to align their lives with the health of Mother Earth and her systems and beings.
But the habits of humans are based on the overarching systems of society (most of the time – there’s always the fringe, which is where I thrive as a permaculturist) and grow out of these systems.
Changing human habits and individual systems is just one part of it and there will always be a portion of the population (often a large part) that either actively says no to change or hasn’t heard of how to live better.
I spend a lot of my time thinking about that, and it usually spirals into future scenarios that seem as devastating as the books I now avoid reading.
How do you get 8 billion people to change their habits?
But what I love about going after the funding and banks that supply money for dirty energy and the insurers of dirty energy, is that it doesn’t require the change of habits of 8 billion people.
It requires the change of a handful of companies.
Money and investments can move things quickly and reaching those companies is the way to do it.
And it requires, according to Bill McKibben, 4-5% of the population, which is encouraging because we are already there… we just have to be more focused on our intention. 🙂
I had a large patch of ivy in the garden that had taken over and killed everything in its path.
The ivy had wrapped around the small trees and shrubs, strangled them and claimed first dibs on the water in that area.
Last summer, we pulled the ivy up by the roots and planted vincas.
This is analogous to what needs to happen with the flow of money to dirty, destructive energy systems and the companies that perpetuate those systems.
If you look at this in an analogous way, it is the pulling up ivy by the root so that vincas and other plants can grow, rather than just clipping the ivy leaves which is what we had done in previous years.
In this analogy, current destructive human behaviors are the leaves of the ivy. People are just doing what they do. They are idling their SUVs outside their kids’ schools for 45 minutes to pick them up. They are buying plastic water bottles (plastic is a petroleum product) by the hundreds at Costco. And so on…
But if vincas and other new plants (perhaps healthful nitrogen fixers like clover and some pollinators for the bees) represent future healthful, balanced human behavior, we need to clear the way by pulling up the roots of dirty energy.
I am glad I attended the lecture by Bill McKibben because finally there is a focused goal to the activism and the awareness of the brokenness of the current systems, and I can see it and finally how to change it globally.
Finally, we have a focus that can pull these dirty energy systems up by the root so that systems that are more healthful to people and planet can grow.
“Want to do Something about Climate Change? Follow The Money” (New York Times)
Bill McKibben’s Latest Book: Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?