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November 24, 2016

Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Climate change isn’t a debate. It’s real, it’s here, it’s happening. The most tragic part of climate change is those that contribute the least to it will be the most impacted by it.

That said, it wasn’t until the past three months I’ve educated myself about the steps I can take today to affect climate change in a positive way. I recently took the large step of divesting my 401K investments, and reallocating to a fossil fuel free fund. A friend texted me and asked why I divested and I told him it was a social statement more than anything. The following passage from CNN Money explains the basic premise of divestment well:

The point of divestment isn’t just to do it, but to fight over it. As Matt Yglesias argued at Vox.com this week, divestment will be most effective if it changes the conversation. It aims to draw attention to oil, gas, and coal companies and to stigmatize them, chipping away their social and political power. (“Revoking their social license,” McKibben has called it.) New fund options could help the divestment movement mainly by making their demands on schools and institutions more plausible.

I’ve also changed the way I approached helping address climate change. Previously, it was overwhelming to think about how I as one individual could help. Instead of solving the issue overnight, I think we can, and have been taking incremental steps toward reducing our fossil fuel dependence.

The popular red meat (beef) requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11 times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions. -The Guardian

I drive a gasoline fueled car, and I still fly all over the country as a technology consultant. I recognize I’m still a major contributor to climate change. But the following are some of the steps I’ve been taking:

  • I’m more diligent planning where I need to go to ensure I’m optimizing my time in a car.
  • I turn off my engine when it makes sense to as opposed staying in idle.
  • I’ve increase my usage of public transit when available.
  • I installed a Nest thermostat to more effectively manage heat/AC usage in my home.
  • My lights are faithfully turned off when they aren’t being used.
  • Chicken is now my main source of protein and beef is treated as a occasional treat.

I also plan on supporting and advocating for elected officials who are about putting effective policies in place to address climate change.