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Friday, May 17, 2013

Suggested Reading: Fossil Fuel Divestment

Fossil Fuel Divestment 

I asked you to get vocal about the environment in Green Challenge #7. What exactly is going on right now in the world of environmental activism? I’ve already discussed Keystone XL and fracking on Viridorari, but there’s another big movement happening right now, and it’s gaining steam.

Fossil fuel divestment.

Divestment is the opposite of investment- it’s withdrawing current investments or avoiding investing in particular companies. Divestment was popular in the 1980’s to end apartheid in South Africa by withdrawing investments from companies that profited from South Africa. Although the actual economic impact of the South African divestment was minimal, it made a big statement to representatives and legislatures and paved the way for policy change.

And policy change is exactly what Bill McKibben and, the instigators of this movement, want. McKibben has recently been encouraging colleges and universities around the United States to divest their stocks in fossil fuel companies, in particular, the 200 companies on’s list. Even if the economic impact isn’t big, the social and moral statement will be. Many colleges boast their environmental friendliness on campus, but then don’t put their money where their mouths are when it comes to investments. (Visit's website here.)
Even a few cities have chosen to take steps to divesting from fossil fuels. On April 26th, announced that eleven cities across the U.S. were committing themselves to divestment: Madison, WI; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Boulder, CO; Berkeley, CA; Ithaca, NY; Bayfield, WI; State College, PA; Richmond, CA; Eugene, OR; and Santa Fe, NM.

Of course, there are two sides to this story. As an incoming college freshman, I understand now more than ever the exorbitant costs of higher education and the need for cheaper, stabilized college tuition. It’s easier for smaller universities to divest, but for larger universities like Cornell and Harvard, tuition would have to rise steeply to make up for the money lost from divesting.

I think the article I found for today’s suggested reading does a great job of exploring the pros and cons of the fossil fuel divestment movement, and I hope it will allow you to developed an informed opinion about the issue. Kevin Kiley’s article, “It’s Only Getting Hotter,” is from Inside Higher Ed, a daily online publication focused on college topics. It was published on April 13th.
Read “It’s Only Getting Hotter” here, and tell me what you think in the comments section below. Do you have some good reading material for Viridorari’s “Suggested Reading” Section? Email me at

P.S. If you're inspired by this moral movement for divestment, get vocal about it! Contact your representatives and legislators to tell them you support divestment, and rally up some friends and start a local movement of your own.

Animal of the Month Update

The golden lion tamarin is named for its bright orange pelt and the particularly long hairs around its face, giving it a mane reminiscent of a lion. It is believed that the tamarin developed its orange hair from sunlight and carotenoids (organic pigments) in its food.

The tamarin’s locomotion is quadrupedal, making its movements more similar to a squirrel’s than a primate’s.

The tamarin has elongated hands and fingers, and it uses its long fingers to extract prey from crevices and dense forest growth. This behavior is called micromanipulation.

In this photo, you can see the tamarin's long fingers


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