As I mentioned in my post on how I visualize fossil fuel divestment, the movement bypasses the government–which is ineffective and currently untrusted–and targets the fossil fuel industry.
But one of the major arguments that I hear against divestment is that we should be fighting for political legislation and political wins.
Yes, the end goal of divestment is to open up space in the political system, but there is a reason why we’ve pivoted to target the fossil fuel industry instead of continuing to push through government legislation. We know that the power of the fossil fuel lobby is too strong for any meaningful climate legislation.
Case in point: On February 17th, 50,000 people rallied in Washington DC to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. But last week, the Senate passed a non-binding approval of Keystone XL. Why? Mostly because they were paid to. According to The Price Of Oil, a pro-Keystone Senator received 3.5 times more money from the fossil fuel industry than an anti-KXL Senator.
So we tried (as have people in the past) to go the political route. But it doesn’t work because of powerful lobbying forces.
The power of the fossil fuel industry and their current unrestricted social pass cannot continue. That is why we divest–to advocate for a government that is truly representative of the people and listens to our voices. And right now, our voices call for action on climate change.