Divestment – Letter writing Campaign
Pathway to Paris creates innovative platforms that call for divestment and highlights the importance of divesting in order to move towards a sustainable, renewable world.
On November 5th, 2017, Pathway to Paris held an event at Carnegie Hall in partnership with 350.org and United Nations Development Programme, bringing together musicians, activists, writers, politicians to share in a night of music, talks, and unifying experiences all with a shared vision of turning the Paris Agreement into reality and moving into the era of renewable energy. Among the speakers and performers was Bill McKibben, climate change leader and writer, and one of the founders of 350.org. During his time onstage, he asked the audience to remove the DivestNY insert from their playbills, and use it to write a letter to NY Comptroller Scott Stringer, urging him to divest New York’s pension fund from fossil fuels. Together, New York’s pension funds are among the largest in the world, representing a combined $390 billion.
For what felt like a historic moment, Bill silently waited as the full hall read the information on the insert and wrote their letters. After the event, the audience was asked to drop the letters off in the lobby at the 350NYC table, or mail them directly. A few days later, 350 and Pathway to Paris mailed the collected 3000 letters to Scott Stringer’s office, while also sending out calls to action for anyone else in the city to send their own letters or visit DivestNY to send an email. A climate hearing with Public Advocate Tisch James was scheduled, and it was urgent that anyone available attend the hearing and make a testimony. The turnout was great, and the diversity of voices who shared their views, stories, facts, findings, solutions was absolutely incredible.
On January 10th, after over five years of community campaigning for New York to divest from fossil fuels, Mayor de Blasio and City Comptroller Scott Stringer confirmed the proposal to freeze all current fossil fuel investments, divest New York’s public pension funds fossil fuel companies, and reinvest in renewable energy. Mayor De Blasio also announced that New York City will be suing five major oil companies, seeking damages for the costs of infrastructure improvements to contend with the effects of climate change. Bill McKibben issued the following statement: “The dam has broken: after years of great activism, New York has taken a massive step towards divesting from fossil fuels. Coming from the capital of world finance, this will resonate loud and clear all over the planet. It’s a crucial sign of how fast the financial pendulum is swinging away from fossil fuels.”
This is such a major victory and proof that grassroots activism using your voice, writing letters, speaking out, pushing for and attending hearings, working together, building the numbers, it all WORKS.