Divestment

To all members of the Kalamazoo College community:

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Over the past decade it seems that there has been an uproar among colleges, both big and small, around the conversation of fossil fuel divestment. Over 830 institutions internationally have set out to divest from fossil fuels, whether it’s starting a campaign or winning one.

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As many movement spaces often do, the day began in a circle. One hundred young people – high school students, college students, and twenty-somethings – gathered around a huge parachute laid on the floor with big green letters reading ‘Leave it in the ground! Resist!’ It was early on a Friday morning, and people had traveled from as far as North Dakota, Michigan, and Ohio.

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This blog post was written by Vignesh Ramachandran, a student organizer with Divest Middlebury, on why he’s joining the Our Generation, Our Choice mobilization.

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WE WILL NOT REST!

August 21, 2015

My name is Kieran Williams, and I’m an organizer for fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment at Kalamazoo College. I’ve been a part of this fight for a while now, but by no means do I consider myself a seasoned organizer or activist. I’ve been involved with divestment and reinvestment on my campus for only about a year now, and I got involved with tar sands resistance just a few months ago. I have been in constant struggle balancing all of the campaigns we are fighting and trying to determine where exactly my body, my voice, my talents, and especially my passions are most useful.

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My name is Sean Estelle and I am an alumnus of the University of California, San Diego (Class of 2013).  I am the National Divestment Campaigner for Energy Action Coalition, and I’m building a long-term movement for student power to transform our institutions of higher education until they are truly committed to issues of climate justice and social justice.

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In the five weeks since the Virginia March for Divestment and Virginia Power Shift (VAPS), there has been a monumental shift in Virginia campus activism, and an explosion of activity in the Virginia student divestment movement.

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Growing up just outside of Houston, in a suburb containing the 6th largest refinery in the United States, the fossil fuel industry was all-encompassing in my childhood. From confusing the refineries’ smoke stacks for what I thought were “cloud-makers,” to knowing far too many family members - beside myself - with developed asthma, I was always peripherally aware of the fossil fuel industry, but never considered deeply what it meant to be raised in the center of an extractive economy.

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It's been a hard summer. Climate change contributed to the growth of toxic algae that poisoned the water supply of half a million people in Toledo, Ohio.

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Over at Energy Action Coalition, we’ve had tremendous fun with bringing together “Storyteller Teams” at big events. What’s a storyteller team, you ask? It’s a grassroots team of people who are dedicated to using the power of social media to share and promote movement stories from a conference or event. We’ve had kick-ass Storyteller Teams at Power Shift ‘13 and the SF Divestment Convergence, and together, these teams have reached and inspired hundreds of thousands of people.

Storyteller Teams don’t just happen on their own - they require some planning and recruiting and training and good old cat herding. Below are 9 tips (or rather, lessons we’ve learned) for recruiting and unleashing completely all-star storyteller teams.

Post by Mary Schellentrager and Joe Solomon, Energy Action Coalition

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