Climate change is a really, really big issue. Big in the sense it can be almost impossible to wrap your head around.
The problem is global.
The effects span hundreds of years.
The causes are multitudinous.
Perhaps because of these factors, responsibility is scarce.
For example, when it comes to carbon emissions many people believe Australia’s responsibility is minimal. It’s true we emit just 1.14% of global carbon dioxide. Never mind the fact that it’s the highest per-capita of any developed nation. Or that we’re the world’s largest coal exporter (because technically it’s not our fault if the people who buy our coal end up burning it.)
At street level the apathy is even more pronounced. No matter how many enviro bags you buy; or how many times you catch public transport instead of driving; no single person possibly stop the inevitably rising temperatures. It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of monolithic companies committed by their business models to pumping carbon into the atmosphere.
But thankfully that’s not true. You CAN make a difference. Which leads me to the point of this post; divestment.
When a company is doing good things, you invest in it. But when it starts doing things you disagree with, you can take your money out. That’s divestment.
Today (and tomorrow) happen to be Global Divestment Day. And even though you probably don’t know it, you most likely have money somewhere supporting the fossil fuel industry.
Maybe it’s your super account. Or your bank. Or your electricity provider. Today is the day you find out. Today is the day you have the power to stop supporting fossil fuels.
Switching your superannuation is easy, and makes a big difference. Collectively Australians have about $1.8 trillion in their super funds.
Personally I’ve switched my money to Future Super, Australia’s first fossil-fuel-free super fund. It took less than an hour of my time and cut thousands from the fossil fuel budget.
I know my bank doesn’t invest in fossil fuels, but I double checked anyway. Want to know if your bank or credit union invests in fossil fuels? Use this handy graph.
Finally I changed energy provider. Greenpeace recently ranked all Australian electricity retailers in one handy comparison. You can find it here.
Divestment is trendy right now. The University of Sydney recently announced plans to reduce its investment in carbon-related industries by 20%. The Australian National University has already withdrawn $16 million from resources companies, to the ire of many in the government. Musicians like John Butler and Missy Higgins have joined a growing number of Australians involved in the movement.
So take some time out of your day to find out how much you’re unwittingly investing in the fossil fuel industry. Send a message to the big corporations by divesting your money.
You have the power to make the switch.