To the Editor,
“We are exposed to rape when we go long distances to fetch water.”
This is what goes through the mind of a 13-year-old Ethiopian girl every day when she has to go alone to find water for her family.
“Mainland people, please consider giving us a patch of land to live on,” begs the patriarch of a Carteret Island clan whose homeland has been swallowed up by the rising sea.
“Yes, we have climate change education in Bangladesh. For example, a boy does a project in which he puts his bed on pulleys to allow it to be lifted above the level of next season’s floods.”
These are the canaries in a climate change coal mine. On average, they emit one-hundredth of the carbon dioxide of an average American, barely a breath more than what they exhale.
Someone or something is suppressing these stories, and it goes by the name of Business As Usual. Fossil fuel companies continue their explorations for additional reserves, despite the fact that the world can’t afford to burn what’s already been found. Business As Usual. Investors continue to invest in these companies, even though their value is based on wanton destruction of our ecosystems. Business As Usual.
Large research universities refuse to divest from fossil fuel companies, counting on profits from such investments to sustain (?!) their future (?!) research and teaching missions. Business As Usual. Except for brief periods following too-strong storms, too-long droughts and too-hot forest fires, our leaders are numbed by Business As Usual.
Who will stand for justice? Who will stand for reason? Who will challenge Business As Usual?
Students: Vote to divest in Wednesday’s referendum.
Faculty: Go online, sign the petition and leave a comment.
Jonathan E. Kenny
Professor of Chemistry