Jordan Gilligan, Columnist

Fossil fuel companies are some of the largest and wealthiest companies on the planet. They have influence over our government and our planet. Fossil fuels have caused climate change and have turned the world we live in into a wasteland.

The more awareness this problem is bringing, the more voices come up from it. Young people from all over have a voice on this. And who better than to make a change then the young people of the future?

College students across the nation have been creating Divestment Campaigns for fossil fuels. These campaigns are a way for colleges to stop putting their money into fossil fuel companies. Collectively, universities and colleges have a minimum of $12 billion in fossil fuel company stocks (such as ExxonMobil and Peabody) according to Dan Apfel, Executive Director for the Responsible Endowments Coalition.

I guess my question is, if this is a nationwide thing happening right now, then why is Miami University not a part of this? Young people should be concerned about the state of our environment. Our actions now determine our future.

I believe Miami should be a part in this movement to save our environment, and our school should come together to create this organization on our campus. Gofossilfree.org is the leading website for divestment of fossil fuels and provides students with steps on how to create a campaign and to find the resources available and the latest news.

“By dismantling the fossil fuel industry’s social license,” the website says, “we can break the hold they have over our economy and governments, make way for community-led solutions to the crisis, achieve strong climate legislation, and shift the paradigm on fossil fuel dependency.”

One of my closest friends, Madison, is an amazing, distinguished freshman scholar at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She studies environmental studies and politics and human rights and knows much about the divestment for fossil fuels.

I had a phone call with Madison the other day where she informed me on the importance of this movement and why students need to be involved. The environmental movement began in the 1970s, and since then, its members have grown old.

“Adult-led organizations are losing their momentum,”Madison told me. “We need energy within America’s youth to keep the environmental movement alive.”

She described the student as the customer and the college as the institution that provides to the customer. As students, we have leverage to change whatever we feel is necessary to change.

“Students often forget they are the customers of the school, and that the customer is always right,” she said.

As the student body, we need to start thinking seriously about whether or not we want our tuition dollars to go towards pipelines and oil refineries. These are the largest contributors to climate change. In other words, Miami is using our money to exacerbate climate change.

As students who are concerned what is being done with our money and the environment we live in, we need to tell Miami to take their money out of fossil fuels.

gilligjn@miamioh.edu

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