Tar Sands Rally to end the Keystone XL pipeline

Sign up here to attend the largest environmental rally in American history!

This February 17th, a projected 20,000 people will gather at the White House to protest TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. If implemented, this pipeline would extend from Alberta, Canada to Houston, Texas and would cut directly through the U.S. agricultural breadbasket and the Ogallala Aquifer. If the placement in itself is not enough to be deemed a catastrophe, it will also contribute to an energy extraction process that emits substantially more carbon dioxide than conventional oil extraction and will lead to total destruction of vast expanses of Boreal Forest and Wetlands for acquisition of unrefined crude oil.

Join us in DC to put a permanent ban on this environmental catastrophe!

450 Thousand Impacted by Sandy

Allies,

450 thousand

This represents the number of people who have been evacuated from their homes as a result of Hurricane Sandy. And 7.5 million have lost power. Even though Ithaca was relatively sheltered from this event, many of our families and friends have been put in real danger. This “frankenstorm” is not an anomaly but rather a warning to us all of the perils we face if we allow climate change to ensue. The voice of the climate crisis has been ignored for far too long and if we do not act now then storms of Sandy’s magnitude will persist and get worse. The consequences of investment in fossil fuels can no longer be supposed as a distant threat; they are happening now and they are not to be taken lightly.

Please sign our petition here to put an end to climate disaster!

There is no time to lose in reversing the symptoms our planet is subjecting us to as a result of our negligence for the effects of fossil fuel dependence. Student activists have already made incredible strides towards convincing their universities to divest from fossil fuels. Just a few weeks ago, Hampshire College became the first university in the U.S. to divest from the fossil fuel industry and other schools are not far behind.

Help our cause, sign our petition to divest from hurricanes!

In the wake of this upsetting event, we are reminded of our vulnerability to the unforgiving forces of nature as they have put many of our families and friends at risk. When a hurricane endangers some of us it endangers all of us, so remember the doctrine upon which the United States was built. We have always come together when we felt threatened and there is no reason why we should not continue to do so. It is time for us to reclaim our democracy and use it to stop the fossil fuel industry.

We need to tell Cornell to divest from fossil fuels now!

Just as we cannot rely on the fossil fuel industry to protect us from not-so-natural disasters we cannot expect them to take responsibility for compensating people impacted by them. Since they are not providing aid, it is important that we help each other through this mess so that we have the strength to fight the industry responsible for our suffering. If you feel compelled to help provide relief for the devastation that Sandy has caused, you can donate here.

Stay strong, protect each other and help us win this fight!

Love and Solidarity,
KyotoNOW!

DONATE NOW TO SUPPORT STUDENT EMPOWERMENT AND PROTECT THE CLIMATE

The founder of 350.org, leader of the Do the Math Tour

Over the summer, Bill McKibben published what became one of the most widely read articles in Rolling Stone’s history: “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”. The resounding success of this article led McKibben and other renowned climate justice activists to launch a revolutionary campaign called Do The Math. As part of this campaign, Bill McKibben joined by Josh Fox and Naomi Klein will be hitting the road and touring 20 cities around the country along with musicians, celebrities, and other activists who are working to take on the fossil fuel industry. Do the Math will be the kick-off point for the fossil fuel divestment movement among universities, churches, and the local governments across the country.  Do the Math will launch the next phase of resistance against climate change and it is calling on students to act as catalysts for fossil fuel divestment at their universities.

Here at Cornell, students have taken the initiative to formulate how the university can be a part of this national movement. With inspiration from the national movement and current climate research, we are drafting a proposal to get Cornell to divest from the fossil fuel industry. This campaign is underway, and quickly building momentum. The information about divestment is circulating through the student body; students are realizing the role they can play in how the endowment is invested, and that it can be a driving force behind larger change.  In this case we are talking about combatting the effects of climate change, but thirty years ago students on college campuses were using divestment to help end Apartheid in South Africa.  Divestment was proven an effective vehicle behind the anti-Apartheid movement and implementing global change.  In the same way, it could be utilized today in the fight against climate change.  It is within our power and responsibility to help secure a safe and stable future for generations to come.

On November 16th the Do The Math tour will make a stop in New York City. This will be an amazing opportunity for members of the community to get informed about divestment and how it can play a role in combatting climate change.  It would be a chance to hear from prominent speakers in the environmental community presenting realistic and up-to-date climate change research and divestment strategy. This type of presentation will be invaluable to our own divestment campaign and undoubtedly generate thought and discussion among attendees concerning our effect on the planet.

Will you support us?

Here’s how we can stand together:

 

  • Join us on November 16th in New York City at Do The Math. Sign up to get on the bus, car pool, or to drive to the event here: Sign up here!.


  • Donate to our transportation fund to help us secure the funds for a bus that will allow us to bring dozens of students to the tour to be educated and empowered on November 16th. Please donate online at https://www.wepay.com/donations/do-the-math-350.org or contact Dennis Fox at djf236@cornell.edu and make checks out to KyotoNOW! Cornell (We can really use your support here!)


  • Spread the word to anyone in your community who you know this will be of interest with.  This will be a great event!

 

We appreciate your support,

In Solidarity,

KyotoNOW!

14.4 Million Against Extreme Weather

Cornell and IC Students to "Do The Math" event & concert featuring Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein 

14.4 million

That’s how many undergraduate students are currently enrolled in college in the U.S.–plus another 2.1 million graduates. 14.4 million represents a sizeable chunk of the decision-making power in the United States that’s realizing it’s strength more and more every day. Hurricane Sandy and record high summer temperatures act as reminders for why our generation needs to harness our power to defend our future. That’s why on November 16th KyotoNOW! is planning to send a busload of Cornellians to NYC for 350.org’s “Do The Math” tour with Bill McKibben (accompanied by Naomi Klein, Josh Fox and some badass musicians) to plug into the national movement to divest our campuses from fossil fuels.

Sign up for your free ticket to Do The Math in NYC on 11/16 here!

KyotoNOW! has been rocking our divestment campaign already (and we made the front page of the daily sun last week) and we’re excited for this event to provide students new to divestment the opportunity to engage here on campus and with activists from all over the state and beyond who are working for climate justice! We hope that student attendees will feel inspired by the vast number of student allies who have been launching divestment campaigns nationwide!

It all takes place November 16th in NYC but space on the bus is limited. Secure your spot by signing up here!

Historically, student protests have played a vital role in struggles for social justice; campus activism was instrumental in convincing universities to divest from businesses linked to South African Apartheid. When students made the connection between their university endowments and injustice in South Africa they took action. Students today are re-awakening to this idea as they work to launch campaigns to combat one of our most terrifying global challenges–climate change. And with 14.4 million of us, we can have a big impact!

Over the next few weeks, you can help Cornell Do the Math by checking out our DivestNOW! Cornell facebook page to help us spread the word!

Love and Solidarity,
KyotoNOW!

Board of Trustee Weekend, Cornell students post signs on the arts quad and hand out pamphlets to Trustee members. Learn how to get involved by attending “Do the Math”! (Photo courtesy of K.C. Alvey)

FREAK STORMS AND FOSSIL FUELS

Written by Tom Moore, student organizer with DivestNOW Cornell; Re-posted from The Cornell Daily Sun

At the time of writing, Hurricane Sandy has already claimed 67 lives on its way through the Caribbean. Sandy is scheduled to make landfall sometime on Monday night, bringing hurricane-force winds to a huge swath of the East Coast. Writing an opinion column on the heels, or, in this case, in the midst of such a traumatic event is always a troubling experience for me. Hurricane-force winds extend 175 miles in each direction from Hurricane Sandy’s eye. It is very, very big, and I am very, very small.

Any observation I make on Hurricane Sandy is necessarily made from a place of privilege, in that I am not facing the brunt of the storm myself, and, even if I were, I have the resources at my disposal to take safety precautions that were most likely not available to the 51 Haitians already killed by this storm. My position as an essentially safe observer gives me serious pause before writing on this disaster, a disaster which is, for so many, deeply personal.

However, even as every major news outlet tells me that this “Frankenstorm” is a freak of nature, voices from the margins suggest that Hurricane Sandy is a symptomatic, rather than an aberrant, storm. As Bill McKibben writes for The Daily Beast, “[Hurricanes are] born, as they always have been, when a tropical wave launches off the African coast and heads out into the open ocean. But when that ocean is hot — and at the moment sea surface temperatures off the Northeast are five degrees higher than normal — a storm like Sandy can lurch north longer and stronger, drawing huge quantities of moisture into its clouds, and then dumping them ashore.”

The strange warmth of the North Atlantic has something to do with so-called acts of nature, but it also has a great deal to do with acts of humanity. It has to do with the single-minded profit-seeking of the fossil-fuel industry. It has to do with ever-increasing greenhouse gas emissions, primarily by the nations best equipped to deal with the consequences we’re feeling right now, and not by island nations like Haiti with the most to lose. It has to do with the inaction of politicians like Obama and Romney, from whose campaigns any mention of climate change has beenconspicuously absent. The only discussion of energy policy has consisted of the two of them competing as to who has been the most friendly to the exploration of new oil and gas reserves.

As Dan Lashof wrote for EcoWatch, “Just like the unprecedented droughts, flooding and heat we all experienced this year, storms like Hurricane Sandy is what global warming looks like. This is the new normal.”

It is not insignificant, though, to see this analysis made in a news source explicitly tailored toward an environmentalist audience, and not in the New York Times or on CNN. Faced with the trauma of the storm of the century, most mainstream reporters and commentators keep the blame firmly on the shoulders of Mother Nature. Making arguments about our own indirect complicity in traumatic events is indeed uncomfortable work, in part because such arguments can be painfully misconstrued as a sort of victim-blaming. And admittedly, attribution in cases like these is always a bit of a sketchy science. We may never be able to look at a weather event like Hurricane Sandy and say, unequivocally, This is a result of global warming, and without anthropogenic climate change, this weather event would not have happened. If we ever do get to that point, it will be far too late to do anything about it.

Those reservations aside, I take this sort of analysis to be precisely my role as an opinion columnist: to address and attempt to make sense of the traumatic and the uncomfortable as it relates to the reader, and thus to empower the reader to effect change. I take structural analysis of disaster to be empowering, rather than victim-blaming, work. I also take the moment of the disaster to be precisely the moment for such analytical work, however painful it may be.

If Hurricane Sandy were an isolated incident, it would be nothing but an occasion to buckle down and mourn. But it isn’t. Hurricane Sandy is what climate change looks like. As such, it is an occasion not only for keeping each other safe and for mourning the dead, but also for attacking, with renewed vigor, the structural problems that have already raised global temperatures one degree Celsius, a shift which NASA climatologist James Hansen claims has dramatically increased the chances of extreme weather events.

Our new relationship with the Earth is such that each new disaster is a new call to action. Hurricane Sandy has everything to do with the Earth First! activists whose tree village blockade in Texas has been standing in the way of the Keystone XL pipeline for over a month now. Closer to home, KyotoNOW! has recently launched a campaign to urge Cornell to divest from fossil fuels by 2020. And if electoral politics are your thing, I take both Romney and Obama to be profoundly unconscionable choices for anyone interested in leaving an inhabitable planet for the next generation. Personally, I’ll be voting for Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

There was a time when extreme weather events were the ultimate examples of disasters completely beyond human control. For better or for worse, that time has passed. If Hurricane Sandy freaks you out, you need to start fighting like hell against the very human forces that promise only worse to come.

Cornell Students Urge Trustees to Divest from Fossil Fuels (PRESS RELEASE)

Press Contact:  Julia Fiore jff56@cornell.edu 845-240-8288
PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE DISTRIBUTION

CORNELL STUDENTS URGE TRUSTEES TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUELS

KyotoNOW! joins thirty campuses in national divestment campaign


Cornell University, Ithaca, NY — KyotoNOW!, Cornell University’s student climate action organization, is urging Cornell’s Board of Trustees to divest the university’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry to meet Cornell’s commitment to sustainability.

KyotoNOW! is urging the university to divest fully from all fossil fuels by 2020. According to Madeline Tingle Cornell ‘16, “It is critical that the trustees begin this transition to more responsible investments now to maintain the endowment’s long-term financial sustainability and to reflect Cornell’s commitments to carbon neutrality.” The endowment is intended to provide support for the university’s educational mission, which includes public service and responsible stewardship.

Fossil fuels are becoming increasingly expensive to extract and are encountering widespread public resistance, while renewable industries such as wind and solar energy have steadily grown. “Cornell needs to plan for a sustainable endowment that does not include investing in the dying and increasingly destructive fossil fuel industry,” said KyotoNOW! Treasurer Dennis Fox.

Cornell’s Climate Action Plan commits the university to campus carbon neutrality by 2050, which does not account for the investments in the fossil fuel industry through the university endowment. Cornell’s endowment represents over $5 billion which is managed by the university’s Board of Trustees. Climate scientists estimate that the next five years represent a quickly closing window to keep global climate change below a 2 degree celsius increase in global temperature, above which the impacts of climate change become significantly worse.

KyotoNOW! is joining over 30 campuses nationwide to call for fossil fuel divestment. On October 17th, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA became the first university to commit to full fossil fuel divestment. Cornell has a history of divestment prompted by student demands. In 1986, after a number of sit-ins Cornell agreed to adopt a policy of selective divestment from businesses tied to the South African apartheid regime. KyotoNOW! member Jake Lieby Cornell ‘16 states “Divestment is an incredibly powerful tool that helped put an end to apartheid 30 years ago. Students have the power and the responsibility to ensure our endowment is invested according to our values again today.”

With Cornell’s Trustees on campus this weekend, KyotoNOW! is hoping to make their concerns known. KyotoNOW! member Julia Fiore Cornell ‘13 stated, “We are confident that the trustees understand the threat climate change poses to our generation and will take action to invest in our future.”


###
Tagged , , , ,

Students Mobilize for “Do The Math”

As Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein and Josh Fox prepare to tour the country, Cornell students prepare to send a large troop of students to NYC to attend their event “Do The Math”. This campaign was launched in response to Bill McKibben’s article “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” which received a wide amount of attention and became the most read article in Rolling Stone magazine’s history. The goal of McKibben’s campaign is to help students and communities alike to convince their universities and companies to divest from the fossil fuel industry. They are especially keen on acquiring student allies since college endowments represent $400 billion, a sizeable portion of which is being used to buy stocks in the fossil fuel industry. Thus students are being offered free tickets to attend the event such that they may be empowered by this incredible opportunity to connect with other students and professional organizers such that they may launch and succeed in their own divestment campaigns at their respective colleges and universities. Over 30 schools now have already started and Hampshire College has taken the lead as the first university to divest, just as it did for the apartheid. The power of divestment should not be underestimated nor should the power of students in achieving it. Join us on November 16th as we join forces will Bill and hundreds of student activists by signing up here.

Of the 30+ schools working on divestment, Cornell is of course included. KyotoNOW has outlined a campaign known as DivestNOW that will demand Cornell to divest our $5.6 billion endowment from any and all fossil fuel companies it is currently supporting. Our short-term goal is to accomplish 20% divestment by May of this year, but ultimately we would like 100% divestment by 2020. It is our ambition to  to hold Cornell accountable for its commitment to becoming Carbon neutral by 2050 as outlined in Cornell’s Climate Action Plan (CAP). Given this goal, we feel as though we have an advantage that will give us significant leverage in forcing Cornell to appeal to our demands. The CAP includes all external emissions and therefore should not exclude emissions attributed to the companies they invest in. Therefore by their own promises, it is their obligation to divest but it is our job to remind them. We are calling on as much support from the student body as possible and one way you can help us is by signing our petition and/or joining us in NYC by acquiring a free ticket here. If you would like to be involved before then we are planning our debut appearance to the board of trustees this weekend. Stay tuned for updates!

Cornell Students #Divest Fossil Fuels With Teach-In and Solidarity Action with #ICDivest

Written by Mary Schellentrager, Divestment Campaign Coordinator, Energy Action Coalition; Reposted from WeArePowerShift.org

Cornell’s KyotoNOW is mobilizing their campus to divest from the Sordid 16 group of the worst fossil fuel companies, building student power to move their Board of Trustees to divest.

Since the fall semester started, Cornell Divest has been gathering petition signatures, held a teach-in on divestment, and will be seeking offical endorsement from their Student Assembly.

The teach-in was co-led by KyotoNOW students, Dan Apfel from Responsible Endowments Coalition, and Mary Schellentrager from Energy Action Coalition.

“KyotoNOW student organizers are planning out their campaign to take on the fossil fuel industry and ensure that Cornell’s investments are in line with its commitments to sustainability” said KC Alvey, Green Umbrella Organizer and alumnus of Cornell.

Photo Credits: K.C. Alvey

Cornell Divest also supported fellow Green Umbrella students at Ithaca College yesterday during IC’s rally outside of their Board of Trustee Meeting for Fossil Fuel Divestment, holding signs that read “Solidarity from Cornell.”

The divestment movement in New York’s momentum is strong and growing every day!  Congratulations to our hardworking comrades at both Cornell and Ithaca College.

Photo Credit: Emily Wilson

Cornell Students Rally at ‘Don’t Frack New York’

Written by Nicholas St. Fleur, Cornell Daily Sun.  Click here for the full article.

The southern tier of New York faces an imminent challenge: the legalization of hydraulic fracking in five of its counties. The area, which borders Pennsylvania and includes the counties west of the Catskills, sits on top of the Marcellus shale, a deposit of untapped natural gas that can be processed and turned into fuel. Currently no high-volume, thick water horizontal hydraulic facking is allowed in New York State, but all that can change if Gov. Andrew Cuomo accepts new regulations from the Department of Environmental Conservation, and allows drilling in the southern tier.

But the so-called “sacrificial counties” are not without allies — they have received support from activists statewide. As Julia Fiore ’13, biology and society, said, “No people should be considered sacrifices for dirty energy.” She, along with 15 members of Cornell’s KyotoNOW and the Green Umbrella state youth network, joined with over 1,500 people from across the state in Albany at an event called “Don’t Frack New York” to deliver to Gov. Cuomo a pledge signed by 3,000 citizens stating that they do not  welcome hydofracking in New York State, and that they are willing to take any nonviolent measure within their conscience to prevent it. They planned to show the governor that the “first to be fracked” will not go without a fight.

Click here for the full article.

Cornell Film Screening Shows the True Power of Renewable Energy

Reposted from WeArePowershift.org, Written by Rebecca Macies.

Ithaca is not known for its abundant sunshine. Situated in the beautiful Finger Lakes region of New York, Ithaca’s typical weather is usually summed up by fellow Cornell students as very rarely nice. Coupled with the large coal plant that supplies much of the area’s energy, Ithaca hardly seems like a renewable energy hub. However, despite our seeming lack of natural capital, Ithaca is proving that evenwe can go green.

KyotoNOW! co-sponsored a screening of Empowered: Power from the People, locally produced and directed by Cornell alumna Shira Evergreen. The documentary explores the efforts of individuals in the energy independence revolution. From wind and solar to biodiesel and geothermal, Tompkins County residents are using it all and proving that it is possible to produce our own renewable energy and get ourselves off of fossil fuels. They are proving that the most important source of power doesn’t just come from coal and oil, it comes from people and their desire for a just and sustainable future.

Students from Engineers for a Sustainable World also attended the event, along with a number of other students and many community members. During the Q&A session after the film with the director and two of the speakers from the film, the amount of interest and positivity for renewable energy from students and community members alike was incredible. Hearing students talking about wanting sustainable jobs, not just any job after college, is the push the world needs to bring to a more sustainable future.

The screening of the film was also done in solidarity with campuses across the country who are united with us in our fight to divest from coal and all fossil fuels. Here at Cornell, KyotoNOW! is working to reinvest 30% of our endowment into positively screened funds and divest from fossil fuels. We believe that it is time that our endowment, our lifeblood, reflects the ideals upon which our university was founded.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.