The key to winning victories against big oil? Perseverance | Bill McKibben

Vermont’s Middlebury College has reversed its course on fossil fuel companies and is leading the way on renewable energyVermont’s Middlebury College announced on Wednesday that it was divesting its holdings in fossil fuel companies. Given that more than a thousand institutions with endowments totaling more than $8tn have made similar pledges, it might not seem so newsworthy – but Middlebury was one of the first to reverse course. Six years ago the college flatly rejected divestment, and the shift makes it clear why big oil’s purchase on our economy and our society is eroding.Much of the explanation, of course, stems from local factors, and since I’m employed there I’ve had a firsthand view. The college’s students never gave up, passing on the activist torch to each new entering freshman class – indeed, some of the students who pioneered the fight were on hand for today’s announcement. And along the way the college got a new president: religion scholar Laurie Patton proved an adept conciliator able to help her institution move. Related: America's year of extreme weather and eruptions – in pictures Related: Texas sinkholes: oil and gas drilling increases threat, scientists warn Related: US off track to reach climate goals as oil and gas production expand Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, and a founder of 350.org. His forthcoming book is Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? Continue reading...

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