Divestment panel discussion this friday!

In the course of Swarthmore Mountain Justice’s fossil fuel divestment campaign, we’ve gotten a lot of questions about the technical aspects of divestment. Things like…

  • What is divestment?
  • How will it work at Swarthmore?
  • How does divestment bring about political and economic change?
  • Will divestment put the college at risk economically?
  • What are the similarities and differences between this and past divestment movements?

Come to a panel discussion THIS FRIDAY at 4:30pm to learn the answers to all these questions and more. The panelists are:

Ellen Dorsey — Executive Director, Wallace Global Fund. Dorsey has worked at the nexus of advocacy and academic research to advance the work of NGOs toward human rights and environmental justice. During her time as a student at the University of Pittsburgh, she campaigned for divestment from South African apartheid, and later studied in South Africa as a Fulbright Scholar. A PhD in Political Science, Dorsey has taught at Carnegie Mellon, Chatham, American, and Georgia State. Her most recent publication is New Rights Advocacy: Changing Strategies of Development and Human Rights NGOs, with Paul Nelson, Georgetown University Press, 2008. Prior to her time at Wallace Global, she worked for Amnesty International, developing campaign actions on the global link between human rights and environmental issues.

Dan Apfel — Executive Director, Responsible Endowments Coalition. Apfel has been an advocate for social and environmental issues for nearly ten years, and was an advocate for responsible investment while in college. In his work with REC, Dan interfaces with students at hundreds of colleges and universities, as well as college investment officers and other investment professionals. Prior to joining the REC Dan served as a Program Officer at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, where he worked with credit unions serving diverse low- and moderate-income communities around the country.

Hannah Jones ’12 — Swarthmore Mountain Justice. Hannah is a Mountain Justice member and a soon-to-graduate senior. She is excited to help Swarthmore move toward true social and environmental responsibility.

The event will be discussion-based, so come with any and all questions about divestment and/or Mountain Justice’s strategy!

MJ Hosts Frontline Activist Larry Gibson

On November 7, Mountain Justice hosted a talk by activist Larry Gibson, founder of Keeper of the Mountains Foundation. The talk was attended by a standing-room only crowd of approximately 60 people in Bond Hall! The weighty talk reminded us all why we struggle against mountaintop removal and all forms of fossil fuel extraction.

Larry is personally responsible for introducing many MJ members to the devastating effects of mountaintop removal in his home state of West Virginia. Larry spoke movingly for about 45 minutes on his decades experiences as a frontline activist and the absolute necessity for all of us to get involved with the fight against mountaintop removal. He also drew many connections between MTR and Fracking, noting that both extraction methods pollute vast quantities of fresh water. He spoke to the importance of a comprehensive analysis as we struggle for a better world without exploitative extraction, saying, “If we oppose mountaintop removal and ignore everything else, we’ll fight and fight and maybe we’ll even win, but then we’ll look around us and wonder what we were fighting for.”

Larry was joined by Swarthmore alumnus Ken Hechler, Class of 1935, who represented West Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives for nearly 20 years, and has been campaigning against mountaintop removal full-time since 2004.

We hope this is only the first of several events in the “Frontline Series.” Keep your eyes peeled next Spring for more events with activists fighting extraction on the frontlines.