This blog was written by Elise Shulman, organizer with DC Divest.
Hello from DC Divest, organizing in Washington, DC, the heart of America’s political system. Okay, you might question whether Capitol Hill has much of a heartbeat right now — but there’s plenty of local action in the District, especially around climate change concerns.
Recently, the DC Council passed the Community Solar renewables act, expanding access to clean solar power and its savings to renters, condos, non-profits, and low-income households that can’t install solar on their own. And advocates are pushing legislation to remove incentives for companies to burn “black liquor,” a carbon-packed byproduct of paper manufacturing.
And with a little luck and a lot of public support, in a few months, the Council of the District of Columbia could vote for legislation that would require the city to take investments in fossil fuel companies out of its portfolios.
In September, some forward-thinking members of the Council introduced the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act of 2013 as the result of hard work of DC Divest and other engaged District citizens concerned about the need for more and faster action on climate change.
Why did we take up 350’s call for divestment? Because Washington, DC currently invests in some of the largest polluting companies on the planet. What’s worse, DC is the richest city in the nation — yet one in five District residents lives in poverty, a cohort especially vulnerable to devastating storms (like Haiyan and Sandy), sea-level rise, and heat waves. The good news is that we can organize and demand that our government do something about it right now.
We have gotten this far only through the support of our community. For example, in September, District religious groups, advocacy organizations, students with university divestment campaigns, and concerned residents all pitched in — gathering petition signatures, tabling at events, and offering their expertise — to create an amazing Draw the Line event which drew 140 attendees as well as national and international press.
Building on this success, we see the upcoming hearing on DC’s proposed Fossil Fuel Divestment Act as pivotal. By getting the nation’s capital to take action on climate change, we hope to inspire other advocates to create change where they live and show America’s leaders on Capitol Hill how much work they have to do to transition away from a dirty, unjust energy system and to a fair clean-energy economy.
We need your help to make the DC Council’s November 26th win for the global climate action movement.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED:
1. Come to the hearing and bring your friends. Every voice matters.
2. Testify in support of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act. DC Divest can help you prepare a three-minute testimonial. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Contact your ward Councilmember and At-Large Members. See our Call for Action cheat sheet with contact info and sample phone & tweet scripts.
Divesting the nation’s capital broadcasts a powerful message to the rest of the country that we will not tolerate the destruction of our planet. Join us in making this goal a reality.