Coal Divestment Listening Tour

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The following excerpts are from an article by Ali Rosenberry-Polier, Swarthmore College student and member of the Swarthmore Mountain Justice divestment campaign, and REInvestment’s own Faye Christoforo.  Ali and Faye are currently traveling through Appalachia with the Coal Divestment Listening Tour.  This piece was originally posted in Waging Nonviolence.

“For the past two weeks, students from Swarthmore and Earlham Colleges have been traveling around areas of West Virginia and Tennessee that are affected by mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining on a Frontlines Listening Tour. The students, in alliance with other organizations fighting coal mining in Appalachia, are involved in campaigns at their respective colleges to divest their endowments from the coal industry. [ . . . ]

The students’ aim was to strengthen connections between their divestment campaign and the organizing that people in Appalachia are doing to fight the coal industry. Divestment is a tactic that the students are using in solidarity with frontline organizations. While the colleges are not located within Appalachia, they have money invested in mountaintop removal, and students hope that by withdrawing funding from these corporations, they can support the campaigns of local organizers who are fighting the same institutions. [ . . . ]

After much traveling and conversing with community organizers, the students convened at the RAMPS Mountain Mobilization, connecting their education with direct action. The brunt of the Divest Coal campaign organizing has been done hundreds of miles away from the Appalachian region, but the ultimate goals of the campaign and RAMPS Mountain Mobilization are the same. They are both dedicated to sending a message of dissent and letting the coal industry know that people all over the country will no longer stand aside while corporate giants exploit people and the environment.

Divestment and nonviolent direct action seek to address the social and economic power of the coal industry and have become necessary tactics to make known fatal flaws in a system that so many people rely on. This reliance is especially prevalent in areas where coal mining is the most available job and coal is credited with progress and stability, as well as environmental degradation and extortion. [ . . . ]”

Read the full article here.

Our friends Will Lawrence and Kate Aronoff, also members Swarthmore Mountain Justice, wrote another great article about the listening tour.  Read it on Waging NonviolenceYouth ClimateNation of ChangeIt’s Getting Hot in Here, or WeArePowerShift.


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