In the wake of the recent elections, The Kalamazoo College Climate Action Network (KCCAN), held a forum called, “The Social Injustices of Climate Change” on Nov. 5 in the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (ACSJL). The goal of the forum was to discuss the Di/Re Investment project to be implemented here at K.
On Election Day a group of K students, braved the rain and cold to protest against Fred Upton’s re-election on Western’s campus. The protesters could be seen holding signs and relaying information on the nature of Upton’s former terms and his policies.
Upton was recently voted, by the Los Angeles Times, as the number 1 enemy to the earth. In cooperation with Western’s student environmentalist group, Students for a Sustainable Earth, K students helped pass out literature on Upton and his running opponent, Paul Clements.
All of this local lobbying appropriately fell on the day before the Di/Re Investment forum held in the newly opened Arcus Center. The forum began with an introduction and discussion of the current state of the environment and the proof of climate change occurring within it.
Dr. Jennifer Einspahr, Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of the Political Science Department, spoke first. She discussed both sides of environmentalism, those that see a problem and those that do not. Even with the contention that exists she still asserts that nature problems are in fact human problems.
“Nature problems are human problems, even with the contention that exists around the topic,” said Dr. Einspahr.
Dr. Ahmed Hussen, Professor of Economics and Business, followed shortly thereafter. Dr. Hussen focused more on statistics and proof of global warming and environmental decline. He also discussed where specifically climate change is coming from and what some nations have done to reverse or attempt to reverse damage inflicted on the earth and its environment.
KCCAN wants more to be done. They will begin with Kalamazoo College’s campus by applying the Di/Re Investment initiative. KCCAN does not want to immediately dive into full divestment. They characterize their movement as more realistic than that.
The student organizers acknowledged the widespread dependency on fossil fuels such as: coal, oil, and natural gas. The process of divestment would first begin with coal, because of the harmful way in which it is extracted from the earth. That is their preliminary mission. Divestment is an admittedly complicated process that KCCAN wishes to implement in steps.
“Environmental justice is social justice,” said Shannon Haupt ‘16, along with the other KCCAN representatives echoing this sentiment.
Not only is KCCAN seeking to divest, but as the name of the movement suggests, they also seek to reinvest in cleaner fuel alternatives. The entire divestment movement seeks to stigmatize the fossil fuel industry while fostering a campus wide environmentalist consciousness.