One of the big topics currently on the minds of those who are concerned about climate change -- from college students to those planning for retirement -- is how to combine concern for the future health of the planet with money issues and economic safety.
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) recently put forth an amendment to the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. It called for the Secretary of the Treasury to develop a blueprint to initiate Clean Energy Victory Bonds. The goal was to use the example of World War II Bonds to mobilize the American public, and to raise revenue to finance clean energy undertakings. The projected goal was $50 billion. On April 19, a vote tally of 50 yes and 47 no fell short of the requisite 62 votes needed for passage. The concept was simple and positive, yet the usual naysayers were part of the opposition: Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a top Trump endorser; Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who is blocking the Supreme Court nomination process; James Inhofe (R-OK), climate denier.
Another option is getting traction, and that is the emphasis on divesting from savings and assets that are tied into fossil fuel companies.
The city of Copenhagen announced in February that they would be selling all of its stocks and bonds in gas, oil, and coal. They are positioning themselves to become the first carbon-neutral capitol by 2025.
Prince Charles has moved to purge his foundations and private holdings of all fossil fuel assets. So has Leonardo DiCaprio, of Hollywood royalty. And if dealing with money makes you feel anxious, just know that the Rockefeller Brothers Fund has divested from fossil fuels and is proactively seeking solutions to climate change. I listened to a video of a press conference where Justin Rockefeller discussed how that decision was based on both "moral and financial reasons."
So where does that leave us common folks? Actually, with plenty to do.
A good place to start learning about options is at Divest Invest. They have an extremely robust website with information geared to different groups, including individuals. I spoke with Vanessa Green, who is managing the Divest Invest Individual Campaign, which asks people to take the lead in creating change, "accelerate clean energy for all," while "avoiding unnecessary risk" in their investments. One image showed a father and son with the quote, "What little savings I have is fossil free because my investments are a bet on my son's future."
Green informed me of an online petition put forth requesting American businesses "to offer fossil free 401(k) options." DivestInvest is part of a coalition of groups driving this agenda.
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