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Climate and Environment

Melissa Hutsell
Freelance Writer and Editor
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piqer: Melissa Hutsell
Thursday, 14 February 2019

White Men Stole The Weather: What Fighting Apartheid Teaches Us About Fighting Climate Change

“Mothers of Invention” helps tell the stories of the women who are driving climate solutions. The series is co-hosted by Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, and writer and comedian Maeve Higgins.

Season one, episode two focuses on what the anti-Apartheid movement teaches us about fighting climate change, and how groups from Vermont to South Africa to Norway are helping to move trillions of dollars out of the fossil fuel industry.

The anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa demonstrated the power of divestment, explained Yvette Abrahams, former anti-Apartheid activist now working toward building an equitable, low-carbon future.

“What we did is pick companies we felt were particularly bad, and boycott selectively,” she said. She is using those same tactics to fight climate change.

The only piece of the puzzle left, explained Abrahams, is finding a way to successfully re-invest funds. “Those alternative have to be physically there,” she said.

In the U.S. May Boeve is helping people find a way to do exactly that. Boeve helped to co-found 350.org, a grassroots organization that propelled college campuses and entire cities to divest millions of dollars from fossil fuel companies.

The hosts then speak with Tara Houska, tribal rights attorney and activist, about how ingenious women’s leadership put a spotlight on divestment.

Standing Rock was a catalyst for the movement. Trump’s nomination was another. Then, an article on the 17 banks funding the Dakota Pipeline came out. So Houska and others started holding bank shutdowns. “We’d go to Wells Fargo, Citi Bank, Chase … to any bank directly tied to funding the Dakota Pipepline and take over that space.” They shutdown as many as five banks in one city in one day.

“We recognized that dealing in terms of morality was not as effective as dealing in terms of money,” she said. “These companies feel money.”

White Men Stole The Weather: What Fighting Apartheid Teaches Us About Fighting Climate Change
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