Moyers & Company

Season 3, Episode 16 of 52

Divestment - the selling off of stocks and other investments in the name of an urgent cause - played an enormously successful role in helping to bring down the white supremacist, apartheid regime of South Africa. Now, leaders of the movement fighting against the looming catastrophe of global warming - including students on more than 300 American college campuses nationwide -- are using the same tactic to persuade investors to take their money out of fossil fuel companies. Foundations, faith groups, pension funds, municipalities and universities are being urged to take the lead; to sell their shares in the polluting industries burning up the earth and reinvest in companies committed to climate change solutions. This week on Moyers & Company (check local listings), Bill Moyers talks with two who helped inspire the new divestment movement. Ellen Dorsey is executive director of the Wallace Global Fund and a catalyst in the coalition of seventeen foundations known as Divest-Invest Philanthropy. Thomas Van Dyck is senior vice president/financial advisor of RBC Wealth Management, and founder and chair of the shareholder advocacy foundation, As You Sow. "The primary driver behind the campaign is our belief in the urgency of the climate change issue and the impact that it will have," Ellen Dorsey tells Moyers. "Cataclysmic impacts... will only accelerate in the coming years." Thomas van Dyck says, "We are actually going to have to react prior to experiencing the full consequences... We must remember, nature bats last. And we have to react before that happens." Dorsey notes that the fossil fuel industry "is driving the problem, it is funding denial of the problem. It is refusing to advance safe and clean alternatives. And it's shutting down the policy process with campaign contributions and lobbying. And so by putting the target on the fossil fuel industry, the goal is not to have an immediate economic impact on the fossil fuel industry but to isolate it as a moral pariah like apartheid, like tobacco." Thomas Van Dyck adds, "There's a solution. Invest in the clean tech broadly defined and the solutions that can help bring out a sustainable economy, a sustainable and just economy for the world. So it's not only just divest. There's actually a place to go with the money."

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