I am tired.

14 May

I am tired. In the sleepless, exasperated, jaded and honestly angry way, I am tired. I joined People and Planet looking to bolster the tail end of a successful three year campaign for divestment, but was only met with vague half-promises on the part of the University of Edinburgh. The narrative on the part of the university has been one of time and patience; the time for that has passed. Last year New Zealand accepted the first climate change refugee, only after he and his family had lived in the country for seven years. Despite the profoundly immoral nature of an economic valuation of climate change, the University continues to assure us that the developing world needs fossil fuels in order to develop. I would challenge Charlie Jeffery, senior vice-principal of the university, to inform the thousands living on low-lying island nations whose fields will lay salted and fallow, whose families will go hungry, whose homeland will be obliterated by climate change that this is the answer. All too quickly, Mr. Jeffery, the investment board and court full of bankers, and the usual bureaucratic suspects have dismissed divestment as ‘not in the university’s best interests’. In continuing to invest in fossil fuels, we are rapidly approaching a climate genocide in which, regardless of the level to which we address our cognitive dissonance, we will all be complicit. The unfortunate reality is that we are born into a commodified lifestyle. This can change.

In my time occupying the Charles Stewart House at the University of Edinburgh, I have been deeply inspired by my peers and by members of staff who persist in supporting the cause of divestment despite facing pressure not to from the University. In our day to day meetings and consensus based decision making, I recall the words of the German philosopher Gustav Landauer who said, ‘The State is a condition, a certain relationship among human beings, a mode of behaviour, we [change] it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one and other… We are the State and continue to be the State until we have created the institutions that form a real community.’ We are rapidly approaching the tipping point of climate change but we still only just have time to change. If we view the earth as a condition, as an entity with which we can have a sustainable and healthy relationship starting with divestment, we still have time to contract other relationships, to behave differently, to create institutions that form the new community. Join us, occupy the planet.

Greg

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