By Daniel Asselin, Brooklyn College Alum '09
I graduated from Brooklyn College in 2009, when the climate, at least in New York, seemed to be working roughly the same way it had for generations of CUNY students before me. That all changed in 2012, when Superstorm Sandy shut down the university system for days as the city braced record-breaking floods. While it's true that a single storm cannot be linked to climate change, the increased humidity and sea surface temperatures that led to the storm can be. Freak weather events like Superstorm Sandy are more likely today due to climate change, which means we can expect more class cancelations, the potential for student evacuations, damaged property and general disruption of day-to-day life.
The big oil, gas and coal companies responsible for altering the global climate are so powerful that most attempts to redirect or foil their business plan seem grossly inadequate. But the industry is not too big to fail. It just needs to be confronted on the institutional level, which is exactly what fossil fuel divestment can do. By divesting from fossil fuels, colleges and universities are doing their part to update the mainstream cultural attitude about climate change from apathy to action. Student-powered divestment campaigns are helping to revoke the moral license of the fossil fuel industry, whose product is robbing those students of their right to a stable future. As an alumni, I feel it is my responsibility to support student divestment campaigns in any way I can.