Tim DeChristopher: There Is No ‘Neutral’ in the Climate Fight


Tim DeChristopher: There Is No ‘Neutral’ in the Climate Fight
Wen Stephenson on October 4, 2013 – 10:45 AM ET

Yesterday, Harvard President Drew Faust issued a public statement explaining why the university will not divest from the fossil fuel industry. Renowned climate activist Tim DeChristopher, newly arrived at Harvard Divinity School after serving a two-year federal sentence for peaceful civil disobedience, is now a member of the “Harvard community” addressed by Faust. I wrote about Tim in an essay called “The New Abolitionists,” but we met in person for the first time only this week. We had a good conversation yesterday about divestment and Harvard, and just after we spoke, we learned that Faust had issued her statement. Tim immediately wrote a concise and powerful response to Faust, and I asked him if I could post it here. It’s worth noting that Tim indicts the industry in much the same terms I used in my divestment speech at Harvard on September 16: crimes against humanity.

* * *

Drew Faust seeks a position of neutrality in a struggle where the powerful only ask that people like her remain neutral. She says that Harvard’s endowment shouldn’t take a political position, and yet it invests in an industry that spends countless millions on corrupting our political system. In a world of corporate personhood, if she doesn’t want that money to be political, she should put it under her mattress. She has clearly forgotten the words of Paolo Freire: “Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and powerless means to side with the powerful, not to remain neutral.” Or as Howard Zinn put succinctly, “You can’t be neutral on a moving train.”

….(read more).

Global Climate Change http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre130
Environmental Justice http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre145
Environment Ethics http://courses.dce.harvard.edu/~envre120

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