Twice in the last five days, President Barack Obama referred to divestment — the controversial strategy to bring about social change by pressuring corporations to behave more responsibly.
On Tuesday, Obama mentioned divestment during a major speech at Georgetown University outlining his plan to address climate change. And on Thursday, at a press conference in Senegal, Obama recalled his involvement during college in the anti-apartheid movement, which relied heavily on divestment to push companies to boycott South Africa until it dismantled its racist system.
Was the one-time student activist signaling his support to the current generation of campus radicals who are calling on universities to divest from energy companies that promote fossil fuels? Was the former community organizer embracing the movement to dump stock holdings in order to compel corporations to be more socially responsible?
“I’m here to enlist your generation’s help in keeping the United States of America a global leader in the fight against climate change,” Obama told the Georgetown students, announcing his proposal to cut pollution from power plants, expand renewable energy development on public lands, and support climate-resilient investments. Noting that big corporations will resist calls to reduce their unhealthy practices, Obama urged the students to “Convince those in power to reduce our carbon pollution. Push your own communities to adopt smarter practices. Invest. Divest. Remind folks there’s no contradiction between a sound environment and strong economic growth.”
via June 29 News: Peter Dreier: Obama Embraces the Divestment Movement: From Apartheid to Climate Change | Huffington Post