Fossil fuels are bad. This statement is not contentious in any way, shape or form. It is a widely accepted view that fossil fuels are causing widespread and irreparable environmental damage. There is a little thing called climate change that you may have heard of, that is, if you have not been hiding from the public sphere for the last decade or so. While I am not a vocal member of any environmental group, on campus or otherwise, I am a fan of having a place to live, just like the planet that we currently find ourselves on. I have grown quite attached to it, in fact.
I bring all of this up because recently we have seen our student’s union fail to pass the motion to give support to Mount Allison’s own divestment campaign. This is a major disappointment. While the Mount Allison Students’ Union claims to act in the best interests of its constituents, it fails to act in the best interests of the global community, of which Mt. A and Sackville are a small part. Based on reports from the council meeting, councillors rang out with cries that divestment could put student services at risk. Some councillors claimed that anyone who had ever gotten departmental funding could not support this motion, and even going so far to say that not supporting divestment does not necessarily mean supporting climate change.
I take particular issue with that last point. If you are not in favour of a gradual phasing out of fossil fuels around campus, but choose to continue consuming said fossil fuels at our present rate, you may not necessarily support climate change. I would argue that your complacency is worse. When the choice comes between a long-term betterment of the living conditions for humans and the natural environment, it is more than just in all of our interests to do what we can to support that; it is a moral responsibility.
If the university’s investments with big oil companies means more to you than the prolonged life of the planet that we rely on to exist, then you cannot in good faith claim to represent the will of the student body. We, human beings, have done irreversible damage to our planet.
If we want to continue a mutual existence with the environment, we are required to phase out the use of fossil fuels. By voting against a motion to support a movement which would ask for this phasing out, the MASU has failed to support a view that seeks only to better the conditions in which we exist.