Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
On Saturday, December 3rd at 11:00 AM, crowds gathered as members of Swarthmore Mountain Justice performed their own rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. As the College’s Board of Managers met in a building just a short walk away, the group asked for full divestment of the college’s endowment from fossil fuel industries via creative performance.
In the 5 minute play, E.B. Neezer-Scrooge — standing in for the Board — is shown the way to a healthy endowment by the Ghosts of Investments Past, Present and Future. By working in solidarity with those communities already most affected by the extractive industry, Swarthmore students and the Board of Managers work together, as they did with South African Apartheid, to end the College’s financial complicity in unjust practices. Fossil fuel divestment, as stated by the play’s fictional Board Member, would represent a concrete way for the College to “bring its practices in line with its stated values of social justice.”
Mountain Justice also prepared Christmas stockings for each member of the Board, including a piece of coal and a letter directly asking them to support divestment. When group members arrived at the Managers’ scheduled meeting place, however, they found that the Managers had already disbanded for the weekend. MJ is now working on a public art installation and holiday greeting to make sure that the Managers receive the call to divest in time for the holidays.
Mountain Justice’s Campaign would be the first in the nation to call for divestment from not just coal, but from the entire fossil fuel industry.
Mountain Justice is a student direct action group at Swarthmore College addressing climate injustices through creative, strategic campaigns that target exploitative mountaintop removal coal mining and natural gas hydrofracking industries and their corporate financiers.