By Earthscope Media Reporter, Jillian Johns
Fossil fuels have been proven to release harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere and the recent integration of the process of hydraulic fracturing only exacerbates the harmful effects the usage of these fuels have on our environment and ourselves. Jess Grady-Benson is a leader in the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network, which aims to help people divest from using fossil fuels. She also recently won a Brower Youth Award for her work. As a recent graduate of Pitzer College in Claremont, California, she has left behind an inspirational legacy. Pitzer is part of the Claremont Colleges, a group of five colleges in which students can attend classes at any of these participating schools when needed.
Benson co-funded the Claremont College Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network--a group of highly intelligent and determined individuals that influenced the college so much that they recently agreed to switch to alternative fuels and away from the fossil fuel industry. Now, as more than one hundred schools followed suit, the total savings on energy cost is expected to reach one billion dollars.
Students rallying for the divestment of fossil fuels. (http://www.commondreams.org/views/2015/02/18/next-phase-fossil-fuel-divestment-movement-escalation)
“This campaign, I think, is incredibly powerful because it’s really redistributing wealth, it’s building a powerful base of young activists on student campuses, and it is also opening up a political window so that we can actually shift public conjugate...lower influence of fossil fuel industry elections and policy in general, and [the upcoming generations] are all really critical to transitioning us to a cleaner and more just economy,” Benson stated. Not only does the public receive more opportunities to improve their living costs and standards, they also create an improved community aspect of accomplishing something that helps everyone, not just an elite few.
Benson also stated that, “I think the transition into a cleaner economy is actually an opportunity to redistribute wealth, create more community ownership and democratic practice around community energy production and usage, create more jobs at a local level that is actually empowering the community and move us away from the corporate control that we see over the energy economy currently.”
In discontinuing our uses of products distributed by hugely powerful corporations, we gain a more locally based system, allowing for personal needs to become higher on the list of priorities. By divesting from fossil fuels, we can help save our earth, our atmosphere, our community, and ourselves.
Our tremendous thanks to Jess Grady-Benson. For more on her incredible work, visit http://www.studentsdivest.org/.