CARE protests fossil fuels

On April 25, the Colby Alliance for Renewable Energy (CARE) set out to illustrate the minimal effect that a complete divestment in fossil fuels will have on the College’s 741 million dollar endowment.

Since the club’s founding in 2012, CARE has actively introduced community conversations on the College’s environmental impact that mirror their agenda for the recent event. CARE is attempting to convince the administration to divest in South Western Energy, which received $755,134 according to the 2013-2014 College Endowment Report. Since the fossil fuel holdings of the College represent roughly 1/1000 of the endowment, members of CARE placed 1,000 blue cans on the lawn outside the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center before the Board of Trustees arrived for their meeting. One of the cans was spray-painted red to juxtapose the sea of blue and to illustrate the size of our fossil fuel investments. In addition, a 25 foot banner reading “Carbon Investments = Carbon Neutral?” was dropped down the back of the Davis Science Center.

Although the amount of funds allocated to carbon investments are relatively small, College officials are resistant to declaring full-fledged investment. Despite some disagreement, the administration was supportive of CARE’s actions. Co-President and Founder of CARE Casey Ballin ’16 said that administrators worked with them prior to the event to “make sure that we would be able to voice our opinion without interfering with Trustee meetings.” It was also noted that the administration has appreciated the considerate ways in which CARE has moved the conversation forward.

Many Trustees were also impressed with the demonstration. Ballin said that many Board members stopped to discuss the issue with CARE participants on the way to their meetings, and lauded the group for being “respectful, innovative and to the point.”
CARE has deliberately chosen to call their demonstration an “action” due to the negative connotations associated with “protest.” Ballin said in an email that he thinks of an action as “a way of raising awareness [and] opening up an avenue for more dialogue.”

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