Personal Divestment is something anyone can do. Since divestment is primarily focused on the financing of fossil fuels, the emphasis is always on making sure our money doesn't support fossil fuel industries and the financial institutions that fund pipelines, fracking and drilling, compressor stations, export terminals, offshore platforms, infrastructure and the army of lobbyists fossil fuel interests send out to influence our democratic institutions and public policy.
There are lots of online resources on how to divest but a great starting point is the "Make A Clean Break" divestment guide.
Green America also provides a wealth of information about sustainable re-investment including retirement investment options, financial planners and asset managers, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds.
There are many ways to divest from fossil fuels and drive clean energy transition, and not all divestment requires money or assets.
Lifestyle choices can lead us in positive or negative territory. Positive choices are riding a bike, taking the bus, carpooling or cabbing. Structuring our lives to minimize how much gas we burn every day travelling to/from work is part of divesting. Riding a bike or taking the bus can reduce the fuel burned to get you there. Processed and fast foods are not only poor choices in terms of health, but they are also heavy on fossil fuels. Industrially-produced meat is heavy on fossil fuels.
Recycling has become an entry-point for people who care about the planet. From packaging to automotive fluids, everyone should be doing their part by now. Billions of plastic bottles floating around in the ocean are a testament to the impunity with which fossil fuels operate. They sell their garbage (plastic) back to us, and we in turn throw it away and it winds up in the ocean, destroying one of our most valuable resources. Lame.
Supporting businesses offering sustainable alternatives to plastic forks boxes cups packaging etc and offering sustainable alternatives to fossil-fueled services and goods.
Finding alternatives to disposable plastic products and packaging, from toothbrushes to razors to grocery bags is a way we can divest. Bringing our own bagging reduces the consumption of new plastics. Plastic bags are the most common visible form of fossil fuel pollution, hanging from trees and choking streams and waterways across Tennessee.
Growing some food in your garden and composting both reduce our impact as consumers.
Buying Local reduces the fossil fuels burned to bring us the goods.
Buying Organic reduces our exposure to agrichemicals derived from fossil fuels.
Getting involved in community stuff. Register to vote and support candidates willing to take on tough issues like clean energy transition and environmental justice. 2018 is the year for local action. It's now or never folks. Join a community club or community garden. Volunteer. Show up at things. Write letters to elected officials. Let them know how important it is and how many jobs clean energy infrastructure could bring!
Moving our money to a community bank or credit union that doesn't bankroll fossil fuels ensures we are not feeding the beast. If you have a bank account you can do this. It's critical to the divestment movement that each of us take this step. Find out where your bank stands on fossil fuels. Page 17 of this priceofoil.org document called "Banking on Climate Change" shows the top 38 banks and financial institutions investing money in fossil fuel extraction, drilling, pipelines, infrastructure expansion etc. Make sure you are not inadvertantly feeding the beast.
Responsible personal investment by individuals is vitally important to #DivestNashville and the global divestment movement. More and more asset managers are offering fossil free portfolios because of the demand. Simply by putting the heft of 401Ks behind renewable energy, the average citizen or household has an opportunity to participate in the expression of democratic free will. Some of the hottest stock market growth in 2016 and 2017 was in clean power generation and storage. By investing in the sustainable energy solutions we believe in, we move our energy evolution forward.
Upgrading and retooling are both opportunities to move the divestment ball forward. When you are ready, talk to some of our local solar and wind operations and take your power generation off the grid and into the new age. When the time is right, go solar. Some companies offer financing and potentially offset $100/month in electric bills. When you can upgrade your car, go for the plug-in or hybrid.
Encouraging others who take steps to divest is an important part of our movement. Spreading the idea of divestment and building community is part of the thing! We can do this!!
Joining the fight. Whether it's defending net-metering(the state program by which solar and wind producers can sell excess energy back to utilities) and state-level energy policy from fossil-fuel interests or writing your city council or state representatives to encourage clean energy public infrastructure investments or asking your favorite coffeeshop to start replacing their Styrofoam go-boxes and plastic cups and utensils, or urging your Alma Mater to divest, there are thousands of ways for anyone to divest.