Sign Isaac’s “Divest Beaverton” Project

Tonight at 6pm, Beaverton, OR City Council will hear Isaac make his first public request to DIVEST from fossil fuels. A project he began over a year ago. Go Isaac! You can support him below after you read his first-person account here:
Power Past Coal holds people's hearing on Pacific Northwest coal exports
(Photo by: Alex Milan Tracy)
It’s been a busy year, but for my Bar Mitzvah Project I am doing a bunch of stuff to help stop and reverse Climate Change.Isaac Vergun at the United Nations Environmental Programme sponored Plant for the Planet Academy in Seattle
Isaac at the Plant-for-the-Planet Academy in Seattle, 
devoted to planting 1,000 billion trees for climate justice.

My main project is a campaign with to get the City of Beaverton, Oregon to divest from fossil fuels and nuclear power. Please sign my petition, even if you do not live in Beaverton. Most people who will be reading this live, work, or shop in Beaverton, but what my city does affects the rest of you too, so please sign!

What I Am Asking the City of Beaverton and Others To Do

Based on the divestment toolkit I am asking the City of Beaverton to:

  1. Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuels.
  2. Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.

Instead of investing their money into fossil fuel companies, we can reinvest in companies who are making solutions to climate change.

There are 200 publicly-traded companies which hold the vast majority of listed coal, oil and gas reserves. These are the companies from which I am asking our institutions to divest. As says, my demands to these corporations are simple, because they reflect the stark truth of climate science:

They need to immediately stop exploring for new hydrocarbons.

They need to stop lobbying in Washington and state capitols across the country to preserve their special breaks.

Most importantly, they need to pledge to keep 80% of their current reserves underground forever.

Why Should the City of Beaverton Divest?

The mission of the City of Beaverton is to be looking out for the public good. It is well known for the quality of education and work to get solar adopted. One big action of  “looking out for the public good” is divesting from fossil fuel companies, because these companies are putting us at risk for: less access to water, droughts, uncontrolled forest fires, etc. Mayors and other local leaders need to take the lead because the action of the federal government has been stalled, so the local communities need to take action. Divestment is the moral choice for governments who care about their people. Beaverton taking action to solve the climate crisis will help to make sure that the city’s investments pay off in the future.

I am also having a contest for people helping me to get signatures. Ask me if you’re interested in helping! We’ll try to post more soon! Thanks!

The Divesters!

Pretend you are a Marvel superhero at the climax of the latest summer blockbuster. The evil psychopaths are two minutes away from successfully wiping out life on Earth. Your kids, pets, house, purple mountains, favorite band, everything, sea to shining sea, the whole planet is depending on you. Is there anything you wouldn’t do? Any risk you wouldn’t take? How much would it be worth to you to stop the final annihilation of life on earth?

Silly superhero question: Would you invest part of your retirement portfolio in the villain’s corporation?

Guess what? That’s your choice today. Your superhero task? Change your behavior, starting with your investments, before it’s too late. Ask your superhero self, will I divest from fossil fuels and get everybody else to do the same? Can we leave carbon in the ground to save life on Earth?

You can use a simple toolkit online to divest. Join 300 “Fossil Free” campaigns today at universities, schools, churches, cities, private foundations to eliminate our carbon investments. Divestment successfully draws attention to change a corrupt system. “Today,” one minister recently wrote, “the American economy is as entangled in fossil fuels as it was in slavery in the 1850’s.”

The Carbon Bubble

The fossil fuel industry has 5 times more carbon in reserves currently on the books than we can safely burn. Energy producers must leave at least 80% of reserves in the ground if humans want to survive this mess.

The industry must agree to do business in light of climate science:

•             They need immediately to stop exploring for new hydrocarbons.

•             They need to stop lobbying in Washington and state capitols across the country to preserve their special breaks.

•             Most importantly, they need to pledge to keep 80% of their current reserves underground forever.

Forget the energy renaissance, Arctic drilling, hydro-fracking technology, forget new exploration when you can’t safely burn 20% of the stuff you’ve already got.

Shareholder’s Report

Can we properly value a corporation based on how much carbon they hold and refine, if 80% of that must be preserved underground?

At the rate we’re burning carbon, we can only risk another 16 – 17 years of dirty energy at most. Are you planning on living another 20 years? I am. It’s going to be a different world. Before 2050 a fossil-free world. I can’t wait.

Scientists predict 6 – 8% reductions every year going forward starting in 2013 will get CO2 back to levels for which life is adapted, below 350ppm. Delay until 2020 to start? 15% annual reductions, cost the world trillions more, meanwhile risk runaway climate feedbacks. A morally bankrupt choice, by anybody’s accounting.

I can’t retire on money from the very corporations that, to keep their share prices high, spend millions to increase market saturation and make our children’s future suffering as difficult as possible. Only one industry removes carbon from where it’s been safely stored underground for millions of years. There is no way to drill, frack, strip mine, or blow up mountains sustainably.

I’m a conservative; I want to preserve my planet as it was when I grew up. I teach my kids, “You make a mess, you clean it up.” Simple. Leave the earth living for someone else to enjoy.

Radicals tell the public that you can’t trust greedy NASA scientists. Radicals pay lobbyists to re-write the laws, as if they can break the laws of physics and nature. Radicals accelerate the uncontrolled climate experiment they are running with our only planet. 90 million tons of greenhouse gas pollution every day! That’s geo-engineering!

When will they stop? That completely depends on you and me.

I’m a carbon addict in recovery. Since W left the White House I haven’t purchased gas for my car. Since we heat our home carbon-free, we disconnected the gas line. I eat no meat, drink tap water not bottled, buy local when I can. I won’t ride in a plane. But my individual carbon footprint (20% of an avg American) will only protect my kids once I get you to lower yours too.

Together we can immediately initiate this rapid transition away from carbon, as the International Energy Agency recommended this week in their report, Redrawing the Energy- Climate Map.

Like that superhero in the movie, my actions shape the future of life on Earth. And yours do too! We are re-writing our future. We are the generation that goes into history books for doing something no other generation has ever done: We rescue all life as we know it from certain disaster. We do it by getting everybody on the same team. We’ll do it right now, in this decade, because that’s all the time we’ve got. I know we’ll do it because NOT doing it, NOT giving it everything we’ve got, NOT saving millions of years of biodiversity and thousands of years of human civilization and everything you ever cared about… that’s NOT an option! Humans caused it, humans will stop it.

One way to stop: Join the Fossil Free campaign. Divest all holdings from these fuel corporations whose business success ends life on Earth. Get your church, school, and city to divest, while you can make a difference.

Let’s look at how to live well, not large. Live simply that others may simply live. Give them a future to look forward to, a future they can love. Live a life that gives life, for others. Let’s all leave something behind we can be proud of.

“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you never intend to sit.”

Happy Father’s Day!

UW Students Call On Regents To Divest From Fossil Fuels

Divest UW photo

“If it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”  — Bill McKibben,

University of Washington students coordinated 5 powerful, articulate speeches before the Board of Regents meeting today in a passionate call to divest university funds from fossil fuel investments.

The meeting room was filled with supporters who then rallied outside the hall after witnessing, “A historic moment.”

The City of Seattle has pledged to divest its holdings, along with dozens of cities, churches, and colleges, leading the way for over 300 other institutions where divestment campaigns are gathering momentum. Two days ago San Francisco State University announced they will divest.

The divestment campaign at is growing rapidly as the morality of investing in these planet-wrecking corporations is clearly unforgivable. How can we invest money for retirement, or build universities, knowing that the return we made on carbon fuel stocks to live comfortably now helped push the planet over the tipping point and committed my children to a life of suffering?

Find out more at about how you can get involved in leading and supporting these campaigns to move money out of fossil fuels, hold rogue industries accountable, and invest in a clean, livable future for our children. The UW students are showing us the way. Now it’s our turn!