The Current

University students calling for a divestment from fossil fuel industry

Many university students across North America hope to reshape energy politics by compelling their schools to dump investments in fossil fuel industries.
It is being called the biggest student movement in the U.S. in years. Students at 192 university campuses across North America want their schools to step up on the issue of climate change by divesting what would be millions-of-dollars worth of endowments from the fossil fuel industry. Their campaign parallels the actions of universities back in the 80's when they used the same tactic to fight apartheid in South Africa. The founder of 350-dot-org, Bill McKibben will Do The Math on the campaign he's encouraging. 

University students calling for a divestment from fossil fuel industry

We started this segment with Bill McKibben promoting his Do the Math Tour. He's called on students across the U.S. to get their schools to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. It's part of an effort to curb carbon emissions.

The strategy is modeled on the successful divestment campaign once aimed at apartheid South Africa. And this new campaign received support from prominent anti-apartheid activist Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu.

Bill McKibben is an environmentalist, author and founder of We reached him in Ripton, Vermont.

University students calling for a divestment from fossil fuel industry

Canadian students have also campaigned for divestment at UBC, the University of Ottawa, the University of Toronto, and McGill. To date no Canadian university has agreed to divest. Christopher Bangs is a third year student at McGill University and part of what's called Divest McGill.

And at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, a similar conversation is taking place. Earlier this month, a group of Swarthmore College students marched to the president's office with a message that was signed, sealed, and ready to deliver to her personally.

Maurice Eldridge is the Vice president for college and community relations at Swarthmore College. And he joined us from their campus in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

This segment was produced by The Current's Josh Bloch and Pacinthe Mattar.

10th Anniversary: Dina Babbit Promo

Now, just a reminder that The Current celebrates its tenth anniversary this season. And over the holidays, we'll bring you ten of our favourite interviews from our first decade.

Among them is our conversation with Dina Babbit. After the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia, she was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. More than a million Jews were killed in Auschwitz.

But Dina Babbit survived after she was ordered to paint portraits for Joseph Mengele, the notorious Nazi known as the Angel of Death. After the war, those portraits disappeared.

In 1973, they turned up at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and State Museum, and the Museum insisted they should stay there. Dina Babbit spent the last years of her life fighting unsuccessfully to get them back. She died in the summer of 2009 at the age of 86.

We spoke with her about a year before that, and she told us about the one time she was able to hold those paintings in her hands.

You can hear the full conversation with Dina Babbit, Monday on The Current. It's one of our top ten most memorable interviews ever broadcast on The Current. As we celebrate ten years on the air, we'll bring you those interviews over the next two weeks. And you can find them all on our website along with an interactive time-line of The Current's first decade.

Last Word - Hallelujah Promo

Tomorrow on The Current, we'll look at a musical phenomenon. The song Hallelujah barely caused the air to vibrate when Leonard Cohen recorded it in 1984. Now it shakes the world.

Friday host Jim Brown will speak with the author of a new book on how Hallelujah became a 21st century anthem. Anthem of what? Well, that depends on who's singing and when.

This week, the NBC television program The Voice paid tribute to the victims of the Connecticut shooting. Contestants and their coaches held cards printed with the names of the dead. And the song they sang: Hallelujah. They get today's Last Word.

Other segments from today's show:

Newtown shooting media mistakes: Is it okay to get facts wrong?

Checking-In: Listener Response


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