This article by Bill McKibben appeared in The Christian Century

Jan 02, 2013 by Bill McKibben

 The pipeline blockaders in the piney woods of East Texas that Kyle Childress describes (« Protesters in the pews, » Christian Century, January 9, 2013) are American exemplars—the latest incarnation of John Muir, Rachel Carson, John Lewis or Fannie Lou Hamer. They’re playing defense with verve and creativity—blocking ugly and destructive projects that wreck landscapes and lives. And defense is crucial. As generations of sports coaches have delighted in pointing out, defense wins games.

But we’re very far behind in the global warming game, so we need some offense too. And here’s what offense looks like: going directly after the fossil fuel industry and holding it accountable for the rapid warming of the planet. It’s the richest and most arrogant industry the world has ever seen. Call it Powersandprincipalities, Inc. And where once it served a real social need—energy—it now stands squarely in the way of getting that energy from safe, renewable sources. Its business plan—sell more coal, gas and oil—is at odds with what every climate scientist now says is needed for planetary survival.

If that sounds shocking, sorry: a lifetime of Exxon ads haven’t prepared us for the reality that Exxon is a first-class villain, any more than a lifetime of looking at the Marlboro Man prepared us to understand lung cancer. In fact, our first task is to turn the fossil fuel industry into the equivalent of the tobacco industry, making people understand that it plays a destructive role in society. Yes, we all use fossil fuel. But most of us would be just as happy using sun and wind power. It’s only the fossil fuel industry that works every day to make sure that doesn’t happen.

And our first tool to do that job: divest institutions (schools, churches and municipalities) of stock in those companies. Sell the stock. The fossil fuel companies care about money.