I write this whilst on my way to a demonstration outside the headquarters of the Future Fund, during my work lunch break. I have to admit that I am slightly apprehensive as I am never entirely comfortable at demonstrations, or Non-Violent Direct Action (NVDA), as it is commonly called nowadays. I can’t exactly say why this is but it always makes me feel somewhat self-conscious. However, climate change activism is an important part of my life, and NVDA is an important part of climate activism. And it is happening at lunchtime, not too far from my office and I am struggling to find a good excuse not to go. Most importantly, I see this protest as fundamentally a battle of values.
The Future Fund has been asked to stop investing in new coal mines, and not only have they refused to do this, but they have also refused to speak to those making this request. The Future Fund argues that they have a duty to invest in those industries which will guarantee the highest returns for their fundholders, thus securing their futures. This argument is extremely flawed for at least two reasons. The first being that the price of coal is falling throughout the world, so perhaps it isn’t such a great investment anyway. The second flaw is in the idea that a person has a secure future so long as they have lots of money. I do realize that the Future Fund is mandated to look after financials and not all aspects of wellbeing, but financial investments have to be made responsibly, and in view of the bigger picture.
My own future, and more importantly, that of my children and grandchildren depends on the state of the planet. It depends on comfortable temperatures. It depends on healthy oceans in which life has not been depleted by acidification and over-fishing. It depends on secure food supplies. It depends on abundant fresh water. And all of these depend on dramatically reducing the quantity of carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere. Therefore, I cannot understand how investing in new coal mines is compatible with a secure future.
My not-yet-born grandchildren are currently unable to influence the planet into which they, please God, will be born. It is therefore my duty to advocate on their behalf.
It is with them in mind that I will overcome my inhibitions and continue on to protest outside the Future Fund.