This week saw two encouraging and contrasting events. The first was huge street protests around the world in more than 2,000 locations demanding urgent action from those in power to ease the effect of humans on the climate of our planet. The People’s Climate March was campaigning for curbs on carbon emissions, ahead of the UN climate summit in New York on 23 September. The UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon who took part in New York told reporters “This is the planet where our subsequent generations will live. There is no ‘Plan B’ because we do not have ‘Planet B’.”
The second piece of encouraging news was the decision of the Rockefeller Foundation to stop investing in coal, oil, and gas production enterprises. Heirs to the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, are to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 bn (£31 bn) in fossil fuel assets. The philanthropic organisation was founded in 1940 by the sons of John D Rockefeller. As of 31 July 2014, the fund’s investment assets were worth $860 million. “There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet,” Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of Mr Rockefeller and a trustee of the fund. This divestment (withdrawing investment in economic activities) is focused on four energy sources that have led to a new acronym – CONG – coal, oil. nuclear power and gas.
It will be interesting to see which of these events results has the greatest impact on easing one aspect of the accelerating and damaging human impact on our planetary home, Spaceship Earth.