Letters to the Editor

Reinvest in clean energy

Re the Feb. 12 letter Gas, coal, oil fuel our everyday lives: The letter was from Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based energy lobbyist with connections to the billionaire Koch brothers. In his letter, he attacked our efforts and told us to, “Take a hike.” To where?

We are living in Ground Zero for the effects of climate change. We face dying coral reefs and wetlands, rising seas, and stronger hurricanes.

These are the real threats that could destroy modern life, not the activists they fear.

We represent a local segment of a growing international movement to divest from the fossil-fuel industry and re-invest in clean energy.

On Valentine’s Day, the “Divest or Drown” forum at Florida International University gathered local experts and dozens of concerned citizens to call for the first university in Florida to divest its endowment from fossil fuels. Many entities in the United States and internationally have divested, but Florida is lagging.

When we divest from fossil fuel, we obtain freedom to invest in clean alternatives. This empowering action can break the cycle of addiction to oil and give our children the chance for a healthy future.

The status quo of burning fossil fuels for energy needs is a deadly and dead-end proposition that eventually will bankrupt its investors. Burning anything has consequences, and today’s global population of 7 billion people is burning the energy equivalent of 1.7 billion gallons of gasoline daily, according to ExxonMobil.

The amount of accumulated carbon pollution is staggering, and these greenhouses gases have pushed our planet into disruptive climate change.

The effects are especially punishing for South Florida, where sea-level rise threatens to sink our way of life.

Our hope is that the movement to divest from fossil fuels will have the same effect as the anti-apartheid movement. We agree with Mr. Pyle, the letter’s author, that fossil-fuel products are everywhere, and they are even more pervasive than tobacco products were before the fantasy of smoking was slain by facts.

Our message is clear: Remove your investments from the fossil fuel industry. The world cannot afford to power the future by burning dirty fuel.

We are the real, local deal trying to help and educate our community, using our own time and money.

We welcome Mr. Pyle to actually visit Miami and attend our next free event, “Keep it Cool,” on April 15 at FIU.

Jim Harper, president,

350 South Florida, Miami

Wendy Villavicencio, president, FIU’s GLADES ecology club, Miami

Philip Stoddard, mayor, South Miami and three others