Impassioned climate change activists all over the world may have a new and entirely unexpected ally in their cause: the financial sector. On the heels of the recent climate change talks in Paris, groups of concerned citizens have gathered their resources to place pressure on wealthy institutions who invest in the fossil fuel industry. The new documentary Fossil Free chronicles their mission.
From The Netherlands to New York, their movement is beginning to gain momentum. Their collective efforts are aimed at various organizations across the globe who invest in gas, coal and oil companies, including universities, banks, governments and large-scale investment firms. Their argument? The money you invest serves as a reflection of your personal values. Calling upon their view of fossil fuel industries as the major contributors to an unsustainable environment, these activists implore divestment as a means of restoring faith and reputation with the public.
The film contains portraits of those who are working diligently to propel this grassroots movement. Many of them are young, and they view themselves as the last generation who can truly make a difference in curbing the climate change epidemic. They're determined to pick up the slack from an older generation who remains apathetic to these pressing issues.
In Berlin, a young woman works to secure time with a top-ranking government official to discuss the city's continued investment in fossil fuels. In New York, an innovative online platform called 350.org works to mobilize and concentrate the movement's efforts on the global stage. In Amsterdam, activists work to convince one of the most significant investment firms in the region to remove these companies from their portfolios.
Surprisingly, several investment firms have proven receptive to the persuasions of the movement, though their reasoning often falls on financial risk rather than the ethical considerations. From their perspective, the fossil fuel industries are overpriced assets, and increasingly precarious propositions for the potential investor.
The climate change movement is multi-faceted, and victories can be won on many sides if we remain fully engaged in the issue. Fossil Free is a valuable examination of one such effort to contain this growing crisis.