Posted on October 19, 2023

By Zoë Christopher, Program Officer

This week in Think Before You Pink® Goes Rogue we’re focused on Fossil Fuel Divestment.

The materials we’ve made available this week provide divestment strategies we can use, both individually and collectively, to impact an industry that fuels the climate crisis and increases our risk of breast cancer. Join us in learning more about how we can force the elimination of many toxic environmental exposures caused by the oil and gas industry, toward the goal of preventing the disease before it starts.

What is Fossil Fuel Divestment?

Fossil Fuel Divestment is the opposite of investment. It means that an organization discontinues its investment in fossil fuels by withdrawing funding and ending its relationship with the industry. The logical next step would be to invest those funds in sustainable projects.

What does divesting from fossil fuels do for the breast cancer community?

Short answer: Money talks!

For the past 100 years, the oil and gas industry has slowly infiltrated finance and political arenas on a global scale, through lobbying, campaign contributions, and the revolving door of oil company CEOs becoming legislators and vice versa. Now we learn that the industry knew at least 50 years ago that their extraction and production practices would create this climate crisis, and they suppressed their own researcher’s evidence and kept it from the public in order to maximize profits, at the expense of public health and human decency.

Our breast cancer community is already vulnerable, and risk of health harms is further exacerbated by extreme weather events that dump more carcinogens into the environment and destroy healthcare infrastructure. In a capitalist society, money talks. A company or corporation responds to public pressure when their bottom line is affected, and this is true for small retailers as well as mega-corporations. One effective way to get the attention of a bad actor is to withdraw financial support, or divest.

What is being done to take action against the fossil fuel industry?

Many individuals, organizations, and coalitions have been working hard to stop Big Oil’s impact on public health and the destruction of the planet. One of the tactics has been demanding accountability by taking the industry to court, asserting that in spite of knowing that burning fossil fuels would adversely affect public health, climate, and the environment, the industry downplayed and denied the impacts, thereby threatening public health and planetary sustainability for generations to come.

Public pension funds in many states have begun filing suits and divesting. Advocates in California are currently working hard to get CalSTRS’ and CalPERS, two large retirement programs to divest, not only in response to the climate crisis, but because energy divestment makes financial sense.

Read our full materials on divestment, including what is being done to take action against the fossil fuel industry.

Take Action!

Join BCAction in action and urge your Representatives to vote YES on California’s Senate Bill 252 (SB 252), the Fossil Fuel Divestment bill. This bill is important for California, the nation, and the breast cancer community because toxic exposures produced throughout the fossil fuel continuum have been linked to serious health harms, including an increased risk for breast cancer.

This is one of the three actions which will be made available during our Think Before You Pink Goes Rogue campaign, where we are focused on political education materials AND ways to take action on: environmental racism, fossil fuel divestment, and the politics of breast cancer.

As we focus on fossil fuel divestment this week – now is the time to take action to make divestment happen!

Add your name and urge your Representative to join in on large-scale divestment strategies by supporting The Fossil Fuel Divestment bill today.

To protect public health and the environment, and to address and end the breast cancer crisis, we must make intentional efforts to end our reliance on fossil fuels. Please take action with us today.