College Campuses Will Become Climate Change Battleground in 2014

Boycott Israel? Try Divesting From Planet-Killing Polluters.

Need To See More? Man rides past dead bodies littered along a road on the eastern island of Leyte after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines. How many disasters will it take to rouse Americans to the dangers of climate change?
getty images
Need To See More? Man rides past dead bodies littered along a road on the eastern island of Leyte after Super Typhoon Haiyan swept over the Philippines. How many disasters will it take to rouse Americans to the dangers of climate change?

By Todd Gitlin

Published December 31, 2013, issue of January 10, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Forward asked a number of writers to offer their hopes and predictions for the new year. What ideas and trends will shape our world in 2014?

Human sources will spew billions more tons of carbon dioxide and other heat-retaining gases into the atmosphere. The industrial fervor that raised standards of living in many parts of the globe over the last two centuries will—at a redoubled pace and more so—generate icecap melts, droughts, floods, storms, and other extremities that threaten life next year and will continue to do so for millennia to come.

Government agencies everywhere will fail to act sufficiently to bend the greenhouse gas curve back toward a sustainable level.

Media will feel pressure to “balance” reports of scientific consensus with crackpot denials, though less so than in previous years.

With normal politics stalled almost everywhere, and mainline institutions in default, the initiative will be taken by activists. There will be more direct action (as against the tar sands pipelines in both the US and Canada). And the campaign to get university, city, pension fund and other investment funds to divest from fossil fuel corporations will accelerate. Already at work on some 400 campuses in the US, this movement will make the case, with increasing force, that stamping approval on oil, coal, and natural gas companies is not only morally destructive but financially foolish.

To go out on a limb, there’s a fighting chance that this campaign will force fossil-fuel divestment at one (at least) major institution of higher learning. One way or the other, the cascade will proceed.

Todd Gitlin chairs the doctoral program in communications at Columbia University and is the author most recently of “Occupy Nation: The Roots, the Spirit, and the Promise of Occupy Wall Street” (HarperCollins, 2013).


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “I don’t want to say, ‘Oh oh, I’m not Jewish,’ because when you say that, you sound like someone trying to get into a 1950s country club, “and I love the idea of being Jewish." Are you a fan of Seth Meyers?
  • "If you want my advice: more Palestinians, more checkpoints, just more reality." What do you think?
  • Happy birthday Barbra Streisand! Our favorite Funny Girl turns 72 today.
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.