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!
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • Mixed marriages in Israel are tough in times of peace. So, how do you maintain a family bubble in the midst of war? http://jd.fo/f4VeG
  • Despite the escalating violence in Israel, more and more Jews are leaving their homes in Alaska to make aliyah: http://jd.fo/g4SIa
  • The Workmen's Circle is hosting New York’s first Jewish street fair on Sunday. Bring on the nouveau deli!
  • Novelist Sayed Kashua finds it hard to write about the heartbreak of Gaza from the plush confines of Debra Winger's Manhattan pad. Tough to argue with that, whichever side of the conflict you are on.
  • "I’ve never bought illegal drugs, but I imagine a small-time drug deal to feel a bit like buying hummus underground in Brooklyn."
  • We try to show things that get less exposed to the public here. We don’t look to document things that are nice or that people would like. We don’t try to show this place as a beautiful place.”
  • A new Gallup poll shows that only 25% of Americans under 35 support the war in #Gaza. Does this statistic worry you?
  • 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.