Archbishop Desmond Tutu

15 April 2014 — South African Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu has called for a global consumer-led boycott of companies that contribute to climate change.

Writing in The Guardian, the Archbishop said that while nations like the US and Canada continue to contemplate fossil-fuel industry projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline despite the latest IPCC reports on the urgency of reducing carbon emissions, it is the responsibility of individuals to use the tactics that worked against the apartheid system to curb the power of the big carbon emitters.

“People of conscience need to break their ties with corporations financing the injustice of climate change. We can, for instance, boycott events, sports teams and media programming sponsored by fossil-fuel energy companies,” Archbishop Tutu wrote.

“We can demand that the advertisements of energy companies carry health warnings. We can encourage more of our universities and municipalities and cultural institutions to cut their ties to the fossil-fuel industry. We can organise car-free days and build broader societal awareness. We can ask our religious communities to speak out.

“We can actively encourage energy companies to spend more of their resources on the development of sustainable energy products, and we can reward those companies that do so by using their products. We can press our governments to invest in renewable energy and stop subsidising fossil fuels. Where possible, we can install our own solar panels and water heaters.

“We cannot necessarily bankrupt the fossil fuel industry. But we can take steps to reduce its political clout, and hold those who rake in the profits accountable for cleaning up the mess.”

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