For Immediate Release
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Statement of Solidarity – February 26, 2016
Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.
Advocating for climate justice is an intersectional struggle that encompasses the pre-existing systems of oppression of marginalized identities along gendered, racial and class lines. Divest Barnard from Fossil Fuels recognizes the complexity and disparity of struggles against environmental exploitation based on race, class and gender. The oppression of Palestinians living in territories occupied by the Israeli state is manifested in unjust resource allocation, environmental degradation, and political disenfranchisement. For these reasons, Divest Barnard recognizes the intersectionality of environmental justice with the struggle of the Palestinian people, and stands in solidarity with the Columbia University Apartheid Divest campaign.
Columbia University is profiting from investments in companies that violate Palestinian human rights through the exploitation of natural resources. The Columbia University Apartheid Divest campaign targets specific companies that profit from Israel’s violations of human rights and international law. A notable example is Mekorot, Israel’s national water utility, which destroys Palestinian irrigation systems and diverts water resources from the Occupied Territories for use by illegal Israeli settlements. Because of practices like these, Palestinians are afforded only 70 liters of water per person per day, below the 100 recommended by the World Health Organization and dwarfed by the 300 provided to Israelis.
The exploitation of the environment is both a mechanism for and outcome of oppression, and divestment can serve as an effective political tool to counter this. As a campaign founded on the principle of environmental justice, we must account for all systems of oppression that inhibit this pursuit as we strive for a productive exchange within the larger liberation movement.