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Shifting Discourse on Climate and Sustainability: Key Characteristics of the Higher Education Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

School of Earth Systems and Sustainability, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL 62901, USA
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Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10069; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310069
Received: 8 November 2020 / Revised: 30 November 2020 / Accepted: 1 December 2020 / Published: 2 December 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
In the last decade, the fossil fuel divestment (FFD) movement has emerged as a key component of an international grassroots mobilization for climate justice. Using a text analysis of Facebook pages for 144 campaigns at higher education institutions (HEIs), this article presents an overview and analysis of the characteristics of the higher education (HE) FFD movement in the US. The results indicate that campaigns occur at a wide array of HEIs, concentrated on the east and west coasts. Primarily student led, campaigns set broad goals for divestment, while reinvestment is often a less clearly defined objective. Campaigns incorporate a mixture of environmental, social, and economic arguments into their messaging. Justice is a common theme, used often in a broad context rather than towards specific populations or communities impacted by climate change or other social issues. These insights contribute to the understanding of the HE FFD movement as ten years of campus organizing approaches. In particular, this study illustrates how the movement is pushing sustainability and climate action in HE and in broader society towards a greater focus on systemic change and social justice through campaigns’ hardline stance against fossil fuels and climate justice orientation. View Full-Text
Keywords: fossil fuel divestment; higher education; social movements; climate change; climate justice; key characteristics fossil fuel divestment; higher education; social movements; climate change; climate justice; key characteristics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Gibson, D.; Duram, L.A. Shifting Discourse on Climate and Sustainability: Key Characteristics of the Higher Education Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement. Sustainability 2020, 12, 10069. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310069

AMA Style

Gibson D, Duram LA. Shifting Discourse on Climate and Sustainability: Key Characteristics of the Higher Education Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement. Sustainability. 2020; 12(23):10069. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310069

Chicago/Turabian Style

Gibson, Dylan; Duram, Leslie A. 2020. "Shifting Discourse on Climate and Sustainability: Key Characteristics of the Higher Education Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement" Sustainability 12, no. 23: 10069. https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310069

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