Updates from the Road

Boulder rocks the house- and another, and another

We had more than 1100 people in the Boulder auditorium last night, with an additional 400 in an overflow room below us, and 200 in an overflow room across town. Stacked on top were house parties spread out through the state- which meant the pressure was on.

Thankfully, after doing the show 20 times, we’re pretty comfortable with it.

The show was fantastic- Winona LaDuke spoke, the local organizers showed us just how incredible they are (if we didn’t know already), and Ira Glass, host of NPR’s “This American Life” showed up to interview campus divestment leaders- stay tuned for a show about it.

We woke up this morning in Salt Lake City- and we’ll do the last presentation (of this go-round, at least) tonight.


Rules for Sleeping on the Bus

Here’s a blog post by Bill McKibben: 

Rules for Sleeping on the Bus

1)   Feet go toward the front of the bus. So if something happens and Jim slams on the brakes, it’s your feet that take the hurt

2)   The farther back in the bus, the higher you bounce with each bump

3)   It’s very womblike when the bus is rumbling down the highway—the constant throaty vibration lulls you beautifully

4)   But when the bus stops, and the engine turns off, you wake right up. The new city is disorienting—you went to sleep in Omaha and now you’re in Denver. But it’s okay. The bus is the bus is the bus, all across America.

Omaha – so amazing

Last night we were in Omaha – a sure highlight from the entire tour. Our friends at BOLD Nebraska hosted us, and brought together over 700 pipeline fighters and climate change organizers from around the midwest.

There is no fiercer pipeline fighters and no kinder hosts than our friends in Nebraska.

Here they are:

Minneapolis goes big

(Winona LaDuke on the Do the Math Minneapolis stage – photo by Steve Liptay)

Our friends at MN350.org brought together an overflow crowd of 1200 people for Do the Math Minneapolis, which also featured Winona LaDuke of Honor the Earth, explorer Will Steger, and musician Mason Jennings.

Today MN 350 is hosting a meetup with students from across the state to kick off divestment campaigns and continue their momentum. The campaign grows!

Notes from the road- Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis was a fantastic evening. Winona LaDuke, Will Steger and Marty Cobenais joined us, and the crowd, as usual, was on their feet numerous times.

Here’s the crowd shot- see how packed this concert hall was?

We’ve sold out every night on the tour this far, which I don’t think we expected to do.

Omaha is tonight! It’s foggy, cold, and gorgeous here- I can’t wait to see how incredible the evening is.


Madison, WI continues the trend

Before I wax poetic about our evening in Madison, I should clarify that I don’t think there was anything particularly different about this stop. The energy was through the roof, which it was in Columbus and Chicago as well. (I imagine it was similar in previous stops too, but I wasn’t on the bus then.) The divestment toolkits flew off the table, the crowd was on their feet at least 3 times, and the college organizers were astounding, but none of this is new.

What made Madison so different for me was the realization that the energy in Columbus and Chicago was not a rarity. People really are this excited to get to work. The divestment movement really is catching hold, and campus organizers are truly as motivated and wonderful as they seem over email. The realization that this divestment movement has grown legs and taken off gives me a fantastic case of the goosebumps. I was fortunate enough to get a small green felt triangle, adorned only with the letter “D”, which is a symbol for this divestment movement. This pin began in Boston, on area campuses, and has traveled through the network of college divestment movements to Madison. I’m hoping to see more of them on the road, and have mine pinned proudly to my all-access pass.

Friends, we’re going to take down the fossil fuel industry. And we’re going to do so with so-called ‘average Americans’, who have shown themselves to be amazing and inspiring people, in Madison and beyond. I cannot wait to meet the folks in Minneapolis tomorrow, and absolutely believe in the power of these organizers to get their colleges, towns, and religious institutions to divest. 3 cheers for all!

"Stand if you're willing to march for this planet"

Forgive the picture quality, but know that I was incredibly humbled as I took this photo.


From the bus,


Divestment campaign spreads to over 100 campuses!

Wow! We launched this new fossil fuel divestment campaign this November 7 and in less than a month campaigns have sprung up on over 100 colleges and universities across the country. From big schools like the University of Michigan to small liberal arts colleges like Amherst, the idea of divestment is spreading like wildfire.

It’s hard to keep up with everything that’s going on across the country, but here are a few updates from the growing movement. Earlier this month, Unity College in Maine became the first in the nation to meet our demands and fully divest from fossil fuels (Hampshire College in Massachusetts has also passed a sustainable investment policy that effectively divests them from fossil fuels). At Harvard, a student resolution supporting divestment just passed with 72% of the vote and students are now pushing to meet with President Faust about divestment. Just north, UNH students will be delivering 1,000 signatures to their president today to call for a meeting on divestment (they’re already getting AP coverage for the action). Down the coast, at Brown, students are also rallying to today to push their administration to divest from coal.

Students share information about the divestment campaign at a Do The Math tour stop. 

Over in the midwest, students are calling on the Badgers to divest and just published an editorial in the University of Wisconsin’s campus newspaper (more editorials are popping up across the country, like this one from Cornell). At University of Colorado in Boulder, students are preparing for a big Do The Math tour stop next week. And out in California, the five Claremont colleges have banded together to push for divestment across the system. Not to be outdone, the University of California schools are also hard at work, joining with our partners at the California Student Sustainability Coalition to push for divestment.


On the bus

Here’s a post from Bill McKibben, who’s on the bus with our Do The Math crew chugging across the midwest: 

I’m finding it hard to remember that I have a home—a stationary home, with a bed that doesn’t bounce up and down, a bed without a driver. We’re so deep in the rhythm of this Do The Math tour that it’s come to seem almost natural:  Do the show to a sold-out house of organizers, talk with them afterwards as the planning for action gets serious, then climb aboard the bus and light out for the next stop. Right now we’re headed for Wisconsin.

It’s tiring—but it’s also exciting. Because, unlike a normal concert or speech, we’re leaving in our wake the beginning of ongoing campaigns. A lot of ongoing campaigns—word just came that there are now a hundred campuses with live divestment campaigns. Given last night’s fun in Chicago, I predict Northwestern and DePaul and some more will be on that list before long.   The fight is on; people know it’s going to be a battle, and they’re engaging. The days of change-your-lightbulb are past, and the days of change-the-paradigm are drawing nearer.

But for now it’s the road—it’s the great Fontella Bass on the sound system (or Tame Impala, the new Aussie psychedelic band). It’s too little sleep, a life punctuated by toll booths and truck stops. Surrounded by hard-working friends, and doing all we can to spark something  big.


Oh hi, Ohio

Another big venue here in Columbus, Ohio — excited to kick off the midwest leg of the Do The Math in just a few hours!