As the month of November comes to a close, the divestment movement expands their reach far and wide. New divestment campaigns are launching across the world, campuses who have received “no” from their administrations one time too many are taking their cases to court, and students in larger numbers than ever are showing up and pressuring everyone – from administrations to city councils – to divest, divest, divest!
Whether in the Marshall Islands or the city of Boston, the student and community escalation is sending one clear message: the divestment campaign is growing fast. And country borders, rejections, and changing political landscapes aren’t about to stop a movement whose time has come.
FIVE GLOBAL CAMPUSES EXPANDING THEIR REACH
This past month, the College of Marshall Islands (CMI) in the Republic of Marshall Islands began taking the first steps to commit to divest the college’s endowment from fossil fuels. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Marshallese poet, writer, performance artist, and journalist participated in a campus divestment training and in collaboration with student groups and community groups called upon the Marshallese community and President Carl Hacker to rise as a community leader and divest.
In Mr. Hacker’s own words:
We need all of our friends and our colleagues in the Pacific Region and around the world to take note, spread the word and become leaders in this movement to divest from fossil fuels. It is critical that our voices and our actions are taken into account as we move forward in discussions concerning climate change and the formulation of policies that will preserve our islands, our histories, our cultures and our ways of life. The Pacific Region has to be a leading voice in raising this awareness and do whatever we can in our own home islands to walk the talk of divestment of fossil fuels and climate change.
Check this out the article in Marshall Islands Journal, explaining the CMI’s plan to divest, and Kathy’s reflections on
On November 20th, Humboldt University took the steps to commit to full fossil fuel divestment, becoming the first state university to do so. Although the Humboldt State Foundation has never included direct investments in major fossil fuel investments, to move towards full divestment, they have decided to direct 10 percent of their portfolio to be shifted to green funds, reaffirmed that they want no direct investments in fossil fuels, committed to a new fund invested entirely fossil fuel free, and reinvested 10 percent of the portfolio into green funds with every new $500,000 donated.
They state in their press release:
“We’re a small school with a relatively small endowment, but we have a long history of leading in social responsibility, in particular, advancing change in environmental stewardship,” said Heather Bernikoff-Raboy, an HSU alumna who recently became Chair of the University’s Advancement Foundation, which oversees the endowment. “We heard the students, we agree with them, and we are proud to have worked with them to get to this point.”
American University staged one of the largest on campus student actions on November 19, 2014 telling the Board of Trustees that “American University students will rise before the seas do,” in a strategic build-up strategy to presenting a proposal to their board to divest from fossil fuels on November 21, 2014.
Their words tell it best:
The students have JUST heard a cryptic no from their board and are planning a massive counter action. More to come, don’t miss this story. The students are rising and we as a community are here to support them in their protest.
This week we announced something huge on our website, that “the biggest endowment consultant in the U.S. announced that they would support universities and other institutions interested in divesting from fossil fuels. The announcement from Cambridge Associates has already been covered by publications on the Swarthmore and American University campuses.”
Here is the specific language from Cambridge Associates:
“Climate change is on the minds of many institutional investors, including endowments. Fortunately, there are a number of avenues institutions can elect to pursue to act on their concerns, from a focus on alternative energy and fossil-free investment managers, to various degrees of divestment within a portfolio. Cambridge Associates stands ready to help institutions pursue any of these paths.”
– Cambridge Associates, an institutional investment advisor that serves endowments.
FIVE GLOBAL COMMUNITIES EXPANDING THEIR REACH
This month, Norway’s largest manager of pension funds KPL,which manages the pension funds for the majority of Norway’s public sector employees, has decided to sell off all its investments in coal companies and REINVEST half-a-billion kroner (around USD 75 million) in renewable energy ventures.
As we wrote on gofossilfree.org, “With its total assets of nearly NOK 500 billion ($84bn/€67bn) its clout in the investment world ranks second only to the Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, known as the oil fund. Today’s decision sets an important precedent for the Oil Fund which is due to announce a decision on its investments in fossil fuels later this month!
Today KLP’s CEO Sverre Thornes announced that: “We are divesting our interests in coal companies in order to highlight the necessity of switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy.” KLP has decided to invest NOK 500 million more in increased renewable energy capacity.”
On November 17, the Boston City Council voted “yes!” urging the state of Massachusetts to divest from fossil fuel companies. How they got there, was a high school student lead hearing that rallied front-line communities and youth from throughout the area to gather in the Boston City Court House. In front of legislators, the community told their stories living with climate change – and what they want to do about it. The resolution passed with an astounding 11-1 vote.
On November 15, 2014, the Diocese of Oxford voted to disinvest from fossil fuel companies at its Diocesan Synod, and they took their divestment decision one step further. In addition to their own landmark decision as the first in the Church of England to do so, they also called upon the rest of Church of England to follow in step.
Revd Darrell Hannah, Rector of All Saints Church in Ascot Heath explained, “Oxford Diocese, true to its history, is challenging the Church of England as a whole to take seriously the threat of climate change and what we as Christians do about it.”
From the gofossilfree.org Pacific site:
On November 20, 350 Pacific volunteers across the region, known as the ‘Pacific Climate Warriors’, delivered letters to ANZ (The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group), asking them to divest from the fossil fuel industry as part of a new ‘divestment’ campaign launched in the Pacific Islands.
“We launched this campaign to call on businesses operating in the Pacific to remove all forms of support to the industry – the fossil fuel industry – that will destroy us,” said campaign spokesperson, Ms. Kathy Jetnil Kiljne, who recently addressed world leaders at the United Nations Climate Summit in September.
Earlier this year, the Anglican Church of New Zealand and Polynesia became the first in the worldwide Anglican Communion, to pledge to divest from fossil fuel companies later followed by Anglican Church in Australia. Currently the College of the Marshall Islands, are trying to get their campus to divest their endowment from fossil fuels. If they succeed, they would be the first College in the Pacific region to divest from fossil fuels.
On November12, 2014 the Fossil Free South Africa campaign had their initial series of launches, gathering 80 guests talk about the anti-apartheid divestment campaign. A special guest was Mpho Tutu, director of the Desmond and Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation who outlined the profound injustice of climate change – that those least responsible for creating the problem are and will be most affected.
NEW PETITIONS TO CHECK OUT