Fossil Fuel Divestment Day Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 13, 2020

For immediate comment, please contact: Alyssa Lee, Director of Divest Ed, (209) 222-8872, alyssa@betterfutureproject.org 

59 Campuses See Rallies, Sit-ins, Banner Drops on Fossil Fuel Divestment Day

Students around the world call on their colleges to divest from fossil fuels

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- College students from 59 campuses across the globe took action for Fossil Fuel Divestment Day on February 13th, 2020. Students are demanding their universities divest their endowments from fossil fuel corporations and reinvest in regenerative, community-controlled economies. Actions include sit-ins, rallies, banner drops, and die-ins at Harvard, University of Pittsburgh, Cornell, Stanford, MIT, Mount Holyoke College, University of Minnesota, and others. 

I am participating in University of Wisconsin’s divestment die-in because for 3 consecutive years, I have seen the earth’s future deteriorate, while the university has done nothing of significance to acknowledge or mitigate its role in promoting the use of fossil fuels,” said Emiliana Almanza Lopez, a student with the Wisconsin Student Climate Action Coalition. “It is time that the institutions chooses to invest in the future of its students.”

This is the largest single day of action ever for the student fossil fuel divestment movement, and it builds off of unprecedented momentum. One week ago, Georgetown University announced their commitment to divest from all fossil fuels, making it the 2nd largest single university in the U.S. to fully divest. In the last two weeks, Harvard faculty passed a resolution 179-20 calling on Harvard to divest, the University of Pennsylvania, announced it would not directly invest in coal and tar sands, and the student body presidents of the Big 10 unanimously passed a resolution to call on their schools to divest. Last fall, the University of California divested $83 billion of assets and students at Harvard and Yale made headline news when they stormed the schools’ annual football game at halftime

Student divestment campaigns are putting pressure on university administrators and trustees to listen to this growing public support and disclose their investments, commit to a timeline for divestment, and reinvest money into community-based assets. Students call for divestment for financial, moral, and political reasons, citing the fossil fuel industry’s responsibility in driving climate change and inflicting destruction on indigenous and people of color communities. 

“We are hoping that our rally and sit-in can reinforce the overwhelming student, faculty, and community support for fossil fuel divestment and climate justice,” says Keagan Cross, a member of Fossil Free Stanford. “In our opposition to the fossil fuel industry, we are also taking this opportunity to stand in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en land defenders who are facing violence and persecution as they oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline to be constructed on their land.” Fossil Free Stanford held a public rally where they held a moment of silence for indigenous communities and featured speakers who spoke on the effect of climate change on the Philippines, Pacific Island nations, and indigenous people. 

So far, at least 49 colleges in the U.S. have committed to divest, joining over 1,000 institutions worldwide. “Students and youth have always been at the forefront of movements for social justice. As fossil fuel divestment commitments surpass $14 trillion in assets, we’re excited to support one of divestment's biggest on-campus days of action. Student organizing kicked-off the fossil fuel divestment movement nearly eight years ago, and now it’s taking demands for transformative climate action to the next level on campuses everywhere.” said Tamara Toles O'Laughlin, the North America Director of 350.org which helped launch the movement in 2012. 

Divest Ed, the national student fossil fuel divestment training and strategy hub which organized the day of action, said that Fossil Fuel Divestment Day is not an isolated day of action, and that the movement will join the Youth Climate Strikes and escalate again on Earth Day and beyond. 

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Divest Ed is the national training and strategy hub for student fossil fuel divestment campaigns. Divest Ed launched in 2018 and provides coaching, training, and national coordination to over 70 campaigns across the country. Divest Ed is a part of Better Future Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Cambridge, MA. Learn more at divested.org 

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