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Giving Compass' Take:
• Grist's Emily Pontecorvo details Harvard's exemplary strategies in fossil fuel divestment and how other colleges can follow suit.
• What are you doing to draw attention to the benefits of fossil fuel divestment? Where can you use your monetary and non-monetary assets to make shifts toward divestment?
• Read more about fossil fuel divestment strategies on college campuses.
The fossil fuel divestment movement won a significant victory on Friday: Harvard University alumni elected three new divestment-focused members to the school’s Board of Overseers, the governing body with a say over who controls the school’s $40.9 billion endowment. While that level of influence is somewhat indirect, it represents a new strategy for divestment advocates, who have been repeatedly shut down by university administrations.
Advocates for divestment argue that fossil fuels are a risky investment, both financially and for the planet, and that those funds should be diverted to more sustainable industries, such as renewable energy.
“It’s also about forcing decision makers at all levels to choose a side between fossil fuel executives responsible for lying for the last half a century about the climate crisis,” explained Lindsay Meiman, a spokesperson for 350.org. “Or, in the example of Harvard, the side of the students, alumni, and faculty for whom you are creating a future.”
A new campaign by a pro-divestment alumni group called Harvard Forward was already underway, testing out a new strategy — stop trying to convince those in control of the endowment and instead move to become the ones in control of the endowment. They started a petition to nominate five alumni to run for the Board of Overseers, which is just one step removed from the Harvard Corporation. Harvard Forward’s candidates obtained enough signatures to make it onto the ballot, and ultimately, on Friday, three of them were elected to the eight-person board.
“Now the real work starts to help make Harvard a true leader on climate, responsible investing, racial equity, and disentangling our involvement with the unjust criminal-legal system.”
Read the full article about fossil fuel divestment by Emily Pontecorvo at Grist.