Across the country college students have been calling for the divestment from fossil fuels, in hopes that colleges and universities will invest in alternative energy. This movement has made it’s way to New England College with the Environmental Action Committee (EAC) at the forefront. The EAC has created a petition to encourage their fellow students to request a change.
The movement to divest asks institutions to move ethically-problematic investments to less harmful ones, or to investments that benefit humanity. This idea appeals to college campuses where ethical principles and actions are critically explored. An example is when colleges called for divestment from South Africa in the time of apartheid.
Today, the divestment movement sweeping across college campuses is fossil fuels. Many schools state in their mission statement that the environment, as well as their students’ feelings and voices, are hugely important to them. Students have called for the movement away from fossil fuels, in hopes of having their colleges further lined up with their mission statements.
The student available resource, Divestment In a Nutshell, states, “divestment from fossil fuels means taking the money that New England College currently has with coal and oil industries and shifting it to be invested in other companies.”
The movement for divestment is not purely an academic one. There are several other types of institutions moving away from fossil fuels, such as religious, governmental, health care, for profits, and cultural institutions. Overall, there has been approximately $5.44 Trillion divested from fossil fuels since the movement began.
Currently, there are 686 institutions divesting and 58,000+ individuals. To name a few divesters, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, Mark Ruffalo, World Council of Churches, Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Boston University, and several cities throughout the United States and Europe. The newest development on the global front comes from Ireland. The Irish Parliament recently conducted a vote in favor of the divestment from fossil fuels for the entire country, which is an historic first-of-its kind legislation.
This movement has reached our campus thanks to the EAC, “which exists to provide a place where students can not only connect with others who share an interest in the environment, but also a place where they can learn skills to use after they graduate, taking immediate action to improve their community.”
Stephanie Goulet, the head of the EAC and a strong proponent for the petition against fossil fuels, said: “Our overarching goal is to help the environment by moving toward a carbon neutral New England College. To work toward that end, we have some ongoing projects such as this divestment campaign and to make our end-of-the-year waste reduction program, Reverse the Wreckage, more effective and accessible for students.”
The EAC meets every Tuesday at 5:30pm in the Sayce Lounge on campus.