Fossil Fuel Divestment
Maintaining investments in the fossil fuel industry is antithetical to Bates mission statement and cherished history. A national fossil fuel divestment movement has gained a great deal of support over the past year at many campuses, cities, and religious organizations. BEAM is asking the Bates Board of Trustees to divest from the fossil fuel industry, which we define as the top 200 corporations listed in the Carbon Tracker Initiative’s report entitled “Unburnable Carbon,” beginning with coal companies within 2 years and all companies within 5 years.
Rising temperatures caused by the burning of fossil fuels threaten our communities and the environment. Global warming will lead to rising sea levels, more extreme and more frequent weather events, food shortages, and disease outbreaks – and the world’s poorest will bear the brunt of the impact. Therefore we believe our college should not be invested in companies involved in the extraction and refinement of fossil fuels.
Bates’ cherished history and values speak for the need to divest. We are a school that was founded by abolitionists at a time in history when no one thought our country could run without slavery. Looking into Bates’ mission statement as educating students for “stewardship of the wider world” and described as “a school for coming times,” it is only logical to think that Bates would take a strong stand on the most pertinent issue of the time — the move toward sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Mass divestment is not about starving the fossil fuel companies of money – it is about tarnishing the image of fossil fuel companies and encouraging elected officials and boardrooms to act on climate change. Moreover, it is about engaging our institutional leaders and making them grapple with the fact that our college supports and profits from a changing climate. Individuals are powerless against the multinational corporations we depend on for power – We call on our educational institutions to stand up for justice and lead the necessary movement towards sustainability.
The global fossil fuel divestment campaign grows daily and now consists of colleges, religious organizations, and municipalities from across the planet. It is truly an honor to stand in solidarity with so many other concerned citizens of the world.