Pitt and Others Must Divest From Fossil Fuels

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On Thursday, February 13th, students at the University of Pittsburgh held a rally to demand the university divest from its investments in fossil fuels. Students at the university with Fossil Free Pitt have been holding weekly sit-ins and demonstrations to demand that the University of Pittsburgh divest its endowment from fossil fuels. The university currently has about $4.3 BILLION invested with fossil fuels through its endowment, and for many reasons, that investment needs to end. The university should be investing in the students, our community, and the future of our planet instead.

The text of the original divestment petition makes the following demands:

Join us in asking to Board of Trustees to vote to divest our endowment from fossil fuels.

1) Immediately freeze all new endowment investments on Carbon Underground Top 200’s list of the top 100 coal companies and top 100 oil and natural gas companies according to the size of their fossil fuel reserves.

2) Divest the endowment’s direct holding in the Top 200 within 3 years.

3) Divest and screen our endowment’s direct holdings and commingled funds from the entire fossil fuel industry within 5 years.

4) Institutionalize a collaborative process between students, faculty, the administration, and the investment committee to address future divestment proposals and work to make sure the endowment is invested in a socially and economically responsible manner.The Fossil Free Pitt Coalition is a group of students, faculty, and community members demanding that the University of Pittsburgh.

The Fossil Free Pitt Coalition clarified in a second statement: “WE DEMAND YOU HOLD A VOTE ON FEBRUARY 28 TO DIVEST THE UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT FROM FOSSIL FUELS AND DIVEST ALL HOLDINGS BY APRIL 2020.”

The Coalition also encourages all community members to sign a pledge to refuse to donate to Pitt until it divests from fossil fuels.

Garret has signed onto the petitions and pledge and strongly supports the efforts. University of Pittsburgh must be a leader and divest from fossil fuels if it is to live up to its aspirations. Universities are supposed to be places of knowledge and research, looking toward a brighter future for humanity, and that is not true as long as the university is directly investing in, and enabling, the destruction of our planet.

An op-ed written by several students declares that:

Fossil fuel divestment is a crucial tactic in our fight for climate justice. Climate justice is centering justice in climate solutions. In short, it means that we must fundamentally shift the way we interact with each other and all living beings on the planet to avoid climate catastrophe.

This perspective names capitalism as the root cause of the climate crisis. Our movement believes that a better world is possible, but only if we make a just transition from an extractive economy to a regenerative one.

We must fundamentally re-envision how our economy works and transition away from an extractive economy to one that is based in ecology, democracy, justice, and peace. The Green Party’s Green New Deal is the best plan to make this transition as urgently as possible while ensuring no one is left behind by the transition.


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