A wave of student-led actions swept across the campuses of around 60 U.S. and Canadian schools last month, as students turned to sit-ins, walkouts and banner drops to pressure universities into divesting their endowments from fossil fuel companies. Called “Divestment Day” by activists, the Feb. 13 series of actions was just the latest escalation for a movement that’s been undergoing a serious revival.
The end of 2017 saw a rapid escalation of big divestment announcements, including from global insurer Axa. 2018 brings more opportunity – so long as campaigning prioritises the voices of those most impacted by climate change.
While banking executives from over 90 of the world’s largest financial institutions gathered in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Monday for the start of a three-day meeting on the environmental and social impacts of their infrastructure investments, activists in at least 15 U.S. states and several other countries staged protests under the banner of “Divest The Globe.” Their message to the banks was simple: cut ties with fossil fuel companies, or face major divestment campaigns.
Earlier this week, the British government announced a new Tory-led parliamentary measure that will inflict “severe penalties” onto local governments and public institutions that boycott goods and services on an “ethical” (as opposed to purely financial) basis, including divestment.
Divestment is the opposite of investment: you can think of it like “uninvesting.”
Many students have vowed to ramp up their divestment campaigns at universities across America this spring.
In the midst of a severe drought, California Gov. Jerry Brown has enacted the state’s first mandatory water cuts.