Divest UW

If it's wrong to wreck the planet, it's wrong to profit from wrecking the planet.


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Faculty and Staff Divestment Petition

The Board of Regents will be meeting in March where they will be considering whether to divest the university from coal. To help sway their vote we are trying to get signatures on a faculty and staff petition in favor of the University of Washington divesting from publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation. If you know faculty who would be eager to sign on in favor of divestment, please send this message or something like it onto them:

Dear [Insert Name],

On behalf of Divest UW I would like to humbly request your endorsement on the attached faculty and staff petition in favor of the University of Washington divesting from publicly traded companies whose principal business is the mining of coal for use in energy generation. This petition aims to inform the Board of Regents who are set to potentially vote on divestment at their March meeting. The call already has the support of the Associated Students of the University of Washington and the Graduate and Professional Student Senate. We would greatly appreciate your and other faculty support too. If you are happy to endorse the call, please can you email your name and title to <ccchange@uw.edu>. Also if you are willing please can you send this petition onto other colleagues, faculty and staff at the University of Washington.

If you have any questions. Please do not hesitate to contact <ccchange@uw.edu>.
On behalf of Divest UW, thank you for your time and hopefully your support,
[Insert name]
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Global Divestment Day

People across the world are coming together on Global Divestment Day to show that
The People > The Fossil Fuel IndustryChalkhistory

Come join Divest UW for a day of fun action in UW’s Red Square! We will be holding a mock wedding, binding the University to the Fossil Fuel industry that it seems to love. We’ll also be having a banner drop, taking an aerial photo, and eating some Global Day of Divesment “Wedding Cake!”

Wear orange, bring posters, bikes, banners and all your friends, and let’s make fossil fuels history. Bring along your objections as to why the university shouldn’t follow through with this terrible marriage.

Time: 12:10pm
Date: Friday the 13th of February
Place: The Steps of Suzallo Library in Red Square

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/1390521681252553/


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Reviving the Divestment Ask

10253795_666653906704288_2374805130397698410_nWhile this blog space has been quiet for the last while, Divest UW has most certainly not been. In fact, just in case you missed it, in the last month our continued work has been featured on KUOW, the Seattle Times and the Stranger.

More than that, we’ve been back in meetings with the Board of Regents, and building on our previous work we’re bringing back the divestment ask! Check out our stellar new policy for more details on just what we’re asking for, and details on how we’re building on past victories to try and become one of the few major universities with a comprehensive, ethically responsible, fiscally sound and all-round powerful approach to tacking the climate crisis.

We’re hoping to present this to the Board of Regents at their next meeting. More details to follow soon. We’re excited and we hope you are too! Keen to get involved? Then email us on ccchange@uw.edu

PS: Illustrating the strength of our Divestment ask, AMP ( a major investor), just decided to dump stocks in pretty much exactly the companies we’re targeting for direct divestment: http://www.smh.com.au/business/mining-and-resources/amp-fund-dumps-fossil-fuel-investments-20140528-394iz.html


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Divest UW Secures Victory with 5 Global Climate Change Initiatives

FF-logoOn November 13, 2013, the University of Washington  Finance, Audit and Facilities Committee of the Board of Regents formally approved our 2013 Climate Change Initiatives. These measures, ranging from the adoption of E.S.G. to participation in shareholder advocacy with respect to our currently held fossil-fuel assets, signify the first major step toward the establishment of a green endowment. This is only the beginning. For more details on our victory click HERE

Divest UW thanks every member of the campaign, past and present, for their support, and we hope to see deeper engagement in the weeks and months to come. During Spring Quarter 2014, we meet every Tuesday at 7PM in Savery Hall 156, as we work on ensuring that UW and the broader community takes every step possible to ensure a just future. If you are interested in joining Divest UW/ Confronting Climate Change please join us at our meetings or send an email to ccchange@uw.edu


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A Successful Rally with the Regents

Yesterday was Divest UW’s most important day yet. As one member posted on Facebook, “We have the Board’s attention! We have momentum! We will get this University to divest…come Hell or high water!” The day began with a pep talk from Seattle City Councilmember Mike O’Brien who talked about how the City of Seattle became the first city to publicly commit to divestment from fossil fuel companies. It was encouraging to hear how quickly the City chose to move on divestment.

After Councilmember O’Brien’s talk we gathered our whole crowd and climbed a back staircase to the fourth floor of the Allen Library. We stood outside the meeting room with our signs, purple t-shirts, and excitement as members of the Board of Regents squeezed through our crowd to get ready for their meeting. We packed the seats and lined the sides and rear of the room with divestment supporters from UW, Seattle’s new 350 group, and local supporters. Since the Board wouldn’t let us get on their actual agenda we stacked the entire public comment period with divestment presentations. Sarra Tekola, John Crawford-Gallagher, Joshua Cowgill, Robbie Marsh, and Kyle Murphy, organizers with Divest UW, spoke with clarity and conviction to the Regents who listened politely and read a prepared statement. Of course, we knew they wouldn’t give much response; our success was capturing their attention for a few minutes.

Then we tried to keep their attention. The group left the Regents with a nearly empty room and gathered outside their window. With the help of a megaphone Noam Gaster lead us in songs and chants. Speakers filled the air with passionate calls for divestment and the many reasons why our university should not associate itself with companies looking to destroy our future.

Thanks to all who came out in support of divestment yesterday. You made our day an incredible success! Let’s keep up the momentum come Hell or high water! (and we know at least one of those is on the way…)

Check out some of the press coverage we’ve received so far and our Facebook page for more pictures.

Video: Watch the speeches courtesy of David McFatridge at Seattle 350.

If you have photos or video please send them to divestuw@gmail.com. Thanks!

 


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Get involved: Rally with the Regents

We’re just over a week away from our Rally with the Regents!

Next Thursday, June 13, a number of students and community members be will attending the UW Board of Regents meeting to discuss divesting the UW’s endowment from the fossil fuel industry.

There are two opportunities for you to get involved:
Sign-Making Party
Friday, June 7
2:30-4:30 PM
UW Red Square
RSVP on Facebook
We will gather in a public space to attract the attention of bystanders and invite participation as we make art to use at the Rally with the Regents.
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Thursday, June 13
12:30 PM
UW HUB Lawn
RSVP on Facebook
Bring YOURSELF, your friends, and signs or props so we are seen and heard (e.g. giant clean energy puppets, etc.)
Wear purple.
 


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Why target the fossil fuel industry?

A common question we get is, “Why target the fossil fuel industry? Isn’t this different from the tobacco industry because the fossil fuel (FF) industry is just filling our demand and isn’t really hurting people?”

The answer is no. This is very comparable to the tobacco industry, except that even if we personally quit fossil fuels, we will not be immune from its effects (unlike tobacco). The FF industry is actively marginalizing climate science, stalling climate legislation, and searching for more carbon reserves to eventually burn – no matter the costs to people around the world.

In fact, the FF industry already has 5 times the amount of carbon in their reserves that scientists say is safe to burn: 

Not only that, but if the government or citizens make any attempt to try to control carbon emissions, the FF industry hits them with lobbyists. The FF industry has spent $140 million in 2012 alone lobbying in D.C. outspending the environmentalists nearly 10 fold.

The really scary thing is that nearly every legislator in D.C. took campaign contributions from the FF industry as well.

We are living through a period in which the FF industry is not only filling a demand for burning carbon, but it is also perpetuating that demand by protecting their subsidies and ability to endlessly burn carbon in D.C. no matter the costs to people around the world.

This movement is changing the venue of climate activism. We might not be able to compete with the FF industry financially in D.C., but we have our Universities, cities, churches, and non-profits, each of which trade in a currency just as powerful as dollars: moral authority.  When we engage each other in serious discussions of the ethics of our investments, our obligation to the future, and how climate change jeopardizes all that we love and cherish, we are building a broad movement capable of combating the financial power of the fossil fuel industry and staving off the worst impacts of climate change.

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