Divest UW

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


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.
Thursday, June 13
12:30 PM
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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ASUW endorses fossil fuel divestment

This is huge news, friends!  At their meeting tonight the Associated Students of the University of Washington (ASUW) Student Senate, which calls itself “the official voice of over 40,000 students at the University of Washington” endorsed a resolution supporting our fossil fuel divestment campaign by a vote of 52-20.  This is a very important endorsement as we prepare to make our case to the Board of Regents on June 13th.

We are grateful to all of our campaign members and the ASUW senators who worked hard to earn the Student Senate’s endorsement.

Have you or your student organization endorsed divestment yet?