Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Northland College Becomes 747th Institution to Divest from Fossil Fuels

Energy
Northland College Becomes 747th Institution to Divest from Fossil Fuels
Irma Omerhodzic

The Northland College Board of Trustees voted Friday to fully divest Northland College's endowment funds from fossil fuels in the next five years.

Approximately 2.9 percent of the college's $28 million endowment—about $823,000—is currently invested in fossil fuels, according to the Carbon Underground 200, an annually updated global listing of the top 100 public coal, and the top 100 natural gas and oil companies. These investments will be replaced with more socially responsible investments with no new endowment funds invested in fossil fuel companies.


"To truly embrace our environmental mission, it is incumbent upon us to mindfully remove fossil fuel companies from our endowment portfolio," said trustee Mike Fiorio, a Northland College alumnus, a 32-year veteran of the financial services industry and a partner of Fiorio Wealth Advisors. "I'm proud to say that the Northland College Board of Trustees has embraced this initiative."

Based on data from the last 25 years looking at portfolios that incorporate fossil fuels and those that don't, Fiorio, who sits on the college's investment committee, concluded that there would be little-to-no long-term impact on returns.

According to 350.org, an international organization tracking and advocating for divestment, 746 institutions—including churches, cities, corporations, individuals and higher education institutions—representing more than $5.2 trillion in assets have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment. Northland College is now the 747th.

The student campaign for divestment at Northland College began in 2012 and was revived in 2014, according to Emily Donaldson, a 2017 graduate, who spoke before the board of trustees. Donaldson is a research assistant at the Northland College Center for Rural Communities and as a student directed the Environmental Council, the student organization that pushed for the change.

"This is one small step toward a more sustainable future that combats climate change and those culpable in perpetuating it—and one that is attainable and fitting for us as an environmental liberal arts college," said Donaldson. "However, as we join other institutions in this global movement of environmental and social justice, we will step into larger strides, until we're leaping toward carbon neutrality."

Northland College is one of 361 environmentally responsible colleges according to The Princeton Review and a member of EcoLeague, a consortium of six colleges and universities that share a mission based on environmental responsibility. Northland College will be joining three of these institutions—Green Mountain, College of the Atlantic and Prescott College—in divestment from fossil fuels.

"This is campus activism at its best," said Northland College President Michael A. Miller. "Educational institutions have a unique responsibility to divest from fossil fuels and help usher in the transition to a renewable energy economy that works for all, especially the young people for whom they exist."

Valley of the Gods in the heart of Bears Ears National Monument. Mint Images / Getty Images

By Sharon Buccino

This week, Secretary Haaland chose a visit to Bears Ears National Monument as her first trip as Interior Secretary. She is spending three days in Bluff, Utah, a small town just outside the monument, listening to representatives of the five tribes who first proposed its designation to President Obama in 2015. This is the same town where former Secretary Sally Jewell spent several hours at a public hearing in July 2016 before recommending the monument's designation to President Obama.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Pexels

By Anthony Richardson, Chhaya Chaudhary, David Schoeman, and Mark John Costello

The tropical water at the equator is renowned for having the richest diversity of marine life on Earth, with vibrant coral reefs and large aggregations of tunas, sea turtles, manta rays and whale sharks. The number of marine species naturally tapers off as you head towards the poles.

Read More Show Less
Trending
"Secrets of the Whales" is a new series that will start streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. Disney+

In celebration of Earth Day, a star-studded cast is giving fans a rare glimpse into the secret lives of some of the planet's most majestic animals: whales. In "Secrets of the Whales," a four-part documentary series by renowned National Geographic Photographer and Explorer Brian Skerry and Executive Producer James Cameron, viewers plunge deep into the lives and worlds of five different whale species.

Read More Show Less
Spring is an excellent time to begin bird watching in earnest. Eugenio Marongiu / Cultura / Getty Images

The coronavirus has isolated many of us in our homes this year. We've been forced to slow down a little, maybe looking out our windows, becoming more in tune with the rhythms of our yards. Perhaps we've begun to notice more, like the birds hopping around in the bushes out back, wondering (maybe for the first time) what they are.

Read More Show Less
The brown pelican is seen on Queen Bess Island in Louisiana in March 2021. Casey Wright / LDWF biologist

Who says you can't go home again?

Read More Show Less