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Seattle Mayor Orders City to Divest from Fossil Fuels
By Jamie Henn
More than 2,000 people joined 350.org in Seattle on Nov. 7 to kick-off the “Do the Math” tour and nationwide divestment campaign.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn sent a letter to the city’s two chief pension funds last week, formally requesting that they “refrain from future investments in fossil fuel companies and begin the process of divesting our pension portfolio from those companies.”
“Climate change is one of the most important challenges we currently face as a city and as a society,” wrote Mayor McGinn in a letter to the Seattle City Employees’ Retirement System (SCERS) Board and the City of Seattle Voluntary Deferred Compensation Plan Committee. “I believe that Seattle ought to discourage these companies from extracting that fossil fuel, and divesting the pension fund from these companies is one way we can do that.”
Along with encouraging the pension funds to divest, Mayor McGinn also committed to making sure that city funds stay out of the fossil fuel industry, writing, “The City’s cash pool is not currently invested in fossil fuel companies, and I already directed that we refrain from doing so in the future.”
Valued at $1.9 billion, SCERS is also the largest investment portfolio yet to consider fossil fuel divestment. While the full value of SCERS fossil fuel investments is still unknown, according to the city’s finance director, the system currently has $17.6 million invested in ExxonMobil and Chevron, which represents roughly 0.9 percent of the system’s assets.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Shawn Radcliffe
The CDC recommends that all people wear cloth face masks in public places where it's difficult to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. This will help slow the spread of the virus from people without symptoms or people who do not know they have contracted the virus. Cloth face masks should be worn while continuing to practice social distancing. Instructions for making masks at home can be found here. Note: It's critical to reserve surgical masks and N95 respirators for healthcare workers.
The Centers for Disease Control has emphasized that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective measures we can take in preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, millions of Americans in some of the most vulnerable communities face the prospect of having their water shut off during the lockdowns, according to The Guardian.
Aerial photos of the Sierra Nevada — the long mountain range stretching down the spine of California — showed rust-colored swathes following the state's record-breaking five-year drought that ended in 2016. The 100 million dead trees were one of the most visible examples of the ecological toll the drought had wrought.
Now, a few years later, we're starting to learn about how smaller, less noticeable species were affected.
Natthawat / Moment / Getty Images
Disinfectants and cleaners claiming to sanitize against the novel coronavirus have started to flood the market, raising concerns for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which threatened legal recourse against retailers selling unregistered products, according to The New York Times.