Quantcast

Stanford Student Movement Inspires University's $18.7 Billion Divestment From Coal

If there's any investment that could potentially cause “substantial social injury," it's coal-fired energy.

A large-scale student campaign helped Stanford University's board of trustees realize as much, leading to this week's decision for the institution to divest its $18.7 billion endowment from coal stock. 

Stanford University's 43-year-old Statement on Investment Responsibility instructs the board of trustees to invest endowment assets to maximize potential returns, but it also allows trustees to factor in the possibility of those investments causing social injury.

"Moving away from coal in the investment context is a small but constructive step while work continues at Stanford and elsewhere to develop broadly viable sustainable energy solutions for the future," John Hennessy, university president, said in a statement.

Fossil Free Stanford, a student-led organization, petitioned the university a year ago to divest from 200 fossil-fuel extraction companies. Stanford's Advisory Panel on Investment Responsibility and Licensing (APIRL), a panel of students, faculty, staff and alumni, reviewed the petition and ultimately made the recommendation to divest.

Democracy Now! spoke with student Michael Peñuelas, a faculty liaison for the group, about the campaign and the change he and his classmates inspired.

"Fossil Free Stanford catalyzed an important discussion, and the university has pursued a careful, research-based evaluation of the issues," said Steven A. Denning, chairman of the Stanford Board of Trustees. "We believe this action provides leadership on a critical matter facing our world and is an appropriate application of the university's investment responsibility policy."

Stanford's decision comes after several, similar campaigns and protests at universities around the country. Seven Washington University students were arrested last week for protesting Peabody Coal. One Harvard University student was arrested at a day of action event to encourage the college to divest from fossil fuels.

Video screenshot credit: Democracy Now!

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Stanford Professor on Letterman: Powering Entire World on Renewable Energy No Problem

Stanford University Scientists Produce Electricity From Sewage

Stanford Professor’s 50-State Plan For 100-Percent Renewable Energy

——– 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Let's talk about human composting. Katrina Spade / TEDxOrcasIsland


No longer will the options when we die be a choice between just burial or cremation. Soon it will be possible to compost your remains and leave your loved ones with rich soil, thanks to a new funeral service opening in Seattle in 2021 that will convert humans into soil in just 30 days, as The Independent reported.

Read More Show Less
You can reduce the footprint of a medium-sized live tree by donating it to elephants at a local zoo, like this African elephant pictured above. eans / iStock / Getty Images

The holiday season is supposed to be about giving and sharing, but often it is actually about throwing away. The U.S. generates 25 percent more garbage between Thanksgiving and New Year's than it does during the rest of the year. That's around one million extra tons per week, according to National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) figures reported by The Associated Press.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
The Opera House is seen with smoke haze which enveloped Sydney Harbor on Dec. 10 in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze hangs over the city as the New South Wales fire danger risk is raised from 'very high' to 'severe'. James D. Morgan / Getty Images

The brushfires raging through New South Wales have shrouded Australia's largest city in a blanket of smoke that pushed the air quality index 12 times worse than the hazardous threshold, according to the Australia Broadcast Corporation (ABC).

Read More Show Less
People walk across the bridge near Little Raven Court in downtown Denver. Younger Americans increasingly prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images

By David B. Goldstein

Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of any country's plan to fight the climate crisis. It is the cheapest option available, and one that as often as not comes along with other benefits, such as job creation, comfort and compatibility with other key solutions such as renewable energy. This has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for at least a decade.

Read More Show Less
Activists from Extinction Rebellion New York City engaged in nonviolent direct action to confront climate change outside City Hall on April 17, 2019. Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Over 500 groups on Monday rolled out an an action plan for the next president's first days of office to address the climate emergency and set the nation on a transformative path towards zero emissions and a just transition in their first days in office.

Read More Show Less