Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Students Stage Day of Action As Harvard University Refuses to Divest From Fossil Fuels

Student activists with the Divest Harvard campaign blockaded one of the main entrances to Harvard University President Drew Faust’s office in Harvard Yard today, kicking off a day of non-violent action. Students are calling for an open debate about fossil fuel divestment with the Harvard Corporation after having been denied a public meeting with the administration since fall 2013, according to the groups press release.

[blackoutgallery id="332633"]

Supported by 350.org and Better Future Project, the campaign is part of a global movement including more than 400 campuses calling for endowments to divest from publicly traded coal, oil and gas companies that own the majority of the world’s carbon reserves. The fossil fuel divestment movements aims to stigmatize and decrease the influence of fossil fuel companies responsible for the worsening climate crisis.

Divest Harvard is calling on the university to:

  • Immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies 
  • Immediately divest direct holdings (currently $17.3 million) from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies
  • Divest indirect holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and reinvest in socially responsible funds

Watch Tim DeChristopher speak at today's event:

The Harvard administration has repeatedly refused to participate in open and transparent dialogue about fossil fuel divestment, instead holding meetings with trustees behind closed doors and making public statements that dismiss concerns about the dangerous political influence of fossil fuel corporations.

“The university’s failure to respond to demands for an open discussion of its investments in fossil fuels shows a lack of respect for student opinion,” said Brett Roche, undergraduate and blockade participant. “If a Harvard education is truly meant to liberate students to challenge and to lead, then the administration should be ready to engage with students organizing for institutional change.”

In addition to the blockade, a day-long rally is taking place that features music and speeches by alumni, faculty, social justice groups and prominent climate activists, including Tim DeChristopher. The students are encouraging passers-by to make T-shirts, banners and other crafts as well as write letters to President Faust and members of the Harvard Corporation about why they support fossil fuel divestment.

“We want to get President Faust’s attention,” said Sidni Frederick, undergraduate and Divest Harvard member. “It’s important for the university’s leadership to know that the student body can’t wait any longer for them to begin a real dialogue about why they aren’t taking bolder steps in solving the climate crisis, a problem that threatens all of our futures.”

For more than two years much of the Harvard community has been calling for the university to divest. In 2012 72 percent of students voted for divestment and earlier this month 93 faculty members sent a strongly worded open letter to President Faust and fellows of the school admonishing the university for refusing to consider divestment. 

--------

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Students Rally for Fossil Fuel Divestment at Ohio State University

Divest Duke Urges University to Phase Out Investment in Fossil Fuels

Prescott College Passes Landmark Fossil Fuel Divestment Resolution

--------

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A grizzly bear sow with cub in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. Danita Delimont / Gallo Images / Getty Images Plus

Grizzly bears in Wyoming and Idaho won't be subject to a trophy hunt thanks to a federal court decision Wednesday upholding endangered species protections for these iconic animals.

Read More Show Less
Oregano oil is an extract that is not as strong as the essential oil, but appears to be useful both when consumed or applied to the skin. Peakpx / CC by 1.0

By Alexandra Rowles

Oregano is a fragrant herb that's best known as an ingredient in Italian food.

However, it can also be concentrated into an essential oil that's loaded with antioxidants and powerful compounds that have proven health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro meets Ronaldo Caiado, governor of the state of Goiás on June 5, 2020. Palácio do Planalto / CC BY 2.0

Far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has presided over the world's second worst coronavirus outbreak after the U.S., said Tuesday that he had tested positive for the virus.

Read More Show Less
Although natural gas produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, it is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Skitterphoto / PIxabay

By Emily Grubert

Natural gas is a versatile fossil fuel that accounts for about a third of U.S. energy use. Although it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than coal or oil, natural gas is a major contributor to climate change, an urgent global problem. Reducing emissions from the natural gas system is especially challenging because natural gas is used roughly equally for electricity, heating, and industrial applications.

Read More Show Less
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved two Lysol products as the first to effectively kill the novel coronavirus on surfaces, based on laboratory testing. Paul Hennessy / NurPhoto via Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a list of 431 products that are effective at killing viruses when they are on surfaces. Now, a good year for Lysol manufacturer Reckitt Benckiser just got better when the EPA said that two Lysol products are among the products that can kill the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez unveils the Green New Deal resolution in front of the U.S. Capitol on February 7, 2019 in Washington, DC. Alex Wong / Getty Images

By Judith Lewis Mernit

For all its posturing on climate change, the Democratic Party has long been weak on the actual policies we need to save us from extinction. President Barack Obama promised his presidency would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow," and then embraced natural gas, a major driver of global temperature rise, as a "bridge fuel." Climate legislation passed in the House in 2009 would have allowed industries to buy credits to pollute, a practice known to concentrate toxic air in black and brown neighborhoods while doing little to cut emissions.

Read More Show Less

Trending

About 30,000 claims contending that Roundup caused non-Hodgkin's lymphoma are currently unsettled. Mike Mozart / CC BY 2.0

Bayer's $10 billion settlement to put an end to roughly 125,000 lawsuits against its popular weed killer Roundup, which contains glyphosate, hit a snag this week when a federal judge in San Francisco expressed skepticism over what rights future plaintiffs would have, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Read More Show Less