As a participant in the Interfaith Climate Justice Coalition, I’ve learned about a movement to divest from fossil fuels. This divestment is modeled after several other historic and successful divestment campaigns, including the refusal to invest in South Africa while apartheid was the social model.
Divestment from fossil fuels means to sell all stocks of fossil fuel companies, and potentially reinvest those funds in renewable energy companies. An individual can divest from fossil fuels held in his or her own IRA, 401k or other investment plan. It is also being done by entire pension funds, including those from funds held by faith bodies. To date, over $5.5 trillion has been divested from fossil fuel companies.
A May 2017 article from the Huffington Post states, “Other faith groups also took a moral stand and committed to divest including over a quarter of Quaker meetings in Britain, and a group of 30 clergy ― including three Church of England bishops— sent an open letter to the Church of England Pensions Board, asking them to divest from fossil fuel companies and to invest in renewable alternatives.”
The list of divesting faith bodies is even longer now. See the GreenFaith website to see how many faith groups, including individual churches, mosques and temples have already divested. Government pensions too are divesting from fossil fuels. New York City’s mayor, Bill deBlasio has announced that the divestment of the NY City Pension fund from all fossil fuels. Governor Cuomo has called for divestment of state owned pension funds, but the comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli remains unconvinced to date.
The Interfaith Climate Justice Community is working on a postcard and letter writing campaign. I will bring postcards and letters to Meeting for Worship that people can sign and send to Governor Cuomo and to the Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli. In addition, you can search out socially responsible investment opportunities on your own, or look at Friends Fiduciary Fund, an investment fund that screens investments based on Quaker values. Talk to me for more information.
Quaker values include a commitment to let our lives speak and live a life of integrity. Renewables are profitable as an investment and their future looks bright. A friend of mine has a button that says, “An oil spill is a crisis, but a solar spill is just a nice day.” Isn’t that a good thing in which to invest?