DivestNMUa student organization demanding that the university withdraw its investments from fossil fuels, will host a guest speaker and a climate march to close the Anderton’s 8th Annual Earth Week at the NMU.
Anderton’s annual Earth Week honors the memory of the late Professor, John B. Anderton (1964-2014), who was a member of the Department of Earth, Environment and Geography at NMUand was head of department from 2008 to 2011.
Grace Brett, a co-director of DivestEd, a national divestment organization for higher education and college and university campuses, speaks Thursday at 7 p.m. at Jamrich 1311.
“I asked him to speak as if someone doesn’t know anything about divestment because I think there are a lot of people at NMU who don’t understand divestment at all and I want to dispel some misconceptions about it. “said club member Molly Miller. and major in junior social work.
A Climate Action Walk takes place on Friday noon. Walkers will meet at the Wildcat Statue and head to the Cohodas Building with speakers and information tables at 2 p.m.
The student organization originally started as a subgroup of the EcoReps called “assignment”. The group grew quickly and is now its own organization with separate meetings and memberships, Miller said.
“Our goal is to try to get the NMU to commit to freezing all future investment in the fossil fuel industry and eventually phasing out all current investment in the fossil fuel industry,” Miller said.
Zoe Tardy, a club member and environmental science major, said the money that comes into college is put into the stock market through mutual funds. These funds can be invested in fossil fuel companies or parent companies involved in the extraction of fossil fuels from natural resources.
“In one way or another, the university is directly or indirectly invested in destroying our planet by getting those funds to go to these corporations that do evil,” Tardy said.
DivestNMU has been developing a proposal since October 2021 to encourage the university to phase out all of its fossil fuel investments by 2028, with at least 50% phased out by 2025 and 15% divested into low carbon funds and greens, Miller said.
“I had a few questions like how do you think the university can afford this? And I was like, well, I don’t see how they can afford not to do this,” Miller said. Over the past 10 years, our economic report and heatmap show that we have lost the most money to oil and gas.”
Another goal of DivestNMU and the university is to become carbon neutral, said Maggie Bailey, a club member and environmental science major.
“To be carbon neutral, they have to divest. So making the student body aware of that I think is really important and gaining momentum for that will hopefully mean that it will be realized here soon,” Bailey said.
In the past, the student organization has set up information tables in university buildings and petitions to gain student support, Bailey said.
In addition to environmental sustainability, DivestNMU promotes both social and environmental justice, Tardy said.
“You can’t have environmental sustainability without talking about environmental justice,” Tardy said. “And you can’t talk about environmental justice, obviously, without talking about social justice.”
As individuals, students can’t do much to stem the climate crisis, Tardy said.
“A lot of times when we think of sustainability, we’re talking about people going vegan, cycling, and recycling,” Tardy said. “And those things are all really important, but at the same time, you can’t go that far down the road to personal sustainability.”
Miller said she thinks the key to making improvements on the climate crisis is through collective action and institutional change, like asking the university to divest.
For DivestNMU members, attending events like the Climate March is a no-brainer, Tardy said.
“Why wouldn’t you? It’s our planet and we are the young people of today, who will be the old people who will suffer the consequences in the future if we don’t participate in things like this,” Tardy said.
This week, DivestNMU also held a poster-making event at the Olson Library on Tuesday and an Earth Week Fair at Jamrich Hall on Wednesday.
“I just think if you care about the Earth, if you care about your future, these are events you should attend,” Bailey said.