Yesterday, a group of students from Harvard University sued the University, urging the University to divest millions of dollars from their stock portfolio from fossil fuel companies. The students state that the University, which is one of the most highly ranked Universities globally, has a “moral duty —to stop profiting from human suffering and environmental destruction.”
As the burning of fossil fuels is the catalyst for the global climate change, and as hundreds of companies profit directly or indirectly from the use of fossil fuels, in suing the University, the students seek to help end the “system of energy production and economic injustice that guarantees catastrophe.” In Harvard Climate Justice Coalition v President and Fellows of Harvard College, the students’ evidence includes EPA reports on climate change, reports on impending sea-level rise, and even the University’s 1650 Charter.
It is worth noting that other divestment efforts have been spearheaded nationwide urging administrations to divest from other types of companies, as with the movements to divest from prison corporations and businesses who profit from the Israeli occupation. Two days ago, the student government board of UCLA voted 8-2-2 in favor of calling on the University to divest from companies profiting from Israeli human rights abuses in the Israeli occupation.
Harvard students are suing without lawyers and are joining the efforts of dozens of other institutions across the globe to divest. Divestment from fossil fuels is a tangible possibility, and ongoing efforts have been accomplished by Stanford University, College of the Atlantic(Maine), Pitzer College, and Naropa University, among others.