500 signatures reached
To: President Fr. Engh and The Board of Trustees of Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University: Go Fossil Free!
Santa Clara University pledges in its mission statement to “build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.” But such a world is not ensured if fossil fuel companies are allowed to recklessly continue their current practices unchecked. By divesting, SCU can continue its commendable efforts against environmental injustices worldwide, setting a precedent for other universities to follow. SCU has historically advocated against such environmental injustices because they “[contradict] our ethical guidelines for investment,” as noted by Father Engh regarding the university’s 2009 decision to divest from Massey Energy. Joining the current divestment movement would also further the University’s President’s Climate Commitment goal to become carbon neutral by 2015, and further promote the University’s culture of justice.
Therefore, we ask the University to:
1. Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel extraction companies.
2. Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.
Why is this important?
We will surpass the manageable global warming temperature threshold within 15 years if we do not take immediate action to drastically reduce carbon emissions. Fossil fuel companies contribute most egregiously to this terrifying reality. To address this issue, the divestment campaign is urging cities, schools, religious institutions, and other organizations around the world to divest from the top 200 fossil fuel extraction companies as listed by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. Santa Clara University should be the next to divest.
Although the world’s wealthiest countries produce the vast majority of carbon emissions globally, the unsettling reality is that the poorest countries are the least equipped to deal with the effects of climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “even under the most conservative scenario, sea level will be about 40 cm higher than today by the end of 21st century,” which will “increase the annual number of people flooded in coastal populations from 13 million to 94 million,” mostly in already impoverished South and East Asian countries. Globally, climate change introduces the threat of food shortages, risks to households in low-elevation areas, spread of diseases, and increases in the intensity and frequency of tropical storms: tragedies that will affect the world’s poor disproportionately. Jesuit values urge us as educated and empathetic individuals to take action against this profound injustice that has already begun to afflict the world’s most vulnerable.
As a leading Jesuit university, SCU strives to instill in the minds and hearts of its students the values of competence, conscience, and compassion. These Jesuit values, if genuinely practiced, compel us as globally minded citizens and engaged members of the SCU community to demand that our university becomes a leader in the fight against climate change, rather than continuing to contribute to the most formidable issue our world has ever known. For us to truly embody the “three C’s,” we feel it is imperative that our university take a definitive stand against this industry that blindly disregards the wellbeing of our world’s most vulnerable communities, while threatening the viability of a livable future for all.
Divestment from these top 200 companies is a crucial step in curbing irreversible damage to our planet, and showing through action, rather than through words alone, that Santa Clara University does not support the morals and practices of these corporations. By divesting, SCU will create an avenue for long term financial stability, remain true to its core values, and continue to be a leader among Jesuit universities in sustainable action and social justice.
Fossil Free SCU is a coalition of the Santa Clara Community Action Program's environmental justice club B-LEJIT (Bronco Leaders for Environmental Justice Investigating Truth) and GREEN Club.
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