Mainland colleges have a lot to learn from the Marshall Islands!

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is comprised of over 1,000 small, low-lying islands that are home to almost 70,000 people. With rising tides already eroding their homeland, the Marshallese people have a lot to tell the world about what will happen if we do not take serious steps to address climate change and its root causes.

For over a month and a half, REC has been in contact with Carl Hacker, the President of the College of the Marshall Islands, regarding campus efforts to divest the College's endowment from fossil fuels.

If they succeed, they could be one of the first colleges in the Pacific Region to divest, following New Zealand's Victoria University, which committed to divesting fossil fuels earlier this month, and Australian National University, which divested stock in seven extraction companies in October. They will also be sending a very powerful message to other colleges and universities worldwide, highlighting the moral imperative to take action.

In Mr. Hacker's own words:

We need all of our friends and our colleagues in the Pacific Region and around the world to take note, spread the word and become leaders in this movement to divest from fossil fuels.  It is critical that our voices and our actions are taken into account as we move forward in discussions concerning climate change and the formulation of policies that will preserve our islands, our histories, our cultures and our ways of life.  The Pacific Region has to be a leading voice in raising this awareness and do whatever we can in our own home islands to walk the talk of divestment of fossil fuels and climate change. 

The article below appeared last week in the Marshall Islands Journal, detailing the steps that the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) is now taking towards divesting its own endowment from the fossil fuel industry.

 

Carl also provided the following images, which show how rising tides are physically eroding the very ground on which the people of CMI live, teach, and learn.

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