First College in the Pacific Islands Divests from Fossil Fuels
By Charlie Wood, 350.org
MAJURO, 15th December 2014 -- As another set of uninspiring UN climate negotiations draws to a close in Lima, the fir st college in the Pacific Islands, the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), has just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuel companies.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands comprises over 1,000 small, low-lying islands that are home to almost 70,000 people. With rising tides and floods already submerging their homelands, the Marshallese people have a great deal to teach the world about what will happen if we do not take serious action on climate change.
“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, said CMI President Carl Hacker.
“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 what ever we can in our own home islands to walk the talk of divestment of fossil fuels and climate change.
Responding to the news, 350.org Australia’s CEO Blair Palese said: “As world governments dither over serious action to reduce emissions, those living on the frontline of climate impacts are taking the leadership that the world needs. Despite overwhelming evidence of the damage caused by the fossil fuel industry and despite sustained pressure from student campaigners, many first world universities still invest in fossil fuels.
“Yet here is a university in one of the most climate change exposed countries in the world, who has contributed the least to the problem, showing real climate leadership by divesting from the industry driving the climate crisis. We commend CMI and encourage other universities to follow in their footsteps,” commented Palese.
CMI’s decision makes it one of the first colleges in the Pacific Region to divest, following New Zealand's Victoria University, which committed to divest from fossil fuels in early November, and the Australian National University, which divested from two fossil companies in early October.
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