Our planet is in a state of climate emergency. Climate change is killing the planet and all of us on it, including the University of Minnesota community. Despite this enormous threat, the University of Minnesota is actively contributing to climate change by investing millions of dollars in fossil fuels. University leaders need to immediately divest from fossil fuels and enact more sustainable policies to truly make a difference. We, as students, need to come together and let the University know that we will not be complicit in their violence any longer.
In 2011, President Kaler implemented the Climate Action Plan with goals of reducing annual greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020 and net zero emissions by 2050. He supported sustainability on campus, but he did not support Fossil Free Minnesota’s divestment campaign. Divestment movements like this one demand that University administrations immediately freeze any new investment in the Carbon Underground 200 and to divest their endowment from these companies within five years. However, the University has an investment strategy that fails to respect the urgency of climate justice.
As students, we do respect the urgency of climate justice. We understand that University investment in fossil fuels is contributing to serious, irreversible planetary damage and is endangering the health and lives of our own student body. Our University policies must reflect our values and priorities. Climate change will not be stopped by stickers on light switches or organics recycling. We need systemic change at the highest level to truly make a difference. Fossil fuel divestment attacks climate change systemically and will prevent devastating future consequences. To make change happen, students must come together and collectively demand action from our University leaders. Climate change strikes hard, but we strike harder.
On Dec. 6, we are holding a campus strike to demand divestment from destruction. We invite you to check out our Facebook event, like our Facebook page and follow our Instagram @umnclimatestrike for updates on our Dec. 6 strike and future movements. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to join our team.
Written by students from the University of Minnesota Climate Strike.
This letter has been lightly edited for style and clarity.