Students for a sustainable future

I met recently with students Alden Phinney and Margaux Schindler from the Fossil Fuel Coalition, along with Environmental Studies Professor and College Nine and College Ten Provost Flora Lu.

Alden and Margaux are at the forefront of the Fossil Free UC movement, making the case for divestment from fossil fuels as a strategy to combat climate change. I was very impressed by their energy and commitment.

The sustainability movement at UC Santa Cruz is an impressive collaboration among students, staff, and faculty. It has always been that way. Many UC Santa Cruz faculty members signed the UC Faculty Open Letter to the Regents about fossil-fuel divestment last fall. The letter called upon Regents to freeze new investments in the 200 fossil fuel companies with the largest carbon reserves, to develop a complete divestment plan as quickly as possible, and to invest in climate solutions.

The Regents did not agree to fossil fuel divestment, but they did agree to increase their investment in companies offering climate solutions, which is at least a small victory for our students. I know Alden and Margaux remain determined to see the Regents approve full fossil fuel divestment, and I have little doubt that we are all well on our way toward understanding that fossil fuels cannot remain a part of our collective future.

This Friday, February 13, is Global Divestment Day. Fossil Free UC leaders have planned a mock wedding to demonstrate the "unholy matrimony" of UC and the fossil fuel industry. The ceremony is scheduled for noon in the College 8 quad, with an informational reception to follow. The event is designed to raise awareness and to bring together various groups working on climate solutions.  

Alden and Margaux are persistent, driven, and creative advocates of a sustainable future. It was truly inspiring to talk strategy with them.

Comments or questions? Write to and put "Divestment in the subject line.