In 2012, five Stanford undergraduates heard Bill McKibben speak about the terrifying new math of global warming. McKibben's Do The Math tour was the start of the global fossil fuel divestment movement, Fossil Free. It was also the impetus for Stanford's own part of the movement: after a couple months of planning between the five first members, Fossil Free Stanford was born.
Our core team is now more than 30 members strong. More than 3,200 community members have signed our petition calling on Stanford to divest from fossil fuel companies. In 2014, 75% of the Stanford undergraduate body voted in favor of divestment. Over 370 Stanford faculty have signed onto a letter calling for divestment. Hundreds of alumni have sent letters of support to Stanford President Hennessy and the Board of Trustees. The list goes on, and our strength only grows each day.
We are thousands of students, faculty, alumni, and Stanford affiliates seeking to build a more just and sustainable world. We are Fossil Free Stanford.
→ Click here to see some of the faces of Fossil Free Stanford.
On May 6, 2014, Stanford divested from the coal industry. While we congratulate the university for taking this bold step forward, there is still more to be done. Today, our ask has not changed. Fossil fuel companies include oil and natural gas extraction firms, and Stanford remains invested in many of them. Therefore, we continue to ask that Stanford:
Our ask reflects that of the global Fossil Free divestment campaign, and is echoed by hundreds of divestment campaigns around the world.
→ Read more about the global movement here.
The Case For Divestment
Divestment has a long and fruitful history. Its roots lie in the anti-Apartheid movement, when students and citizens from across the U.S. called on their institutions to divest — to sell their holdings — from companies doing business with the oppressive South African government. It has also been used to protest tobacco companies, violence in the Darfur, and now fossil fuel companies.
The math is simple. In order for our planet to stay below 2°C of warming above pre-Industrial levels — an internationally recognized benchmark — 80% of known fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground. Recognizing this, we are calling on Stanford to divest its endowment from companies that extract coal, oil, or natural gas, and thereby contribute to the alarming pace of climate change. By pursuing fossil fuel divestment, Fossil Free Stanford and our fellow campaigns around the world are actively fighting for a better future.
Stanford is a leader in innovation and sustainability. Leland and Jane Stanford founded this university to "promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” By educating future leaders, our school invests so much in the future of our planet. Investing in fossil fuel companies at the same time is simply counterproductive. Let Stanford continue to invest in a just and sustainable future, while removing investments that would deny that future. By divesting from fossil fuels, Stanford can cement its status as a leader in the fight to build a better world.
It's time for Stanford to stop investing in the fuels that threaten our future. It's time for us to step up and be leaders of the movement for a clean, sustainable future, by going fossil free.
→ To learn more about why we think Stanford should divest from fossil fuels, check out our report, "The Case for Fossil Fuel Divestment."