Pitzer College Divests From Fossil Fuels: Students Reflect On Our Victory And What Comes Next

The Claremont Colleges Divestment Campaign is proud to announce that the Pitzer College Board of Trustees has committed to fossil fuel divestment as part of a holistic climate action model. In addition to divestment, the plan establishes an Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) investment policy, a segregated environmental fund, and a 25% carbon reduction by 2016. The plan also includes investing in renewable community projects, developing a green revolving fund, joining the Billion Dollar Challenge, and the establishment of a campus sustainability task force.

Driven by a vision of social and climate justice, our team has committed countless hours towards this victory through educational campaigns, actions, formal reports, and negotiations with the Board of Trustees. This decision is a testament to the power of student activism and Pitzer’s thoughtful process, and displays our institution’s commitment to aligning its endowment with its core values of social responsibility and environmental sustainability. We are proud to be part of a community that is capable of critically analyzing our role as members of a global society, and understanding the moral and political weight of our endowment.

With privilege comes responsibility, and we believe that this action will effectively leverage Pitzer’s position as an institution of higher learning and a leader in sustainability. This commitment is meaningful because of the way it can influence those around us to take action. We hope this announcement will inspire a cascade of victories throughout the divestment movement and motivate further action towards climate justice.

As the movement for fossil fuel divestment gains strength, it will become increasingly unacceptable for colleges and other institutions to remain invested in such a destructive industry. These fossil fuel companies corrupt our democratic political process, prevent the transition towards a renewable economy, and value short-term profits over a creating a sustainable future.  

Therefore, as students, we are grappling with what it means to inherit an earth that is becoming ever more unstable. There is clear evidence that current emission trends will lead to a global temperature increase of 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, creating a planet that is drastically different from the one on which “civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted” (Hansen). We are the first generation to look into our future and reasonably conclude that changes in global climate may make large parts of the planet uninhabitable within our lifetimes.

The climate crisis has no end in sight: we will be fighting for the rest of our lives and for generations to come. We need the passion of young people, the wisdom of our parents, the imagination of artists, and the ingenuity of innovators. We need continued and sustained action, because we are in this for the long haul. We need our anger, and we need love. But most of all, we need to bring our whole selves to this movement.

As we think about this victory, we know it is only the beginning. Pitzer’s commitment is something to be celebrated, but we are deeply aware that a crisis of this magnitude will continue to demand bold action from all of us, especially those with disproportionate influence in society. 

We see this decision as a jumping-off point for us to engage with local anti-extraction, health, and labor struggles in the surrounding Los Angeles region. Climate change affects all of us, but we recognize that it is other communities who are being hit the hardest and bearing the brunt of the impacts.  These fights for justice are all interconnected, and we know there is a long way to go. As we stand on the brink of an uncertain future, we commit ourselves to this fight, and to working towards a common vision of sustainability, justice, and collective liberation.

For More Information Contact:

Jess Grady-Benson, Pitzer College ’14, jgradybenson@gmail.com, (860) 614-2585

Morissa Zuckerman, Pitzer College ‘16, mzuckerm@students.pitzer.edu, (510) 282-7057

Jesse Honig, Pitzer College ’16, jhonig@students.pitzer.edu, (831) 421-2898


2 thoughts on “Pitzer College Divests From Fossil Fuels: Students Reflect On Our Victory And What Comes Next

  1. Pingback: Pitzer College Divests From Fossil Fuels: Students Reflect On Our Victory And What Comes Next - Fossil Free

  2. “The climate crisis has no end in sight”, that paragraph is so true and beautifully written. That’s awesome about Pitzer!

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