Happy Global Divestment Day! Across the world individuals and institutions are taking their money out of fossil fuels, and calling on others to do the same.
If we want to stop climate change then we can’t burn the world’s known fossil fuel reserves, and we need to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry. Trouble is, plenty of pensions are. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Meet the Brighthelm centre. It’s a church and community centre in the heart of Brighton. Along with the church services, they also run a cafe, a pre-school and a lovely community garden.
Back in 2013 they zeroed in on sustainability as the focus across all their projects. Part of that meant looking into their finances, and they decided to sell all their shares in fossil fuels. They are the first church in the UK to divest from oil and gas.
Britain’s energy system is dirty when it should be clean, top-down when it should be democratic, and stagnant when it should be dynamic.
In short, it’s broken, and new rules for community energy co-ops could undermine our best chance of fixing it.
Fossil fuels are a great investment. That’s according to most investment bankers and pension fund managers, anyway. Money you put in is pretty secure, and you make a nice steady profit. That's why lots of pension funds, asset portfolios and company shares are invested in oil and gas.
There are plenty of clever financial reasons why that’s not true, but the really big, glaring, (fossilised)-elephant-in-the-room is climate change. To stop climat change we need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, not invest in their future.
Thanks to some serious campaigning, lots of organisations are realising that and selling those fossil fuel shares. In fact, in the last few years over 800 companies and organisations have bucked the oily trend and pledged to divest a total of $50 billion.
So to celebrate this week’s Global Divestment Day, we’ve collected a few of our favourite divestment and reinvestment stories to show that #itshappening all over the world, and to encourage others to join in.