It’s time for the California Teachers Pension Fund (CalSTRS) to divest its billions from fossil fuels.
Divestment makes financial sense: it supports California’s fastest growing and most dynamic industries. And divestment makes moral sense: it’s wrong to wreck the planet and it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage. Especially when you could be making so much more money doing the right thing.
Rally on June 12: Help CalSTRS Choose to Divest
Let the California Teachers Pension Fund (CalSTRS) hear from you on Friday, June 12 at 8:15am to 11:30am. Join the rally at the CalSTRS Office, 100 Waterfront St., West Sacramento. RSVP if you plan to attend. Contact Jane Vosburg at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and carpool info.
Members of 350 Sonoma County came out for this popular and beloved annual event in Sebastopol! The best photos were taken before the crowds, before entering Main Street for the parade: we've posted them to Facebook.
Though most of the photos don't really show you the crowds we saw that day, these photos contain great images of our messages and artwork that tell a story about climate change.
Most of the designs were by or organized by school teacher and staunch supporter Sunny Galbraith and her high school students. Fossie the dinosaur (not her best angle - above) is a feat of engineering and by far our most popular climate action prop for parades and tabling! Click for photos!
Two of the state’s largest pension funds CalPERS (state employees’ retirement fund) and CalSTRS (state teachers’ pension fund) have billions of dollars invested in the fossil fuel industry. To prevent global warming from exceeding the two degree increase which world leaders agree would be catastrophic, 80% of current fossil fuel reserves must be left in the ground (which will become stranded assets and a huge financial risk to the pension funds.) If we continue doing business as usual, we will reach the danger zone in 15 years. In spite of this, ExxonMobil alone spends $100 million every day to explore and develop more fossil fuel. The industry has also spent millions in lobbying politicians, promoting doubt about actual climate change, and outright lying to protect its profits.
Past climate summits have shown that we can’t rely...
Seven of 350 Sonoma County divestment activists traveled to Sacramento for the April 3rd CalSTRS (state teachers’ pension fund) Investment Committee meeting. Sunny Galbraith, Anna Cummings Jacopetti, Ken Jones, Bill Vosburg and I made public comments urging CalSTRS to divest from all fossil fuels. Hoai-An Truong and Eric Knapp were staunch supporters.
Our comments were very diverse: Sunny spoke from an active teacher’s viewpoint and brought the head of Fossy the Dinosaur that her students had made. Her focus was CalSTRS’ responsibility to the students she teaches. Committee members thanked her for taking a day of her vacation to attend, and Harry Keiley asked her if the young people today were more aware of climate change. Anna spoke as a human being reaching out to fellow humans and urged that we have a moral imperative to act to change course in this moment of extreme ecological peril and increasing social injustice. Ken based his comment around the slumping coal and fossil fuel returns, stating how much CalSTRS has recently lost by remaining invested in fossil fuels. Bill used the recent news that the Rockefeller family had spent years trying to “engage” with ExxonMobil to no avail; if they couldn’t, then what chance did CalSTRS have? I focused on looking into the not-so-distant future of solar energy, autonomous cars, and the demise of the fossil fuel industry.
Our impact was powerful. However, Chris Ailman, CalSTRS CIO, still believes engagement is the way to proceed to ensure they had a voice at the table. He suggested that the divestment movement was trying to take their voice away. Maggie, CTA retired representative to CalSTRS, spoke about her absolute faith in the decisions CalSTRS made and supported them 100%. She certainly didn’t represent the CTA members who attended!
Help Create a Visual Display of Clean Energy Transformation for the Sebastopol Apple Blossom Parade on April 18th!
Join 350 Sonoma County for a colorful, creative expression of climate hope! We will be creating a 3-D, multi-piece, moving visual to show our support for energy transformation away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.
Bring your imagination and help us come up with a story to tell! We will create any additional signs and props we need (see below for a list of what we have. Could we use a water element with flowing blue cloth? A large sun? An earth to go in the T-Rex’s jaws?). We will also reinforce the dinosaur skeleton model so it can travel down the parade route.Read more
Regarding CalSTRS divestment progress, we have the investment committee's attention. However, to show that support for divestment is growing, we need to have a good presence at the next CalSTRS investment committee meeting, Friday, April 3rd in Sacramento. The Open session usually begins around 10 AM.
It seems unlikely, doesn't it?
Except that the issue – whether fracking should be allowed in the state of California – seems so very cut and dried. Just considering the amount of water that gets tainted by the enormous amounts of toxic chemicals used in the fracking process to convert various sorts of hydrocarbons into natural gas – that alone would seem to make it a procedure that obviously must be banned by state regulatory agencies as too dangerous to even consider. Add to that the enormous number of groups, private citizens, scientists, environmentalists that have arrayed themselves against it, as opposed to fracking's proponents, who seem to be motivated entirely by profit - - well, it seems to be a no-brainer, doesn't it?Read more
We are at the precipice of a crucial energy infrastructure decision which needs addressing; will California ban fracking?
It is possible this will occur if our legislatures and Governor listen to the thousands of voices asking for their decisive leadership to oppose this technology. New York State has led the way on this issue. Now we have a chance to follow their example.
How did New York get the fracking ban passed?
In Popular Resistance's recent article How We Banned Fracking in New York they state,
"It’s a tale in which we all are—each one of us is—a starring character and a co-author. We are the maker of this story that has been shaped by our unceasing, unrelenting efforts—all of which mattered and made a difference."Read more
WHAT IS DIVESTMENT? Divestment is the opposite of investment – it means to remove or sell stocks, bonds, and/or mutual funds that invest in oil, coal, and gas companies—those that profit from destroying the planet. These investments are financially risky as well as unethical.
DON’T WE NEED FOSSIL FUELS? I drive my car every day. We currently need fossil fuel and divesting from stocks/funds will NOT bankrupt the industry. However,Read more
EARTH AT RISK - Conference Notes
Sponsored by Fertile Ground Institute, Bellingham, WA
San Francisco November 21 and 22, 2014
This past November, some of the world’s preeminent strategists in environmental defense, social justice, and grassroots activism came together to share their insights and speak toward ONE goal: crafting game-changing responses to address the converging crises we face.
Keynote Speakers: Derek Jensen, Chris Hedges, Alice Walker, Thomas Linzy, Vandana Shiva.
Members of 350 Sonoma County attended the Earth at Risk Conference. Anna Jacopetti wrote this article to share her experience. The conference was an indictment of our culture which has allowed the economic sphere, with power concentrated by global capitalism, to dominate and essentially take over the political and cultural spheres.