Universities in the U.K. and U.S. Under Increasing Pressure to Do Better on Climate Change

Universities in the U.K. and U.S. Under Increasing Pressure to Do Better on Climate Change

Universities across the UK are finding themselves under “increasing pressure to improve their own environmental track record,” The Guardian reported last week. Because of pressure from students, in January, one-half of universities in the UK announced they would divest from fossil fuels. Meanwhile, in a victory that no one expected them to pull off when they began their campaign a year ago, three of the five young alums who ran under the Harvard Forward banner were elected to the university’s second-highest governing body, the Board of Overseers.

Why This Matters: We need to keep our foot on the gas. While it’s wonderful to see so much action in the UK on these issues, many say it’s not far enough.

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Large Institutions Continue to Get Pressure To Disclose and Divest

Large Institutions Continue to Get Pressure To Disclose and Divest

Senator Elizabeth Warren continues to push for greater transparency in corporate reporting documents so that shareholders and the public can get meaningful information about climate risks facing companies. Similarly, large institutions are also being pressured by shareholders and stakeholders to divest from fossil fuels in order to lower their climate risks.

Why This Matters:  The pressure is having an impact.  Harvard announced last week that its endowment would be “carbon neutral” by 2050 but does not go enough for climate-conscious students, faculty, and alums.

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Boston Braces for Rising Seas

Boston Braces for Rising Seas

Coastal cities around the country (and around the world) are bracing for increasing sea level rise that’s resulting from climate change. Honolulu, San Francisco, and Miami are already witnessing the effects of water inundation and now one of America’s oldest cities, Boston, is bracing for impact. As the Washington Post reported, “Boston is raising streets, […]

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Climate Protesters Disrupting South Bend and THE Game

Climate Protesters Disrupting South Bend and THE Game

Saying he was not doing enough to combat the climate crisis in his home town of South Bend, The Hill reports that the Sunrise Movement staged a sit-in at Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s office on Friday.  And then on Saturday, students at the annual Yale-Harvard football game brought it to a halt for nearly an hour when protesters from both universities (including some of the football players) took the field in protest.

Why This Matters:  The Sunrise Movement’s new pressure on Mayor Pete shows that his move up in the Democratic pack will bring with it some additional scrutiny and criticism because his climate positions are more moderate than some of the other leading candidates.

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New Group Seeks to Address Harvard University’s Failure to Act on the Climate Crisis

New Group Seeks to Address Harvard University’s Failure to Act on the Climate Crisis

In response to widespread frustration in the Harvard community about the University’s inaction to climate change, a  coalition of alumni, students and faculty have launched a campaign called Harvard Forward to elect five new members of the Board of Overseers with the goal of changing the University’s policies on divesting from fossil fuels and on committing more resources to climate initiatives.

Why This Matters:   What makes this campaign interesting and different from previous ones (like South African divestiture in the ’80s) is that rather than protest the decisions of university leaders, this campaign is seeking the power to make the decisions themselves.  The last time the university restructured its Board of Overseers was almost 150 years agoIt seems like its time to modernize it and addressing climate change is the perfect impetus.

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