An update on the campaign

The year 2014 feels like a good one for divestment! Since launching this campaign a few months ago, we've been focused on one core task: listening. Listening to the Williams community (alumni, alumni representatives, faculty, members of the Advisory Committee on Shareholder Responsibility, and senior administration) to get their reactions to the growing call to divest the Williams endowment from fossil fuel companies. 

One of the stand-out lessons -- and a welcome surprise to some of us -- is that many people are more concerned about whether divestment is the most effective form of climate action, rather than just asking how it will affect the bottom line. This has been inspiring for me, personally, because it shows a real commitment within the Williams community to addressing climate change 

and doing it effectively. In effect, they're asking the same question that we are: "Is this one of our best strategies for confronting climate change?

As Daniel wrote in an e-mail recently: 'I believe it is one of our best strategies and our initiative is dedicated to making the case that it is. But if, in our discovery process, we find that there's a better way to direct our efforts, than we need to do so. Our work is not to meet a goal for the sake of meeting a goal... it is to confront climate change urgently and effectively.'

We're involved in this campaign because we consider climate change to be one of the biggest environmental, social, economic, and humans rights issue of this century. None of us think that broad-based divestment of fossil fuels will solve all of our climate challenges. We know that divestment isn't enough on it's own, but we also know that that isn't an argument against doing it. It's an argument for divestment and more

As we move forward, we plan to make the case for divestment in light of the many inspiring ways that Williams students, faculty, staff, and alumni have advanced meaningful climate action. In the coming months, we look forward to responding to Ephs' questions and concerns about the economic, political, and environmental effects of divestment, and we hope those questions will continue to challenge all of us to think about what meaningful climate action really looks like. 

Through this process, we're creating a network of people who are committed to meaningful climate action, which we hope will advance a solid plan for taking climate seriously at the largest scales that we can affect.


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