Fossil Fuel Divestment as a Lever for Change: A Conversation with Bob Massie

“People in finance have a fantasy that the stock price is the sum of everything… The whole planet is at risk. What possible danger could be more urgent than that?”

Submitted by: Francesca Rheannon  Posted: Jun 06, 2014 – 09:00 AM EST

Tags: fossil fuel divestment, harvard, bob massie, stock price, social activism, impact investing, apartheid, martin luther king, politics, environment, fossil fuel

By Francesca Rheannon

Bob Massie has run out of patience.

He has risked arrest on several recent occasions when activists tried to pressure Harvard University to shear fossil fuel holdings from its massive $33 billion investment portfolio – something the University so far has resisted doing.

The Episcopalian priest, sustainable investment leader, social activist and scholar of the anti-apartheid divestment movement is adamant that universities and other social institutions have a moral imperative to lead by example in countering the privileged position of the fossil fuel industry in the global economy.

In a recent essay published in the Harvard Crimson titled, “Even The Bricks Cry Out: It’s Time for Harvard To Divest,” he gave short shrift to arguments that divestment is “ineffective” and therefore not worth risking returns in the University’s portfolio. He wrote:

The debate over divestment has taken on a surreal quality as people dither about whether selling stock is an effective method to avoid planetary catastrophe.

Global Climate Change
Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics

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