It’s Time to Shed Light on Our Elite Institutions’ Dirty Money | The Nation


Students protesting for climate justice near the White House on November 9, 2016. (Reuters / Jonathan Ernst)

Currently, 99 percent of Harvard’s endowment remains hidden from the public.

By Ilana Cohen September 19, 2019

When I first met President Lawrence Bacow in one of his office hours sessions last fall to discuss divesting Harvard’s nearly $40 billion endowment from the fossil fuel industry, his message was clear: For now, the world is powered by fossil fuels, and idealistic kids can’t change that.

He pointed to the lightbulb above our heads. Right now, he told us, we need fossil fuels for energy and electricity, which heats our classrooms and keeps our lights on. As he spoke, I heard the passionate and informed call of my peers, professors, and alumni reduced to a gross oversimplification.

It does not take an expert—as Greta Thunberg shows, it can take only a clear-eyed teenager—to know that with millions facing climate-induced displacement by 2050 and the world on the verge of the sixth mass extinction, we are in an emergency situation. Our call to action is one informed by this stark ecological reality and represents a deliberate strategy to confront it; yet Harvard ignores us. It is long past time for our universities to come on board.

…(read more).

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