Firing Line Debate: Do Fossil Fuel Divestments Work for Universities?


Firing Line Debate – Yale University

Do Fossil Fuel Divestments Work
For Universities?

See related background material:

as well as:

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Historically related material includes documentation from as far back as 1965 when concerned students and faculty began to raise questions of socially responsible investment practices of American universities in reference to the morality of the Vietnam war and tacit support of apartheid in South Africa.

and debates broadcast nation-wide in 1968 relating to the Vietnam war:

The question of university investments and the student demand for “divestment” from certain companies, industries or broad areas of reprehensible financial investment stemmed from a growing realization by college-aged students about what the role of the universities had come to play in the “cold-war” years after World War II.  Students — many of whom faced the certain conscription into the military to fight in the Vietnam war if they interrupted their college education —  were confronting the basic question:  “what was their university education supposed to accomplish, anyway?”   The answers were disturbing.

Larger questions of how their education was being financed in the first place soon followed the specific issues of South African apartheid or the morality of the Vietnam war.  In more recent years, — since the 1980s — as it has become apparent that corporate investments in certain realms and practices have systematically destroyed their future livelihoods or even their chance of survival, students have begun to mobilize around a whole range of “divestment-investment” questions at the core of university endowment policies and practices.  Beyond selected corporations or specific industry practices the faulty logic of continuous growth on a finite planet has come under scrutiny as students have learned to focus on sustainability and survival in an abruptly changing ecosystem.

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