For everyone who’s followed along with us on our conversation with Mark Schlissel on climate action, we have good news. On Friday, October 27, at the opening ceremonies of the new University of Michigan School for Sustainability and the Environment (SEAS), President Mark Schlissel formally announced his signature to the We Are Still In pledge. By signing the pledge the University of Michigan has committed to “support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.” joining several states and hundreds of cities, companies, and universities on climate action.
What’s exciting about that is that we got this done through our actions and advocacy. As members of the university committee, we have the power to change the status quo when we work together. We made the case for the University to join the world in climate action, and now we’re in. It’s a huge first step for the University in a post-Paris world.
While there’s plenty to celebrate, we think signing the pledge is only a first step. We’ve got ideas on how U-M can continue its climate leadership, through making sure its investments are environmentally & socially sustainable and increasing our share of renewable electricity. We’re teaming up with the Michigan and the Climate Crisis committee to send another letter to the administration outlining that potential. Check it out and lend your name. Let’s translate our commitment into action.
2 thoughts on “SIGNED: The University of Michigan is Still In”
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Ah, thanks for the optimism and vitality of youth! To bring about UM divestment of dirty energy stocks will be a long, very hard slog. The principle of U of M’s Regents and top administrators, and hence their investment strategy, is CAPITALISM. Sadly, I only heard this term slightly mentioned twice at the recent climate change forum in Rackham Aud. Capitalism dictates maximizing short-term private financial profits. Big Fossil Fuels is a key avenue (simply extract them from the earth).
As a young UM professor of geography, I was active in the early 1970s movement to divest from companies making profits from Apartheid South Africa. The Black Action Movement (BAM) led the effort. I helped reveal that then-UM-president Robben Fleming was on the board of directors of John Deere, a prominent offender. The fight was very hard, but, I think, much easier than the current challenge of divestment from Dirty Energy. Dirty Energy “investment” constitutes about $1 BILLION of our portfolio. (All UM community members need to keep talking about OUR investment.)
Incidentally, I was a pioneer advocate of our present energy concerns. In the mid-1970’s I taught the course “Low Energy Living” which always closed out with 400+ students! So, numerous parents–or even grandparents–shared the energy concerns of many current students.
Although I have retired from the classroom, I recently returned to Ann Arbor and plan to keep fighting for environmental justice. I am creating a poster to advocate UM divestment from Dirty Energy, which I would like to share with activists.
Tom Detwyler (UM, BS, Botany, 1960; UM Geography faculty, 1966-78), email@example.com, 7 Nov 2017