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May 15, 2017 | by  | in VUWSA |
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Presidential Address

Last week marked Global Divestment Day. If you’re not familiar with the word divestment in this context, then you are probably thinking of turning the page about now because it sounds like a few bankers have got in a room and tried to think up the most boring name for a “day” that they could.

The word divestment itself was cause for a frantic Google on my phone when I first heard someone name drop it a few years ago. Turns out it’s not that boring. In fact it’s one of the more effective and exciting climate change campaigns out there.

Divestment simply means the opposite of investment: getting rid of shares, stocks, bonds, and investment funds that are tied up in fossil fuels.

Oil has literally driven us through the 20th century, so it’s no surprise oil companies have been damn profitable, and they have been a pretty good place to invest your money.

However as you might have realised, not too long ago scientists discovered that catastrophic climate change is going to make life pretty tough for us unless we act quickly.

Since the campaign has been running, 719 institutions to the combined value of $5.45 trillion have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

Among them, 15% are education institutions, including our very own VUW which became the first New Zealand university to announce divestment back in 2014.

Since then, Otago and Canterbury have made moves to divest, but Auckland and other universities have remained stubborn — seemingly comfortable about funding the degradation of the Earth that its students will inherit.

Student money needs to come out of fossil fuels, there is no two ways about it. Let’s see Auckland follow Victoria’s lead and do the right thing.

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