The Alumni of Divest Carleton are enormously pleased that Carleton College has joined many of its peer institutions in committing to reducing the Carleton endowment’s exposure to fossil fuels. Since 2013, students and alumni have pressed tirelessly to align the school’s financial decisions with its environmental and social values. It has become increasingly clear that we do not have time to spare when it comes to protecting ourselves, our loved ones, and the rest of the natural world from the accelerating dangers of climate change. Carleton has made great strides in recent years in its on-campus sustainability, including the long-term efforts of its staff to install the new geothermal energy system. We are thrilled that Carleton is taking this step toward directing its financial resources into a sustainable future.
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Divest Carleton student response to divestment
Check out some student thoughts about the Board’s decision on their Instagram page. Then take a look at all the awesome things they have been doing on campus and follow for future updates!
Carleton Board to VOTE on divestment. Let them know your opinion!
The moment is nigh! The Carleton Board of Trustees has agreed to vote on fossil fuel divestment (as they define it) in February. Now is the time to weigh in. Your words, images, pictures of grandchildren, and prayers for our earth WILL make a difference. This is not a copy & paste request. Please take a moment to express, in your own way, why Carleton’s divestment from the fossil fuel economy is important to you – as an alum, a community member, a donor, and a denizen of Earth.
Send your contribution to Carleton’s Liaison to the Board of Trustees, Kristin Lucas, at email@example.com. She compiles materials for the Board, and will ensure they see our missives prior to the meeting. Cc firstname.lastname@example.org so we know you wrote!
Carls are wonderfully expressive – your voices will make a difference. Please write today!
Sustainability panel featuring Divest Carleton speaker
On November 14, several Carleton alumni presented on the work they have been doing to fight climate change in a Carleton Connects talk. Britta Johnson ’97 did a great job representing the alumni of Divest Carleton!
You can walk the full panel conversation (“Seven voices for sustainability”) on the Carleton website.
A Personal Story of Divestment
by Catherine Suter, October 20, 2022
As Carleton Trustees weigh the pros and cons of divesting the College’s endowment from fossil fuels, I want to share the thought process behind my own decision to divest.
I am a great-great-granddaughter of Lauren J. Drake, president of Standard Oil of Indiana (later Amoco, now part of BP) and director of Standard Oil of New Jersey (later Esso, now part of ExxonMobil). When my father died a few years ago, my brothers and I inherited the remainder of ExxonMobil stock that had been passed down through Drake’s daughter, my great-grandmother. It was not a lot, but it was a family legacy. Thus, I was presented with a conundrum:
Do I keep the stock for sentimental reasons?
Do I benefit from the shares’ skyrocketing value?
Could I be okay with earning money off a company that has and continues to lie, mislead and destroy so much?
Can a single person’s divestment make any real difference?
I had an endless supply of questions like and beyond these.
Ultimately, the decision was easy because my gut knew. I sold the stock. I put the proceeds toward an electric car and felt a big relief, I must say. But it took me a while to find good answers to the questions, and I still question what my best course of action, given my values, is almost daily.
Here is a list of truths that I have found:
- I’m enormously privileged to “suffer” such a conundrum, to have choices like these in my life. Thank you, great-great-grandfather Drake, for providing our family with so much. I strive to use my privilege for good and not hinder my motivation with shame or guilt.
- To judge my great-great-grandfather’s work with today’s knowledge is unfair.
- To feel that I cannot disagree with the oil companies because I have benefited leaves no room for progress.
- I vehemently oppose ExxonMobil and many other (but not all) natural resource extraction companies on environmental, ethical and economic grounds. I want nothing to do with their profits, even if my daily life depends in some part on them.
- There’s more than one way to invest wisely.
- I am one person, no more and no less. I make decisions and interact with others every day. Living by my principles gives me internal peace, and is an important tone in my cacophonous community.
Divestment is what I chose, in my circumstances at the time. And the work continues: I still struggle with both what to do with my privilege and how to make a meaningful impact regarding climate change and environmental degradation. But I never once have doubted my decision to divest.
What will you do with this story? Activism can be complicated, but if you’re sympathetic, you’ve got options. Join me in calling on the Carleton Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuels and the banks that support them. Further, websites like http://www.fossilfreefunds.org can tell you how your 401(k), retirement plan and other investments measure up vis-à-vis climate impact. The ‘B corp’ designation indicates if a company meets social and environmental sustainability criteria. Keep in mind that publicly-traded fossil fuel companies, as odious as they may be, represent only a fraction of the world’s oil extraction and, also, only the supply side of oil, not the demand for it. We have a lot to do to find a sustainable balance on this planet, and a next step that people — especially those of us with privilege — can take is to address industries that have outsized carbon footprints (e.g. cement, air travel, aluminum). Wherever you are in your motivation to address climate change, keep it going! We all, as individuals and as communities like Carleton, have a role.
Alumni and students who have not already signed the petition calling on Carleton to divest its endowment from fossil fuel companies can do so at bit.ly/DivestCarleton. For more information about Divest Carleton, go to https://divestcarleton.com.
Published in The Carletonian Viewpoint
Divest Carleton was well represented at this year’s June and August reunions. We gathered hundreds of new signatures, spread awareness of our campaign, and proudly waved our flags at the Parade of Classes! THANK YOU to everyone who tabled, created swag, organized, raised funds, signed, or brought by friends to sign. It’s great to see such enthusiasm as we build momentum toward a divestment decision.
CRIC’s 2022 letter to the Board of Trustees expressing support for divestment from fossil fuels
Click the first link on THIS PAGE to read the letter written by the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC) supporting a policy of divestment from fossil fuels.
Divest Carleton animated call to action
Created by Britta Johnson ’97 with music by Laura Veirs ’97 and narration by Ben Stielger ’77, this informational animation calls on Carleton College to divest its endowment from fossil fuels and encourages the Carleton community to demonstrate its support for divestment.
Divest Carleton alumni letter to President Byerly and Carleton Trustees
April 27, 2022
Dear President Byerly and Carleton Trustees:
As the alumni of Divest Carleton, we echo the support for an official Carleton plan for fossil fuel divestment expressed by Divest Carleton students and the Carleton Responsible Investment Committee (CRIC). Below are our additional thoughts on how the College might implement such a plan and why we believe fossil fuel divestment is in Carleton’s best interest and aligns with its values.Continue reading
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