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Letter to the Editor: ‘Exactly what our school needs’

‘Exactly what our school needs’
Let’s talk about how UNH spends its money. Recently, our university has come under national scrutiny for its $1,000,000 scoreboard and $17,000 table. This is an embarrassment that everyone knows about—students are angry, your irritable uncle keeps posting about it, Governor Hassan is critical and alumni donors are taking note. Thus, it’s time we start getting positive attention for making good financial decisions. Right now, the university is considering divesting its endowment from the fossil fuel industry, taking millions of dollars away from fossil fuel companies. This financial decision should be seen as an opportunity for our school to start changing its financial track record for the better.
To divest from fossil fuels quite literally means to sell off all of one’s investments in fossil fuel companies. The comprehensive impact of climate change, in conjunction with UNH’s environmentally-conscious values, make it clear that divesting from fossil fuels is just. In light of recent UNH purchases, a just financial decision is exactly what our school needs right now.  If CO2 emissions are not lowered, the entire global community and its successors will be forced to live in a planet less conducive to human civilization. Refusing to adjust our behavior to resist this approaching global reality is irresponsible. UNH has been recognized as a leader in sustainability, and a concern for the planet and the people animates thousands of the students, faculty and staff here. Divestment provides the UNH Endowment the opportunity to adjust the UNH community’s finances to properly reflect the concerns raised by our community and the values that define it. This is not an idealistic plea or PR stunt, it is an action justified by compelling ethical and financial arguments.
Anticipating future legal developments and an awareness of emerging political realities is the foundation of the financial case for divestment. Rational governments throughout the world comprehend the gravity of the danger that climate change poses on international stability and the quality of human life. Basically, the world is waking up to this climate crisis. The consensus established at international forums like COP21 is that fossil fuels are an outdated source of energy that must be abandoned. Policies implemented to facilitate this action are becoming far more common. The value of fossil fuel producers will be drastically reduced when these policies come into full effect in the next couple of years. Essentially, the fossil fuel party is about to get busted for harming our planet. Do we as a university want to be shareholders when this happens?
-Will Silverstein, Benjamin Kremer and Jake Werner,
undergraduate students

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