December 15, 2014

First College in the Pacific Islands Divests from Fossil Fuels

Australian Universities urged to follow suit and ‘walk the walk’ on climate change

MAJURO, 15th December 2014 — As another set of uninspiring UN climate negotiations draws to a close in Lima, the first college in the Pacific Islands, the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI), has just voted unanimously to divest from fossil fuel companies.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands comprises over 1,000 small, islands that are home to almost 70,000 people. With rising tides and floods already submerging their homelands, the Marshallese people have a great deal to teach the world about what will happen if we do not take serious action on climate change.

“We need all of our friends and our colleagues in the Pacific Region and around the world to take note, spread the word and become leaders in this movement to divest from fossil fuels”, said CMI President Carl Hacker.

“It is critical that our voices and our actions are taken into account as we move forward in discussions concerning climate change and the formulation of policies that will preserve our islands, our histories, our cultures and our ways of life.

“The Pacific Region has to be a leading voice in raising this awareness and do what ever we can in our own home islands to walk the talk of divestment of fossil fuels and climate change,” concluded Mr. Hacker.

Responding to the news, Vicky Fysh, University Divestment Coordinator for Australia said: “With a disappointing end to the Lima climate talks it has never been more evident that we cannot rely on governments to resolve the climate crisis. This is the reason institutions in frontline communities are turning to divestment as the way to salvage their countries. We commend the CMI for taking the leadership that the world needs.

“We’re calling on Australian Universities to follow their lead and to join hundreds of other institutions pledging to stop investing in fossil fuels on Global Divestment Day. Our unis are great at talking the talk, let’s see if they can walk the walk,” Ms. Fysh.

CMI’s decision makes it one of the first colleges in the Pacific Region to divest, following New Zealand’s Victoria University, which committed to divest from fossil fuels in early November, and the Australian National University, which divested from two fossil companies in early October.