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Divest MUN wants university to stop investing in the industry


Divest MUN is asking Memorial University to rethink the way it invests.

GERALDINE BROPHY/THE WESTERN STAR
Lindey Touzel is a Divest MUN member at Grenfell and is photographed outside the facility on Wednesday. The group is asking Memorial University to rethink the way it invests.

Last Thursday the group — a sub-committee of the Grenfell Campus Student Union’s Environmental Affairs Committee, made up of students from Grenfell Campus and the MUN Campus in St. John’s — submitted an official request to the university’s board of regents asking it to stop investing in the fossil fuel industry and redirect the funds into greener sectors.

The group issued a press release on its request Wednesday.

Lindey Touzel is a Divest MUN member at Grenfell. She said the group is focusing its attention on a list of the top 200 companies involved in the fossil fuel industry — including coal, oil and gas.

“We’d like them to invest in companies that are actively engaging in more sustainable alternatives — environmentally, socially, economically — that aren’t universally damaging our environment, and also companies that are seeking an alternative to the fossil fuel industry.”

The target for global climate policy is to limit warming to two degrees. And Touzel said there are too many fossil fuel reserves in the world that, if used, would emit too much carbon into the atmosphere.

“In reality, we just can’t burn all the oil and all the fossil fuels that we have, so we do need to find alternatives,” said Touzel, an environmental studies student originally from Ontario.

“Climate change and environmental issues have always been a big concern for me. I love our natural environment. I love this planet and I just think we need to look for these big systemic changes that divestment would involve.”

Divest MUN has heard the board has received its request and will talk about it at an executive committee meeting in late November.

In the meantime, Touzel said the group would really like to start a conversation and connect with other groups with a similar interest, including Memorial University’s Faculty Association (MUNFA), which has already voted to divest its pension fund.

Touzel said the group knows its request is a big one and understands it’s going to take a lot of thinking to figure out how to carry it out.

“But we do believe that it is possible.”

Read the divestment request sent to the board of regents:

http://bit.ly/1RXafPj

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