Divesting from fossil fuels would set a precedent that OU wants to save the environment and it would be a symbol for change.
In The Front Room this past Friday, a panel of speakers discussed the idea of divesting from fossil fuels as a way to promote renewable resources and to hurt the corporations that profit from burning fossil fuels.
One thing that became clear from the conversation was that divesting is simply not a black and white issue. But there is one thing that both sides of the argument could agree on — divestment, at the very least, symbolizes a need to change.
I believe divestment from fossil fuels, as a symbol, is a strong enough case to divest. Not only would Ohio University be working toward a renewable campus, it would show that OU doesn’t want to be a part of the problem.
OU would be setting a precedent by divesting, and if it refuses to, we would be condoning the atrocities that have been and will continue to be committed.
Environmental crime cannot be treated as a joke. The biggest perpetrators must be held responsible, not only for their damage but also for profiting off endangering this planet. So that means OU should be held responsible for investing in these companies. Can we turn our backs on the people already suffering from environmental damage as long as we get a good financial return?
I think we have a pretty easy choice as students. We can organize together and hold the decision-makers of this university accountable for how it is run. We can stop pretending that this university isn’t profiting from environmental crime and we can take the power that we have together and say it is not right.
We cannot continue to live in a society that burns fossil fuels. From an economic standpoint, I can see how it is risky to invest in new renewable energy. But the real risk is that if we don't divest, the earth will eventually be destroyed, and money will no longer matter. Simply put, the best possible financial decision is to invest in the future and to invest in the earth — that one pesky thing that lets us breathe the air we pollute.
If anyone wants to help work on making OU a better place environmentally, there are many opportunities. One specific way is to come to Student Senate’s Environmental Committee meetings on Thursdays at 3 p.m. in the Student Senate office in Baker 305.
Grant Stover is a sophomore studying English, a member of the Environmental Committee on Student Senate and a member of the Sierra Coalition at Ohio University. Email him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter at @grant_stover.