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Monday, December 17 , 2018, 12:29 pm |


Group Gathers in Santa Barbara in Celebration of Global Divestment Day

Community members gathered on Valentine’s Day at De la Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara to celebrate Global Divestment Day.
Community members gathered on Valentine’s Day at De la Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara to celebrate Global Divestment Day. (Max Golding photo)

More than 30 community members joined at De la Guerra Plaza in Santa Barbara on Valentine’s Day to celebrate Global Divestment Day.

As of September 2014, 181 institutions and local governments and 656 individuals representing $50 billion in assets have pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies as a way to delegitimize companies most responsible for causing the global warming.

"The fossil fuel industry has been an abuser in an addictive relationship," said Corine Fairbanks from American Indian Movement. "We depend on it, we need it, but we've got to divorce ourselves from it. We've got to find a healthier way to relate to the environment around us."

Marcus Lopez, co-chair of the Barbareno Chumash Council, asked the eldest members in the crowd to say a prayer for the youngest members. He emphasized the intergenerational aspect of sustainability and talked about “the people below the water and the people in the sky.”

“Our congregation decided to divest last year because we have an ethical obligation to keep our finances connected to our values. The threat of climate change demands an urgent response, and our children’s future depends upon our actions today,” said Mark Hamilton from the Unitarian Society of Santa Barbara.

The national Unitarian Universalist Association and many congregations across the United States have committed to divestment, as well as dozens of other religious institutions around the globe. Several universities in the U.S. and abroad have committed to divestment, including Stanford and San Francisco State University.

In 2013, UCSB students launched a campaign targeting the UC Regents to divest. The UCSB student and faculty senates have both voted in favor of UC-wide divestment. This year students are calling upon Chancellor Yang to speak out in support.

“Sustainability is part of the UC’s mission statement, but they’re invested in companies that are causing increasing severity and frequency of droughts, wildfires and freak storms," said Theo LeQuesne of the UC Fossil Free campaign. "All of these lead to increasing impoverishment, conflict, and the degradation of fundamental human rights. As such these companies are a threat to my future and the future of my fellow students. The UC must stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution. It needs to live up to its own stated mission and divest now.”

LeQuesne also said that if the City of Santa Barbara has no direct investments in the fossil fuel industry they should publicly announce this to offer support to the movement.

— Max Golding represents 350 Santa Barbara.

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