Indiana Daily Student

Bloomington climate groups pressure IU to divest from fossil fuels, create action plan

<p>Then-freshman Annetta Itnyre, member of Students for a New Green World, tapes a sign to a pillar outside Dunn Meadow on March 24, 2021. Climate groups such as Students for a New Green World and Sunrise Bloomington plan to organize protests this semester to pressure IU to divest from fossil fuels and create a formal climate action plan.</p>

Then-freshman Annetta Itnyre, member of Students for a New Green World, tapes a sign to a pillar outside Dunn Meadow on March 24, 2021. Climate groups such as Students for a New Green World and Sunrise Bloomington plan to organize protests this semester to pressure IU to divest from fossil fuels and create a formal climate action plan.

Sunrise Bloomington, a local environmental organization, will hold a Demand Divestment Rally from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 8 at the IU Foundation office, according to their Facebook page. 

The rally intends to put pressure on IU Foundation, the organization that handles all of IU’s investments, to remove their money from fossil fuel companies and reinvest it in sustainable businesses, Sunrise member Sanjana Agarwal said. 

A flyer from Sunrise defines divestment as “getting rid of stocks, bonds or investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous.”

“This is the money that could potentially be used for the university, for the students, and for our future,” Agarwal said. “But it's actually being used to fund fossil fuel corporations which actively destroy our community and our futures.”

Sunrise started a petition in October asking IU to disclose their fossil fuel investments, divest those funds and reinvest them into sustainable companies. 

The petition currently has 1,300 signatures, Agarwal said. 

Other universities in the Big Ten Conference have already committed to divesting from fossil fuels, including the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota

Fellow environmental group Students for a New Green World is also planning protests for the semester. Their main goal is to have IU draft an official climate action plan. 

“We believe that this is necessary for any institution to have a meaningful impact in addressing the climate crisis,” SNGW President Sidd Das said. 

This semester SNGW has been holding protests during tours of campus so that future students are aware of IU’s inaction on the climate crisis, Das said. 

A GroupMe for SNGW, where they organize protests during campus tours, has over 400 members. 

Some of the Big Ten conference schools—including Illinois, Nebraska, Northwestern and Maryland—have already implemented climate action plans. 

IU emitted 313,831 metric tons of carbon dioxide between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, according to the Sustainability Tracking Assessment Rating System. 

The IU Student Government has also created a Carbon Neutrality Resolution which calls on IU to reach carbon neutrality by 2040, which is a state of net-zero carbon emissions. 

Sunrise, IUSG and SNGW will be meeting with IU President Pamela Whitten on Feb. 9 to discuss their goals.

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