Letter: Divest from fossil fuel companies

Seventy degrees in March was sunny and pleasant, but a daunting reminder of how fossil fuel use has set in motion a string of harmful changes. Students at UMass, Harvard and all around the country have it right—it’s time to demand action on divestment from fossil fuel companies.

As a taxpayer, a teacher who is a member of the state pension system, and a citizen of this planet, I also demand that the legislature act to divest the Massachusetts pension fund from fossil fuel companies and instead invest in renewable energy.

For moral reasons, we should not be using our money to aid companies that knowingly damage our livable atmosphere and increase global poverty. Fossil fuel companies’ emissions are contributing to the impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, increasing frequency and severity of extreme weather, and drought that is causing more and more people to go hungry. Not to mention, oil spills, pipeline explosions, and contaminated water and even earthquakes, courtesy of fracking.

Article after article shows that fossil fuels are also a bad financial investment. The Trillium Asset Management analysis of PRIT (the state pension) holdings in 2015 found that PRIT lost a total of $521 million due to fossil fuel investments.

I urge all the people of the state to contact their state legislators now and ask them to support divestment of the state pension fund from fossil fuels and investment in renewable energy. Ask them to support H.2372, with amendments to get coal divestment started immediately.

Lauren Ockene

Jamaica Plain resident

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