In the wake of Unity College’s recent groundbreaking announcement that it would divest from investments in fossil fuels, a number of professionals from the College have carried the banner to expand the divestment movement in service to the mitigation of climate change.
On February 26, Unity College Sustainability Coordinator Jesse Pyles, a sustainability leader on the national stage, will participate in a webinar on sustainable investing in higher education. Available online through the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), the seminar will explore the impact of divestment from fossil fuels and responsible investment of college and university endowments. Joining Pyles will be Jamie Henn, Communications Director for 350.org, a global grass roots movement to solve the climate crisis founded by author, educator and environmentalist Bill McKibben; and Dan Apfel, Executive Director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, which works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible endowment movement through networks of individuals.
Unity’s bold decision to divest was celebrated during 350.org’s recent Do the Math tour, which sparked a nation-wide campus movement that has spread to over 200 colleges and universities. The ensuing debates in the media have tended to focus on the dollar value returns of fossil fuel investments at present, which climate change leaders like Unity College President Stephen Mulkey say misses the point. Mulkey points out that short-term gains from fossil fuel investment are far outweighed by the cost to the planet and future generations.
“As other schools are pursuing divestment they are looking to Unity College’s leadership on the issue,” explained Pyles. “As a membership organization advancing campus sustainability, AASHE brings top experts together for the benefit the higher education community.” This webinar will be archived in AASHE’s robust online resource center, he noted.
The February 26 webinar will begin at 2 p.m. and may be accessed online at aashe.org.
This past fall, Pyles led AASHE’s Sustainability Officers Workshop at their national conference in Los Angeles, California. He recently served on the Board of the US Green Building Council, Maine Chapter, and is a member of the Support Committee for the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. He is a Senior Fellow of the DC based Environmental Leadership Program, and was one of the first recipients of Second Nature’s Climate Leadership Award in 2010.
Unity College is a private college in rural Maine that provides dedicated, engaged students with a liberal arts education that emphasizes the environment and natural resources. Unity College graduates are prepared to be environmental stewards, effective leaders, and responsible citizens through active learning experiences within a supportive community.