Big Win for Divestment Movement as Stanford University Dumps Coal-Mining Shares

Unity College President Stephen Mulkey to Offer Vision for Reframing Higher Education

May 09, 2014, 17:36 ET from Unity College

UNITY, Maine, May 9, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The movement began just two years ago by environmental activist Bill McKibben and Unity College, an environmental college in Maine with the tag line America's Environmental College, seems unstoppable.

In early May, as President Barack Obama crisscrossed the United States revealing details of a dire National Climate Assessment, Stanford University joined the movement that began on November 13, 2012, at a event during which Unity College President Stephen Mulkey announced that his institution had divested from investments in fossil fuels.

Stanford will now comb through its $18.7 billion endowment, divesting from its shares in coal-mining companies.  The move comes just weeks after Pitzer College of Claremont, California, announced its intention to divest from investments in fossil fuels and improve campus sustainability efforts.

If the immediate goal of the divestment movement is to strip fossil fuel companies of their social contract to pursue a business model that is inconsistent with the long-term sustainability of human habitation on earth, then the objective of education reform as proposed by Mulkey is to reframe higher education to produce graduates with the real-world skills necessary to save humanity.

Mulkey and McKibben have been among the most recognizable and ardent champions of the growing divestment movement, speaking at events across the United States and advising college Presidents who are considering following their lead.

For Mulkey, climate leadership includes both divestment and proposing broad changes that will make higher education more efficient, relevant to real-world problems, and collaborative.

Sustainability science is the second of the one-two punch in President Mulkey's philosophy and passionate call to action.  Mulkey says that sustainability science has the capability to comprehensively address a plethora of issues related to the survivability of the planet.  It challenges silos between the disciplines, threatens outdated modes of thinking, and requires faculty to learn new, collaborative ways of thinking and teaching.

In June, Mulkey will release a 10 minute video that is the distillation of his core messages about the threat of climate change, need for broad action, and role of sustainability science in giving humanity a fighting chance to ensure its long-term viability.

SOURCE Unity College