I would like to address the VSU community with this letter.
VSU Students, faculty, and staff, did you know that many of the clothes that we admire and purchase in the USA are made in places like Bangladesh? Indeed, some of our most popular brands of clothing, including GAP, Old Navy, and Banana Republic originate there. Perhaps you know that many Bangladeshi clothing manufacturers employ children as young as 12 years old who earn as little as $32 per month despite working up to 14 hours a day? It’s little wonder that so many of us can look so stylish—and for relatively little money.
If you didn’t already know this, does it matter to you now? Are you concerned that the money you spend supports sweatshops in Bangladesh and elsewhere, perpetuating the misery of millions of our fellow human beings? Undoubtedly many of us are concerned, and we understand that we can make a difference in the world by being more judicious about where we shop. It’s why we choose to buy groceries at worker-friendly Publix rather than Continue reading
A copy of what the VSU Foundation called the “ “well-intentioned request” by Students Against Violating the Environment (S.A.V.E.). I added the links and images. -jsq
October 17, 2013
Dear VSU Foundation and Board of Trustees,
Recent years have brought climate change to the forefront of public discussion. A newly released report from the United Nations indicates with 95% certainty that humans are the primary cause of the issue. It is our concern that the continuation of our current practices and our dependence on fossil fuels will only result in continued environmental degradation and human struggle. Knowing the impact that anthropogenic climate change has upon our environment, our health, and our economy, we are asking Valdosta State University to take a stand and join in the effort to address this issue, as social responsibility is part and parcel to the role of public institutions.
As a public institution, Valdosta State University has a responsibility to shape the debate about climate change through its voice, and fossil fuel divestment is another medium for that voice. We are asking that VSU immediately Continue reading
The VSU Foundation knows more than 98% of climate scientists, and also sneers at former divestment from tobacco and apartheid companies. Nevermind that fossil fuel divestment is going faster than either of those. Is it good fiduciary responsibility to stay invested in the stranded investments of fossil fuel stocks while solar stocks are skyrocketing? Is this really how to encourage people to give to VSU? Is that how the alumni want their investments used?
Danielle Jordan, President
Valdosta State University
Dear Ms. Jordan,
The Investment Committee of the VSU Foundation Board of Trustees has reviewed the request from your organization that securities issued by companies engaged in the production of fossil fuel energy be excluded from the foundation’s endowment portfolios. Compliance with your well-intentioned request is impractical for a number of reasons and perhaps even a breach of the fiduciary responsibility that all of our trustees take very seriously.
The various VSU Foundation endowment portfolios are managed Continue reading
Petition: Divest Valdosta State From Fossil FuelsTo: VSU Administration and VSU Board of Trustees
We are asking Valdosta State University to:
- Disclose information on its investments
- To divest its holdings from fossil fuels within 5 years
- Freeze any new investments in the fossil fuel industry immediately
Why is this important?
As climate change progresses, we become more aware of the hazardous consequences that manifest in relation to a warming planet. We understand that in order to combat the issue, we have to alter our daily practices. However. the lobbying power of the major fuel companies has diminished the voices and power of individuals within our political system. Subsequently, policy has been written to favor the interests of the companies benefiting from the exploitation of our environment.
We are asking Valdosta State to distance itself from this industry and pursue alternatives, knowing that if we wish to address climate change, a collaborative effort must be made. By joining this movement, we can create a more ethical campus and move in the direction of sustainability.
In response to a very downbeat diatribe by Bill McKibben in Rolling Stone on the occasion of the U.N.’s Rio+20 conference being some sound and less fury accomplishing not much about stopping climate change, [Bill McKibben, Rolling Stone, 19 July 2012, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math: Three simple numbers that add up to global catastrophe – and that make clear who the real enemy is”] Harvard student Chloe Maxmin followed up McKibben’s problem statement with a plan for what to do: divest from fossil fuel companies. [“In Honor of Kalamazoo: An Open Letter to Bill McKibben,” NextGenJournal, 25 July 2012, no longer online, referred to in a post the same day by Chloe Maxmin on First Here, Then Everywhere.] Maxmin didn’t just wish, either, she joined up with McKibben’s 350.org and helped organize Harvard students to do something about it: persuade Harvard to divest its shares of fossil fuel companies. Students at the University of Georgia, or at Valdosta State University, for that matter, could do the same.
Alli Welton wrote for 350.org 18 November 2012, 72% of Harvard Students Vote to Divest from Fossil Fuels,
Last Friday night, the Harvard College Undergraduate Council announced that the student body had voted 72% in favor of Harvard University divesting its $30.7 billion endowment from fossil fuels.
Members of the Harvard chapter of Students for a Just and Stable Future have been campaigning since September to divest Harvard’s endowment from the top 200 publicly-traded fossil fuel corporations that own the majority of the world’s oil, coal, and gas reserves.
Harvard actually already has divested its shares of one fossil fuel company due to public pressure. Continue reading
There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:
CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading
CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”
On Friday June 17th, exactly 40 years after President Richard Nixon declared a “War on Drugs,” Internet activists organizing from the social news and activism website, Reddit.com, called the White House en masse to demand an end to the War on Drugs, calling it a “trillion dollar incarceration machine” with a measurable failure to reduce drug use, or harm from drug use.The original post included this:
This is also the last vestige of Nixon’s fight against the civil rights and anti-war movements: And if you look at US incarceration rates, it’s been incredibly effective. . .That’s right, almost six times as many black males per capita get locked up in the U.S. than in South Africa under apartheid. The numbers are even worse for young people and especially young black males, leading to this summary:
- 4,919 Black males per 100,000 population
- 1,717 Latino males per 100,000 of population
- 717 White males per 100,000 of population.
- South Africa under Apartheid (1993) – 851 Black males per 100,000
This isn’t a War on Drugs: It’s a Race War; It’s a War on the youth, likely to protest controversial policies (a war that conveniently takes away those groups voting rights). It’s a war on the American People, paid for by the American people, for the American people’s own good.Yep. Except a majority of the American people don’t want the “war on drugs” any more. It’s time for the laws to change.
Many “clean wood chips” burning biomass plants can easily turn to burning more contaminated fuels (which may be cheaper or even free), or get paid to take really dirty wastes like trash or tires. Public opposition to biomass facilities has driven siting that follows the “path of least resistance,” which often translates to states where environmental regulations are lax and companies are given huge tax incentives to build these kinds of incinerators, and investors count on the local residents being uninformed and apathetic. Environmental justice siting concerns often get buried in the excitement and notion of “green energy.”There’s more, including a writeup about the local proposed incinerator, starting:
Zoning laws are often legal weapons deployed in facilitating energy apartheid.
Residents in Valdosta, Georgia are fighting to block a 40 megawatt biomass incinerator slated for construction on a 22-acre site in their community. The community is already overburdened with polluting industries and heavy truck traffic.Read it and see.