(May 18, 2014 – Pre-General Assembly update)

The movement to divest from fossil fuel holdings and reinvest the proceeds in renewable energy holdings and other climate solutions continues to gather steam in our own UU denomination and across multiple faiths. As a 2014 GreenFaith Fellow, I’ve been following developments in their Divest and Reinvest Now! program and am heartened to see that our liberal faith is among the most actively engaged in campaigns at the congregational and denominational levels. Just this past week, resolutions calling for divestment passed overwhelmingly in UU congregations in Newburyport, MA, Northampton/Florence, MA, Ames, IA, and Corvallis, OR!

Business Resolution calling for fossil fuel divestment of the UUA Common Endowment Fund has been admitted to the formal agenda of the 2014 General Assembly, coming up June 25-29 in Providence, RI. The resolution was carefully crafted by a committed group of activists known as UU Divest (formally, Unitarian Universalists for Fossil Fuel Divestment and Sustainable Reinvestment) in collaboration with members of the UUA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing and Investment Committee. It calls upon the UUA to cease purchasing securities of the “Carbon Tracker 200” companies, divest of direct and indirect CT200 holdings over a five-year period, invest in securities that will support a swift transition to a clean energy economy, and allows for the retention of minimum number of CT200 shares sufficient for shareholder advocacy on environmental justice issues or the just transition to clean and renewable energy.

The UUA Board of Trustees endorsed the resolution as written in its April 13th meeting, with the official Board statement forthcoming. The UU Ministry for Earth Board and members of UU Young Adults for Climate Justice have both previously issued endorsements.

Onsite and off-site delegates will have the opportunity to vote on the resolution during one of the plenary sessions on Saturday or Sunday, so be sure to check the final agenda and program booklet for complete details. (If you aren’t able to attend General Assembly this year, we encourage you to participate as an off-site delegate.) The mini-assembly has been scheduled for Friday evening, from 5-6:15pm. UUMFE urges all congregational delegates to support the resolution as it currently stands.

Please be sure to take advantage of these resources and opportunities to become fully informed about the resolution, if you have not yet already done so:

  • The UUA Board of Trustees will be including the fossil fuel divestment resolution in their upcoming “What to expect at GA” webinar on June 5th (6-7pm PDT/9-10pm EDT). (Click here to access registration portal.) Post-event, look for the recorded webinar on the General Assembly website.
  • Comprehensive information and resources about fossil fuel divestment, clean energy investing, and related topics can be found on the UU Ministry for Earth website in our 2014 Earth Day materials on Socially Responsible Investing.
  • At General Assembly, be sure to visit the UU Ministry for Earth booth in the exhibit hall, where UU Divest will have materials available and volunteers on hand for conversation. Please contact Terry Wiggins (terry.wiggins50@gmail.com) or Wes Ernsberger (wesernsberger@gmail.com) if you have interest in tabling, and sharing with others what you know about divestment.

We are grateful for the energy, enthusiasm and tenacity of the many UUs who have worked hard to bring forth divestment conversations and resolutions that are both prophetic and actionable. We look forward to “UUA Divests” being a top headline in the press this June!