Six of us from Cobb Hill spent the day in Vermont’s state capitol, Montpelier, attending a meeting of the committee that manages the state’s pension fund, as part of a campaign spearheaded by 350.orgVT encouraging the state to divest of fossil fuel intensive investments, including coal, oil and gas. The organizers of Vermont's divestment movement argue that fossil fuels are no longer a good investment, actually putting the retirement security of Vermonters at risk. They also point out that these investments conflict with the state’s leadership in environmental protection and clean energy.
Three Cobb Hill teens, Jenna, Nora, and Gretta, have been particularly active in the Vermont divestment effort over the past six months, lobbying legislators, attending the pension investment committee meetings and delivering public comments to the investment board. Jenna has also been hand-painting banners for use at divestment rallies across the state (see a cool video of Jenna making one of those banners here).
All of that work culminated in this week’s meeting where the board was slated to vote on the divestment issue, and the girls’ hard work and commitment inspired a few Cobb Hill adults to take the day off work to attend the meeting as well.
Based on the divestment battles in cities, universities, and other organizations around the world, no one expected that the divestment proposal would be accepted right away, and indeed the board voted against it, but, with 58 Vermonters attending the 5 hour meeting (typically the pension fund meetings, while open to the public, are not attended by anyone not on the committee) it was pretty clear that the divestment issue in Vermont is gaining momentum.
While the vote itself was disappointing to me, it was inspiring to see people converging from across the state to participate in the meeting, and I was very proud of Gretta, Nora, and Jenna’s roles. Like people their age around the world, they are are taking increasing leadership on climate change.