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DIY Divestment

Some tasks seem to take a long time to get started. Doing dishes, weeding the garden, and paying bills come to mind. Once I’ve finally gotten going, I wonder why they ever seemed like a big deal. Divesting my family’s bank accounts from fossil fuels was like that.

On Debt (July 2021)

Shareholder Activism versus Divestment

Dear Editor: I read with interest the article “Quakers, Climate, and Money” in the May/June 2015 issue of Western Friend. I am always happy when Friends concern themselves as individuals with the future that climate change will bring, and take action. I would like your readers to know, however, that in deciding how to handle invested assets, they may find useful information by reading about the movement for divestment from fossil fuel companies that is going on worldwide. The Friend who wrote the article may find additional information that could change his opinion about the values of shareholder activism vs. divestment.

On Difference (July 2015)

Integrity Investment

Shelley’s Story: Imagine a billion dollars being taken out of fossil fuel development and more than a billion being put into renewable energy. This is exactly what the University of California (UC) did in 2020. What did it take for UC to divest from fossil fuels in such a big way?

On Vision (January 2021)

Alarmed

In response to Harvard University’s refusal to divest from its fossil fuel stock, a recent mayor of Seattle, Mike McGinn, commented, “[pullquote]We're the first generation to see the effects of climate change, and the last generation who can do anything about it.[/pullquote] To refuse to use every tool at our disposal in this fight – to embrace inaction – is to endorse a trajectory that will lead to suffering, privation, and calamity. We owe it to those who our institutions and investments serve and will serve in the future to do everything we can to prevent this crisis.” With an unprecedented drought ongoing throughout the West, we might be directly experiencing this crisis already.

On Production (May 2014)

Withdrawing our Support

Dalit Baum is the Director of Economic Activism for the American Friends Service Committee. In the following interview, she describes her involvement with the “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” movement -- a campaign of nonviolent actions that seek to transform corporate practices in Palestine and in U.S. prisons. She was interviewed in October 2015 by Greg Elliott, who is the Friends Relations Associate with the AFSC in Philadelphia. Dalit has worked in AFSC’s San Francisco office since 2013. She is a feminist scholar and teacher who co-founded the organizations Who Profits from the Occupation and the Coalition of Women for Peace in Israel. The following text is an edited transcript of portions of Greg’s interview with Dalit.

On Money (November 2015)

Small Steps toward Climate Justice

Dear Friends: Thanks to Shelly Tanenbaum, Kathy Barnhart, and Rick Herbert for their Western Friend article (Jan/Feb 2021) on their role in encouraging University of California’s divestment from fossil fuel companies. I appreciate their Quaker modesty about their role and about what divestment can do. By itself, divestment cannot bring Exxon, Chevron, Shell, & Company to their knees, but . . . “small steps,” as some Friends say. 

On Relevance (March 2021)

Shining Light on Anti-Semitism

American Friends Service Committee is encouraging Friends and others to support the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions campaign (BDS) until Israel complies with international law to treat Palestinians fairly. I am happy with that, since I work with Jewish Voice for Peace on this issue. However, when I speak about BDS, I often find people are reluctant to support it because they want to avoid anti-Semitism. I point out to them that Jewish Voice for Peace stands as a reminder to the larger world that criticizing Israel is not anti-Semitic.

On Heritage (July 2016)

Two Borders, Two Border Walls

Some call this place the Holy Land. Some call it the Middle East, some Israel, others Palestine. At the Qumran archeological site in the West Bank, the chalk cliffs are steep and rugged. Yet the desert light brings out delicate hues – buff, pink, peach. The land shimmers in the heat, very much like the desert land of my home near Tucson, Arizona. Both places hold the steady vibration of an abiding, sacred Presence. The air is still, breathless, as if ancient wisdom awaits the return of faithful people.

On Captivity (January 2018)

Dancing with History (review)

The title of this book beautifully describes George Lakey’s preferred way to engage with the world: Dancing with History. I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir about Lakey’s roots and his path over eighty-four years.

On Cooperation (September 2022)