Students march for climate action on campus

Divest NMU urges NMU to divest funds from fossil fuels


Fischer Genau/NW

CLIMATE ACTION MARCH – Students march for climate action, encouraging NMU to divest their funds from fossil fuels and to reinvest in sustainable energy.

Fischer Genau

Students marched for climate change yesterday and demanded NMU divest its endowment portfolio from fossil fuels and invest it in sustainable assets. The march, hosted by Divest NMU, began at the Wildcat Statue at 12:30 p.m. in a cold rain, and proceeded to Cohodas Hall, where students stopped and drew messages and mantras near the entryway. 

The purpose of the march was to advocate that NMU divest from fossil fuels, achieve carbon neutrality before 2050 and commit more to sustainability, said Molly Miller, a co-founder of Divest NMU.

“I’m holding NMU to a high standard, but that’s what’s necessary because in four years we could reach a universal tipping point,” Miller said.

Global warming over 1.5º Celcius is a climate tipping point that could lead to the collapse of ice sheets, abrupt thawing of permafrost and the death of coral reefs, according to climate scientists. The use of fossil fuels has been shown to contribute to global warming.

“We’re not gonna change the world by ourselves but what we can do is get the university to divest from fossil fuels,” said Andrew Gordon, president of NMU’s Young Democratic Socialists of America. “It’s action that needs to be taken. Our futures depend on it.”

Divest NMU met with NMU investors on April 6 to discuss the divestment of fossil fuels. Miller said investors were open to reallocating 15% of NMU’s endowment portfolio into ethical and sustainable investments like renewable energy. 

Kolibri Drobish, a member of Divest NMU, said that meetings like this one have been impactful, but there is more work to do.

“We’re on the radar I think,” Drobish said. “Now we just have to get it moving.”

Drobish was one of the participants in the march, which included students and a professor, Ryan Stock, who teaches in NMU’s Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences department.

“We all care about the same thing and we want the same thing and that’s really powerful,” Drobish said.

Miller said she was happy that students still came despite the weather. 

“It’s always empowering to meet other people who care about climate change, especially today,” Miller said. “People showing up in the rain and marching in the rain, I think that’s really amazing.”

Although this march for climate change had a bigger turnout than past Divest NMU events, Gordon said that more students need to come and participate. 

“I know everyone cares about this issue on campus,” Gordon said. “They need to know they can effect change. This is an issue that will affect them in the future so they have to stand up now or else it will be too late.”