Foothill-De Anza Foundation divesting from fossil fuels


A student-led campaign pushing for a greener Foothill-De Anza Community College District has led the board of the FHDA Foundation to divest all of the stocks it holds in fossil fuel energy companies.

In a unanimous vote at its Oct. 23 meeting, the Foothill-De Anza Foundation approved a resolution pledging to dump all fossil fuel stocks from its portfolio. According to a representative for the environmental organization, the FHDA Foundation is the first community college foundation to make such a move.

"You have to give credit to the students," said Martin Neiman, the foundation's treasurer.

He told the Voice that he and his colleagues wouldn't have taken the vote -- at least not so soon -- if it weren't for the efforts of student organizers, like Karla X. Navarro of De Anza.

"As an institution invested in future generations and our local community, we feel strongly that divestment is the next step in helping to create the world that we want to live in," Navarro said during an presentation to the foundation board in August.

"We were very receptive to their initiative," Neiman said, noting that he personally believed that divestment was a good policy, and said he thinks others on the board agree. "We found broad support for divestment," Neiman added -- among students, administration and foundation members.

Divesting from fossil fuel companies won't have much of an impact on the foundation's portfolio, Neiman said, as the companies the foundation is dropping make up only about 1 percent of the organization's portfolio, which was recently estimated to be worth around $33 million.

In the long run, he said, divestment may hurt or help the district -- but only nominally.

The real value of the divestment comes from the district showing its leadership and commitment to better environmental practices, Neiman said.

Neiman stopped short of taking a position on whether climate change is caused by human activity. But he said, the board believes that climate change is real and that "it's something we need to figure out how to cope with."

If taking this step encourages others in the community to make positive changes on the road toward greater sustainability, that will be a good thing, he said.

Neiman called Silicon Valley a "hotbed of innovation" in green energy and sustainability technology. By taking this step, he said the FHDA Foundation is showing it values projects aimed at improving energy efficiency.


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Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Nov 4, 2013 at 4:30 pm

The 5th Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Summary Report available at Web Link) makes clear that human burning of fossil fuels is a significant contributor to global warming. For this reason, the burning of fossil fuels must be dramatically reduced in coming years, making it likely that the value of fossil fuel corporations will decline in the long run; and making divestment now a prudent fiscal decision as well as a good environmental decision.

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Posted by George
a resident of Rex Manor
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

Run, Run.. the sky is falling.. and other B.S. myths...

Actually,it is on man's ego that supports this crap about coal, etc. causing any global warming... if it is in fact "warming", it is on nature's schedule. The oceans themselves give off some huge portion of CO2, and man't contribution, with or without fossil fuels is but a tiny fraction.

Wake up folks... G.Warming's due to fossel fuels is an Al Gore myth.

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Posted by Rossta
a resident of Waverly Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

Rossta is a registered user.

great to see you lending such credence to the climate change deniers by being totally WRONG about the oceans effect and contribution. The ocean is a huge sink for CO2. You are right that man's impact is small in comparison to it and that is the only reason why the change is so gradual. But I won't argue with deniers since I know facts are likely not a part of your opinion.

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Posted by mike
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Rossta, try this: The global temperature has dropped each year for the last 15 years. The Antarctic ice pack is now the largest ever in recorded history. So, this might make you label me a "denier". But people like me are tired of being personally attacked about facts like the above. Realize that your response is diminished when you need to resort to personal attacks or ridicule...

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Posted by Flava Dave
a resident of Shoreline West
on Nov 5, 2013 at 2:38 pm

Flava Dave is a registered user.

How about doing something other than theatrics and useless grandstanding?

Ban cars from campus.... make parking permits cost 3x-10x as much... make some real changes other than nonsense like banned plastic bags which only makes people have to go out and buy more plastic bags instead of reusing store bags for trash

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Posted by bob
a resident of Slater
on Nov 5, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I don't disagree that the climate is changing, but I do strongly disagree that it is anthropogenic. The climate is always in a state of flux, this is nothing new. We know that there have been several major ice ages and mini-ice ages affecting our climate long before the human population was big enough to have any significant effect. I do question the so called "scientific data" that supports the theory of anthropogenic climate change. The data comes from primarily two areas; the government and academia. The government wants to exert increasing control over the population using the specter of "global warming" as the club, and the scholars at our universities like the money they get from government and environmental grants. Without a real crisis, one needed to be created. Al Gore's "hockey stick" graph has been totally discredited, and several European climate researchers were caught through their emails agreeing not to disclose data that contradicts their preconceived results. It is tragic that so many have drunk Al Gores Cool Aid with unquestioning gullibility. If you wish to call us "deniers" that would be a childish decision as we would then call you "alarmists" or "chicken littles" and very little if any real meaningful discussion would ever happen. The Sun, and changes in the Earth's core have immensely greater impact on our global climate than man could ever have.
I have noticed however, over the last few months, that there are fewer hours of sunlight, and more hours of darkness; could this be "global darkening"?

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Posted by mike
a resident of Monta Loma
on Nov 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

Bob, great job. But, I actually support the idea that Foothill - De Anza divest from fossil fuels. They should quickly buy as many solar cells as possible - from Solyndra. Next, purchase electric vehicles from Fiskar. That way, they will be supporting the green energy industry. Next, disconnect from the electric/gas grid. They can hold classes outside, and cancel evening classes. The football team will need to play only day games...and take cold showers.

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Posted by Janis
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Nov 5, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thankfully Mr Doug Pearson , that I didn't invest in the recommended green energy companies like SOLYNDRA, A123 SYSTEMS, NORDIC WIND POWER to name a few. I would be broke. I challenge you to invest in your renewable companies for the next 10 yrs and I will stick to Chevron, Exxon, and Pioneer Natural Resources. You will also see in the next 10 years, a lot of European Companies moving their factories to the US because their energy costs have skyrocketed due to the green energy movement and they cannot compete in a world economy. Seems a bit hypocritical to me anyway.
When the kids at Foothill can't use their electronic devices and the lights go out due to rolling black outs, lets see what happens.

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Posted by Political Insider
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Nov 6, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Doesn't anyone see the sillines of a commuter community college divesting from fossil fuels. How do they think students are going to get to campus. Do you think faculty will stop driving gasoline cars to campus?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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