Divest from fossil fuels
Rutgers is one of the top universities in the country in terms of sustainable practices. With single-stream recycling, parking lots equipped with solar panels, hydration stations to reduce non-reusable plastic bottle use and the many other practices that we use every day to save the environment, we set a bar for the rest of the country and the rest of the world for sustainable practices. However, after Bill McKibben, the founder of 350.org, an international environmental organization building a global grassroots movement, came to Rutgers, it was clear what our next step must be: divestment from fossil fuels.
Though we, as a university, contribute in many ways toward preservation of our environment, we must take bigger steps in order to make it clear that we stand for a more environmentally friendly future. Our small actions add up, but by telling big oil companies that we will not support them, we are in turn supporting the energy of the future. There are so many environmentally friendly energy technologies — some of which have been speculated to be 80 percent efficient, 50 percent more efficient than gasoline — which have little to no funding for research and development. If the University were to divest from fossil fuels, capital would be taken away from these fiscal giants. Funds that were previously invested in fossil fuels could then go toward more environmentally friendly energy, and we could be the university that funds the energy source of the future.
When taking this idea into consideration, we must remember that by divesting from fossil fuels, we are helping ourselves. Like the trees, plants, animals, and carbon dioxide molecules that float in the air, we are part of the environment. The healthier everything around us is, the healthier we are. Therefore, to take care of ourselves, we must take care of all the factors that help us to survive: the air that we breathe, the trees that supply oxygen, the ground that gives a home to our vegetables and all other natural resources. While the environment is often put on the back burner of political issues, now is the time to stand up and do something. Out with the old fossil fuels, and in with the way of the future.
Kaitlin D’Agostino is a class of 2012 University alumna.
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