To the Editors:

Exciting news! Responding to calls from student activist groups, the University of Maine (UMaine) System Board of Trustees unanimously voted to divest from direct coal holdings on Monday. The University System, which was one of the first to divest from South African apartheid in the 1980s, is now the first land grant system to divest from coal. 

The UMaine schools join the growing list of institutions that have committed to some form of divestment, including Hampshire College, Pitzer College and Stanford University. The UMaine board also stated its willingness to consider fully divesting from fossil fuels and announced that UMaine Presque Isle had done so quietly already.  

This is very exciting because divestment is a hugely important step toward achieving justice for those harmed by the fossil fuel industry. Pollution from coal companies and fossil fuels disproportionately affects impoverished communities, and climate change will disproportionately harm vulnerable populations across the globe. Thus, divestment in my mind is an environmental justice issue. 

I would love to see Bowdoin follow UMaine’s lead and invest in an equitable future. Since they can do it, why can’t we? Let’s be on the forefront of history, Bowdoin, and commit to countering global climate change now.

Meredith Outterson ’17