Chicago and Loyola Take Steps Toward Fossil Fuel Divestment

Zack Miller | The PhoenixAlderwoman Maria Hadden’s office co-sponsored an ordinance Feb. 23 that would prevent future treasurers of Chicago from reinvesting in fossil fuels.

Alderwoman Maria Hadden’s office co-sponsored an ordinance Feb. 23 regarding divestment from fossil fuels in the city of Chicago. The ordinance would prevent future treasurers of Chicago from reinvesting in fossil fuels, Hadden said. It doesn’t list specific companies but blocks investment in unsustainable energy.

Along with Hadden, Loyola has also introduced new ways of divesting from fossil fuels and committing and continuing that divestment.

The ordinance was introduced after Hadden worked with Chicago City Treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin, Alderman Daniel La Spata, Alderman Scott Waguespack and Alderman George Cardenas for nearly three years, according to a 49th Ward newsletter sent out on Feb. 26. The group has also worked with 350 Chicago, a movement to get Chicago involved in action against climate change.

“Going into this year, [Treasurer Conyears-Ervin] has fully divested Chicago’s funds from fossil fuels,” Hadden said. “Changing how we invest our dollars is a very tangible, reachable thing.”

Fossil fuel divestment was one of the first issues Hadden worked on when she took office in 2019, Hadden said. Since then, her office has pushed for a Department of the Environment in Chicago and for the prioritization of environmental issues in Chicago.

“We do have a lot of investment power as a city and so figuring out how the people of Chicago can do our part to move us towards greener solutions, to combating climate change,” she said. “It’s a big step towards making sure Chicagoans and our investments are doing more.”

In the Loyola community, the Student Government of Loyola Chicago (SGLC) has also introduced legislation to divest from fossil fuels. The draft of the Anti-War Investment Resolution (AWI) calls on the university to divest from companies that fund and aid in environmental destruction through the U.S. war industry and military industrial complex.

This legislation comes four months after Loyola’s Board of Trustees passed the Sustainable Investment Policy, which detailed plans to divest from companies using fossil fuels, which came from the Sustainable Investment Resolution that SGLC passed in February of 2020, The Phoenix reported.  

“[Loyola is] an institution that talks a lot about sustainability, we pride ourselves in it, and we use our commitment to sustainability in order to market ourselves,” said SGLC President Ella Doyle. “War causes environmental devastation in areas of conflict debris, the after effects of chemical warfare, pollution and poisoning of soil.”

The Anti-War Resolution, along with the Sustainable Investment Resolution, was brought about by student opinion, Doyle said. The AWI also calls on the Board of Trustees to consider student opinion of the companies that are invested in.

“These are the beginning steps in getting a united student opinion to bring to the board so that they know where our sentiments lie as a student body on these issues and on these investments,” Doyle said.

Currently the SGLC is holding AWI listening sessions for students to voice their opinions about the issues in the resolutions. The first meeting took place March 3 and the next listening session will take place March 15 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Zoom and in Crown Center room 114.“Sustainability work at Loyola happens from the ground up … students work towards it, faculty and staff work towards it, administrators and board members work towards it,” Doyle said. “This initiative right here is an opportunity to show the ways in which all these different levels of the university can come together and work tangibly towards forwarding sustainability.”

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