Climate Action Rally for Fossil Fuel Divestment in VictoriaVictoria, BC – In the hours before today’s momentous city council meeting, citizens of Victoria will be rallying at City Hall to pressure the Municipal Government to take city dollars out of fossil fuel investments.
Mayor and council will then be debating and voting on Victoria’s first ever motion concerning fossil fuel divestment.
Award winning Canadian artist, author and activist, Franke James, will display her artwork and give one of the speeches at the event, which starts at 6pm.
In the lead up to the July 23rd event, Victoria residents have been voicing their concerns about widespread droughts, rampant forest fires and climate change, as well as their support for taking municipal dollars out of fossil fuel companies.
Tristan Ryan, an organizer for Divest Victoria and Divest UVic, spoke to city council earlier this month stating,
“We are not going to reduce our footprint overnight, but we can reduce our complicity, and we can give young, engaged people some faith that participating in formal systems can actually make a difference.”
The idea of divestment already has traction with some members of Victoria City Council. Earlier this year, Councillors Isitt and Loveday hosted a packed townhall event on the ethical investing of public funds.
"The City of Victoria should lead the way, it's time to ensure that our public dollars are being invested socially and environmentally responsibly" said Councillor Jeremy Loveday.
Laurel Collins, an instructor at the University of Victoria in social justice studies, applauded the mayor and council for considering taking the initial steps towards fossil fuel divestment. But she also urged the council “to commit to full divestment of the city’s financial services, investments and pensions... [and] to commit to seeking reinvestment strategies acting with the direction and consideration of Indigenous communities.”
Mayor Helps and Councillors Isitt and Loveday put forward the July 23rd motion. If passed, Council would appeal to the Municipal Finance Authority, the Municipal Pension Plan, the Union of BC Municipalities and the Provincial Government to explore mechanisms for municipalities to divest from fossil fuels. Later this year, Helps, Loveday and Isitt plan to bring forward a motion to align the City's procurement of financial services with principles of the divestment movement.
The fossil fuel divestment movement has recently had global recognition with high profile endorsements from the Pope, Barack Obama, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, as well as Al Gore and Naomi Klein. Hundreds of institutions, foundations, and individuals, including the Rockefellers and the Church of England, have joined the divestment movement, with commitments for more than $50 billion in assets that will be divested from fossil fuels.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2015
For further information, please contact:
Laurel Collins, Divest Victoria
Jeremy Loveday, Victoria City Council
Divest Victoria is a grassroots community organization made up of local residents who are concerned about climate change and who are advocating for the City of Victoria to focus municipal dollars in social responsible investments.
Twitter: @DivestVictoria, #DivestVictoria
Instructor - Social Justice Studies & Sociology
PhD Candidate - Interdisciplinary Studies
PO Box 3050 STN CSC
University of Victoria, V8W 3P5
Unceded Coast Salish and Straits Salish Territories