Santa Clara, CA — Silicon Valley’s water source unanimously voted to divest from 200 of the top fossil fuel companies, joining a nationwide movement that has spread to hundreds of cities, universities, and religious institutions.
The Santa Clara Valley Water District passed a resolution that guarantees none of the agency’s funds will be invested in fossil fuel companies that it sees as contributing to global warming, which is already impacting water supplies across California and around the world.
The district become the first water district to commit to divestment.
“We are confronting and adapting to climate change impacts on water supply, flood control and watershed restoration, so we shouldn’t be funding the same companies that are cause of these problems,” said Brian Schmidt, director of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, and author of the new policy.
Scientists agree that climate change is prolonging the intensity and severity of droughts across much of the United States. Two-thirds of the land in the lower 48 states was plunged into drought last summer and much is still plagued by dry conditions. The drought has caused billions of dollars in damage due to crop failures, herd die-offs, and wildfires.
“We hope this decision will set a precedent for other government agencies,” said Jay Carmona, the Divestment Campaigner at 350.org, the climate campaign that is helping coordinate the divestment movement. “It makes zero sense for our public institutions to be investing in companies that are putting the public at risk.”
350.org founder and prominent environmentalist Bill McKibben helped launch the nationwide fossil fuel divestment movement last November with a nationwide speaking tour. Since then, the campaign has spread to over 300 colleges and universities and a hundred cities and states across the country. Six schools, including San Francisco State University, over fifteen cities, and a number of religious institutions, including the entire United Church of Christ, have committed to divest. The campaign is modeled on the anti-apartheid divestment movement of the 1980s.