Why are Alumni signing on?

“The scientific evidence has been in for years and it is incontrovertible — we must wind down the fossil fuel age as quickly as we can and progress to cleaner renewables.
It is both scandalous and self-defeating to its reputation for a so-called ‘world-class’ educational institution such as McGill to financially support an industry that has knowingly been practising worldwide ecocide for decades AND, despite the evidence, actually denying that GHGs are responsible for our anthropogenic climate crisis. The corporate criminals of the hydrocarbons industry must be severely censured at every turn and disinvestment is an important first step. Inaction at this point is collaboration with climate change denying corporate criminals.”

“I chose to attend McGill for a variety of reasons, chief among them was the desire to meet likeminded young people working to build new and better ways for our world to function. Luckily, at McGill, this wasn’t hard. I came away from my education with a great set of skills and a wonderful network of people intent on fixing broken systems.
When a colleague asked me to join the McGill Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign a few weeks ago, it didn’t take long to say yes. Our dependence on fossil fuels has caused serious damage to our environment; one of the few shared resources we, as humans, ought to be working to protect. The institutions I admire and respect are those that recognize this problem and find themselves in active pursuit of better, more sustainable alternatives, and it pains me to see my alma mater fall by the wayside in this respect.
If McGill would like to remain a leader in Canadian higher education, I strongly urge the Board of Governors and administration at large to join the growing ranks of institutions that have said, “enough is enough.” We can do better.”

“It’s the progressive and correct course of action for an institution built on forward-thinking ideals and principles. ”

“Not impressed at all… Is McGill a leading University in key world issues? To invest in oil, gas and such just looks too easy and completely disconnected… I feel ashamed by encouraging this University… ”

“The scientific evidence is definitive. Excessive hydrocarbons usage is destabilizing our precious planet’s climate. This has been known for 35 years and we have done almost nothing to transition with the required haste to a clean, renewable energy economy. McGill’s role as an institution of higher learning is clearly incompatible with investment in industries that have been knowingly destroying (Exxon, etc.) our delicate ecosystems and financing climate change denial to the tune of tens millions. This madness of collective suicide and McGill’s explicit support of it has gone on far too long and must stop immediately. When, in ten or twenty years, McGill’s decision-makers look back on their misguided resistance to this existentially necessary decision, they will certainly hang their heads in profound shame. Accept the inevitable and divest now! ”

“Given that the University is in the business of training the minds of future generations to lead, and is therefore directly vested in the best interests of these future generations; and given that the unrestricted exploration, extraction, and consumption of fossil fuels are actions at odds with the best interests of these generations; and given that the primary business of the University is NOT to make profit from its investments, I respectfully submit that the University has a strong interest in aligning its primary purpose with its investment strategy.
Options exist for investment that are better-aligned to our values as McGillians than the fossil fuel industry. The time to make better choices is running out. Please make a better choice now. ”

“Pour mon doctorat, je travaille avec des communautés affectés par les changements climatiques.
J’ai des amis dans des villages qui ont connu des pertes casi-totales de leurs grains de base pour trois années consécutives.
Comment pouvons-nous ignorer celà ?”

“McGill claims sustainability leadership, yet the board’s continued investment in fossil fuels, which are unequivocally linked to climate change, does not align with this claim. As a climate change scientist and activist who received my degree from McGill I feel it is my responsibility to nudge McGill in the right direction. Divestment is not unprecedented at McGill – if we did it with the tobacco industry, when science found the link between tobacco and cancer, we can do it with the fossil fuel industry. ”

“It is our responsibility not only as a place of higher learning but as global citizens to take action on Climate Change… We can no longer be neutral or shy away from the reality we face. We need influential institutions such as McGill to step up to the plate and divest. We need to show these companies, our students/staff/alumni, and our communities that we won’t just standby as the greatest threat to our planet continues to build.”

“It’s time to wake up and listen to the thousands of students taking a stand against Fossil Fuels. They have even laid out alternatives and committed their time, money, and efforts towards making you understand.
McGill is supposed to be a leader, rise to the occasion. ”

“It has always baffled me why McGill would seek to tarnish its reputation by procuring and continuing investments in fossil fuels. When the Rockefeller foundation divested last year, that should have been a signal to universities around the globe that the time was now to divest.”

“Be bold McGill!”

“Divestment will send a clear message to Canada and the world that McGill University is a leader in combatting the ongoing and pressing global crisis that is climate change.”

“McGill needs to be a forerunner in contributing to the sustainability of humanity, not just in its research and education but also in its decisions as an institution.”

“Because our species will literally be extinct within a few generations if we don’t drastically adapt in the face of massive climate change. I am worried about how the crisis will affect the lives of my kids and grandkids, and I think it’s our responsibility to do anything we can to stop it.”

“I want McGill to Divest”

“McGill should set a moral example and live up to its word if it truly wants to be recognized as “green”. Divestment from the fossil fuel industry shows McGill’s commitment to this cause.”

“The CMA, my professional organization, has committed to divestment for the fossil fuel industry based on the overwhelming evidence that climate change has detrimental effects on the health of individuals and communities around the world. By continuing to support these industries, we reduce our opportunities for important preventative health work. I would love to see McGill emerge as a leader in innovation for the future; a leader that is early to recognize the impact of scientific evidence and stands proudly with the scientists and innovators that are working to improve outcomes in the face of a changing climate. ”

“The administrative and bureaucratic levels of McGill need to reflect the commitment to social and environmental justice that is (thankfully) embraced in its classrooms so often. Please demonstrate a commitment to practicing what you preach. ”

“While my McGill degree will likely be advantageous for my own future, its investment in fossil fuels also threatens that future. But most importantly, its continuing investment in fossil fuels will most directly harm people who will never be able to receive a diploma in higher education. McGill needs to stand up and disinvest in such a harmful practice, just as it should immediately stop its military research on campus.”

“I have some expertise and knowledge of the challenges the University must confront in maximizing its ROI in its financial portfolio. This said I believe that the McGill could equal if not exceed its current annual return generated by its investment in the fossil fuel component of its portfolio. It is common knowledge that there are excellent Green Tech investment opportunities that could easily replace the investement in the University has in non-renewable fossil fuels.”

“do it to be cool”

“Our collective future depends on keeping fossil fuels in the ground! If you care about your students’ futures, please be a leader in divesting all investments in the fossil fuel industry, and direct those funds towards building democratic, renewable energy alternatives. McGill students and alumni will thank you for generations to come!
E. Rebecca Hart”

“I learned so much during my time at McGill, mostly by painful trial and error due to being completely clueless. My classic stress dream is still that I’ve forgotten the date of an exam and won’t graduate from McGill after all. Nevertheless, I will be proud to return my degree to McGill alongside other alumni standing with current students for divestment from fossil fuels. I joined the Divest McGill campaign early and have watched alongside, disappointed at McGill’s lack of response. It’s past time for action.”

“Honestly, I am embarrassed to be a McGill alum right now. With all the evidence right in front of you as to how onerous the climate change situation is, I don’t understand how the school I used to call my own could sit on its be-suited behind and fail to act. I want to see you guys put your money where your mouth is and CARE about the future of your students. Until you divest from this climate disaster in the making, words will continue to be a hollow comfort against your actions.”

“It is time to be on the right side of history, McGill.”

“Dear Board of Governors,
I applaud you for considering to divest from the fossil fuel industry. In addition to all the well known environmental and social justice problems associated with the fossil fuel industry, please consider that supporting this industry is simply an awful financial investment.
It is quite clear that we have reached the point of diminishing returns when it comes to fossil fuel extraction. Shell’s recent $7 billion boondoggle in the arctic is a good example: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/susan-murray/shell-comes-up-empty-a-moment-of-clarity_b_8259454.html. Personally, I could have found much better uses for $7 billion dollars!
We should NOT be fooled by the current cheap oil prices! They are the temporary result of a world-wide trillion dollar investment by oil producers to boost production after the 2007 spike in oil prices. In a few short years, the world will have consumed the current “glut” and we will be back where we were in 2007. The only difference will be that the financial investment that will be required to generate the next oil “glut” will be astronomical, will undoubtedly fail, and in so doing plunge the World in unparalleled environmental and financial disaster.
Please do not take my word for it. Do your own research! A good place to start would be to speak with your own faculty members.
Also, please consider divesting from the financial institutions that continue to support the fossil fuel industry and refuse to support alternatives (population control measures, equitable sharing of wealth, alternative technologies and lifestyle adjustments, etc) that will be necessary to ensure sustainability and to keep the project of civilization alive.
Best Regards,
Guy Faubert ”

“I have already sent a long and detailed letter the McGill Principal”

“This is going to happen eventually so might as well take the lead now and look good doing it. At the very least run an inquiry into what ROI would look like without fossil fuel investments. It could be an opportunity to partner with business students to run mock simulations or it could easily be done internally with someone charged to run the analysis.
Make us proud McGill!”

“It took McGill 17 years longer than Harvard to divest from the tobacco industry. And now, with the fossil fuel industry firmly at odds with science and indigenous treaty obligations, you sided with industry in 2013 and are now stalling. It is troubling, to say the least.
When I arrived on campus as a student in the fall of 2005 I believed this was a morally upstanding institution. As long as I stayed uninvolved with campus life, I believed this. But as I got involved through 2008-10, and then worked on campus from 2011-13, I realized that this institution is far from progressive, and in fact was closer to reactionary.
But there are many people and groups on campus using science and sound logic as a basis for actions leading to a better world. I would like to think I got to be part of that, in efforts like getting composting on campus, facilitating workshops on sexual consent, and establishing a sustainability strategy for the university. Students, staff and faculty worked to make these things happen. But they had to work against an institution seemingly averse to change, no matter how sound and well-substantiated the change was. Big mutli-faceted institutions are hard to change, I know that well.
But why exactly is change so slow at McGill? Of the change-averse forces there, in my time at least, the slowest and most resistant by far was the Board of Governors. Perhaps it is the prominence of Canadian establishment figures on the Board who perfectly enjoy the status-quo, or maybe the infrequency of meetings (once a month or less) decelerates action, or maybe it is the power of the word of the Finance Committee. Whatever it is, the Board plays a lead role in holding McGill back from being a leading social force for good.
As an institute of higher learning of such great repute, this is not a characteristic I was expecting. Not when I chose McGill and arrived, thinking it could be a beacon of clarity in a confusing world. But now I am starting to expect such behaviour of this institution. And the more I learn about its history (slavery, indigenous land theft, faculty racism, weapons and torture research, etc), the more unsurprising McGill’s disappointing behaviour becomes.
But I, and many alumni, staff, students, and professors, will not stand for it. This is not your institution, dear Board, it is ours. It belongs to society, and we will make heard what we are saying. We will make heard facts you already know and choose to not move on.
McGill is a school with some great people and great ideas coursing through it. For that, I must admit I do have a sense of pride. But the complacency we are seeing in response to perhaps the biggest crisis humanity has ever faced, climate change, is making it hard for me to see McGill for what I hoped it would be when I arrived, for what I still believe it could be.
It feels odd writing to a Board of Governors. I suspect you as an administrative body will live longer than me. But you as individuals on it now, your time there is short. So we are watching you, hoping for you, dreaming for you, and here supporting you. I can’t wait to see what you will do.”


“McGill is implicit in the destruction of our planet while actively teaching us the dangers of such actions.”

“Continuing to directly and indirectly support what is harming the most vulnerable populations of the world is a disgrace for an educational institution such as McGill.”

“Enough stupidity!!!!”

“It is time McGill becomes a learning organization. It should be common sense that a university makes management and investment decisions that are in line with the research it publishes and the knowledge it teaches. If there are any climate change skeptics on the Board, or those obfuscating logical steps to the mitigation of climate change, they clearly have no shred of scientific literacy and should resign from their posts.”

“McGill lauds itself as one of the world’s top universities. Much of that has to do with the quality of scientific research done at McGill. An abundance of quality scientific research indicates very clearly the dangers we and our planet are facing if we continue to burn fossil fuels at the present rate. Divestment is the loudest signal McGill can send to oil companies, and society in general, that we need to change our behaviour. The divestment movement is clearly growing: be a leader McGill! Get out of oil and invest in renewable energy technologies.”

“This is a serious issue and McGill needs to lead the way in stepping up to a address the crisis that will face generations to follow us.”

“I want McGill to divest because I want to see a great university meet its public responsibility to take the lead on humanity’s most critical global issue. Because I want the university community to be able to look back in 50 or 100 years and say not simply that “we did the right thing,” but that, “as LEADERS, we showed Canada the right way.””

“I received a phone call this evening from the Alma Mater Fund and I said that I will not make a donation until McGill divests from fossil fuels. The caller did not seem to know about the divestment campaign, so I told her maybe she should find out! When she can tell me that McGill has divested, then I would love to consider donating to the Fund.”

“Because your largest fossil fuel holdings (especially Suncor) have been badly behaved on climate change. “