Why Teachers Should Care About Divestment

A future for our students

The climate crisis is upon us. In just the past month we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires, windstorms, record high temperatures, and record numbers of hurricanes. Similar devastation is playing out across the globe and this is only the beginning. Our youth are facing an uncertain future and they are demanding climate action.

The job of teachers is to prepare students for the future. This is a particularly hard year for teachers due to the pandemic and we are grateful for all that they do for our students. But while teachers are doing their job… their retirement system is funding the climate crisis. The NY State Teachers Retirement System (NYSTRS) that provides pensions for all New York teachers and support staff (except NYC), has billions invested in fossil fuels. Before the pandemic it was estimated that they had $4.5 billion invested in coal, oil and gas companies.

The future of the pension
In the past 6 months NYSTRS has likely lost $2 billion due to its investments in fossil fuels. I spoke with one financial expert and asked why we couldn’t get the current value of the stocks. He said, “The value of fossil fuel stocks is falling so rapidly, any attempt to get a number would be outdated within a few days.” NYSTRS investments in fossil fuels stocks is hurting the financial stability of the fund that teachers depend on for their retirement future.

Teachers must demand that NYSTRS Divest NOW
Teachers must demand that NYSTRS divest from all fossil fuels to save the planet and to save their pension.

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we have ten years to dramatically change the way we live to avoid catastrophic harm. The pandemic has shown us that we can act quickly and decisively in the face of an emergency. The climate crisis has reached emergency proportions and we must act in every way possible to speed up the transition to a renewable energy future.

Please Help
Divest NY Teachers (divestnyteachers.org) is a grassroots group of climate activists, students and teachers.

  • SIGN the PETITION HERE to demand that NYSTRS divest. Ask your friends to sign.
  • Forward the petition to any and all teachers that you know. NYSTRS is in business to provide pensions to teachers. Teachers have the power to demand that their funds not be used for climate destruction.
  • Donate to Divest NY Teachers: CLICK HERE 

If you would like to become active in Divest NY Teachers – contact Ruth Foster at rmfosterny@gmail.com or 518-588-0187.

Leave a Reply