What if microfinance could accelerate the demographic transition? Many microfinance institutes focus on making loans to women: properly administered, these loans should enable women to establish their societal value economically. But perhaps most importantly, microfinance provides an avenue for people to transition from the day-to-day worries of feeding themselves and their families into lifestyles that provide at least a little breathing room to plan for the future.
For all its present-day pleasantries, the reality of life on a Hawaiian island also foreshadows humanity’s grim future of resource limitation and expensive essentials. Just like Oʻahu, Planet Earth is an island – with one key exception: there’s no mainland stockpile to bail it out.
At its heart, though, divestment is an issue of conscience. The fossil fuel industry poses a grave threat to our planet and all its people, leaving us with an ethical duty to divest our endowment—the financial foundation of our education and of Stanford’s mission in the world—from these corporations that are making our world unlivable.
The environmental community just invested more money in politics than it ever has before–just shy of $100 million, all told–and it didn’t work. Local billionaire and Stanford grad Tom Steyer dumped about $70 million of his own money trying to get environmentally conscientious candidates elected, but a mere one out of every three of the candidates he supported won.
While scientists across the board recognize the long term dangers that arise from not addressing climate change, Stanford divesting from fossil fuels is impractical, hypocritical, and distracts us from more effective measures we could employ to combat climate change. Instead, Stanford should work to reduce its own carbon emissions.
The emerging – or rather, submerging – environmental catastrophe is as grand in scale as it is complex in its origins. Since 1930, Louisiana has lost 1880 square miles of its coastal marshes – an area eight times the size of San Francisco. Every hour, Louisiana loses at least one additional football field’s worth of land.
Last week, the Department of Defense released a report titled “2014 Climate Change: Adaptation Roadmap,” in which Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta identified resource conflicts as a key area of nations’ foreign policy in coming years. The Stanford Daily sat down with Charles Kolstad, professor of economics and international expert in environmental economics, to talk about the possibility of increased conflict as climate change intensifies.
Our money and our values are inextricably intertwined. As Stanford faculty and an alum, I encourage Stanford to invest in a fossil free future, which will pay dividends for many generations to come.