The High School Divestment & Reinvestment Coalition
The goal of the High School Divestment & Reinvestment Coalition is to utilize the power of collective action to strengthen the divestment movement among secondary institutions. This coalition hopes to begin the movement for high schools to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in clean technologies which facilitate the necessary energy transition.
By building a network of passionate high-school students, the coalition makes accessible a toolbox of divestment and reinvestment strategies, opportunities for club-to-club advising, and a forum for sharing success stories.
Divestment & Reinvestment within Secondary Institutions
Many private secondary institutions have endowments that are either invested in or indirectly in the fossil fuel industry. There are no compelling reasons why any secondary institution should remain invested in fossil fuels and be on the wrong side of history, betting on an ugly future. Secondary institutions have a strong imperative to divest, setting an example for their students and taking a step towards increased environmental advocacy and transparency. We must catalyze a clean energy future in order to minimize the harmful effects of climate change, and view Divestment & Reinvestment as an effective tool for realizing this goal. This cultural-political-economic movement relies on engagement and activism at a large scale—which is what the High School Divestment Coalition aims to achieve.
Divestment within Public Cities and States
Divestment advocacy on the city and state level typically places pressure on their boards and pension boards to divest their pension funds from fossil fuels. Students, primarily in California, have been advocating for CalPERS (California Public Employees Retirement System) and CalSTRS (California State Teachers' Retirement System), the two largest pension funds in the U.S., to divest from fossil fuels.
How does Divestment & Reinvestment catalyze a clean energy future?
Divestment & Reinvestment is not an attempt to directly defund fossil fuel companies, rather it creates a social stigma around the ways in which fossil fuel companies currently operate, stripping them of their social license. We recognize that fossil fuel companies can be agents in helping us achieve our clean energy future, but are not acting responsibly in the status quo. We hope that divestment will spur them into action; we are utilizing our financial leverage to force them to change their practices. We view divestment as the best way to make demands on companies. In turn, the reinvestment part of our movement promotes clean energy development, and innovation of new clean technologies which could revolutionize our future. Finally, Divestment & Reinvestment educates the public on unsustainable company practices as well as the impacts of climate change.
As for financial considerations concerning returns on divested vs. non-divested portfolios, there has been no clear consensus on whether divestment yields lower returns.
We are not the only ones who believe in Divestment & Reinvestment.
After The Nueva School Divestment & Reinvestment Team (Alex W. '24, Ines P. '25, Naomie C. '24, Anna A. '25) started pursuing fossil fuel divestment at their school, they realized they could even better contribute to the movement by harnessing the collective power of multiple united secondary institutions through organizing a High School Divestment Coalition—a group of high school clubs across the United States that are all working towards the shared goal of divestment from fossil fuels and reinvestment in clean technologies.