Ireland Divests!

by Nicole Wines

This week my mom sent me this video and asked if it was real…I guess it seemed too good to be true:

A quick web search and a click led me to the Reuters article and let me know that yes, in fact about three weeks ago, Ireland became the first country to pass a bill requiring the nation to divest all public fund investments in fossil fuel companies. This is set to happen within the next five years.

The report begins:

“Ireland committed to divesting public funds from fossil fuel companies on Thursday after parliament passed a bill forcing the 8.9 billion euro ($10.4 billion) Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) to withdraw money invested in oil, gas and coal.

Members of Ireland’s Dail (Parliament) passed the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which requires the fund to divest direct investments in fossil fuel undertakings within five years and not to make future investments in the industry.”

Read the full article on Reuters

Although just one or even multiple countries divesting from fossil fuels is only just a small piece in the puzzle along the path of halting the full scale destruction of our environment at the hands of human “civilization”, it is an inspiring piece of news in the fight to go fossil fuel free. Something that struck me as particularly inspiring within this news is the quick and dramatic turn that Ireland has taken in terms of climate action. The Irish Examiner quoted Éamonn Meehan, Executive Director of Trócaire, an Irish charity striving to overcome the challenges of poverty and injustice:

“Ireland has gained a reputation internationally in recent years as a ‘climate laggard’ and just last month Ireland was ranked the second worst European country for Climate Action, so the passing of this Bill is good news but has to mark a significant change of pace on the issue.”

Read the full article on Ireland Examiner

If a national legislative body can go from such a low “rating” on climate action to making such a huge commitment and example for the world in terms of divestment, then those of us who live in countries where people are still fighting about whether climate change is real instead of taking real action to protect and preserve our environments and our communities can hold onto a glimmer of hope that something could just make a sudden switch in our own homes, and as more and more companies, institutions, individuals, and now countries divest from fossil fuels, the market forces will begin to require the move to more sustainable and renewable sources of energy throughout the world.


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