At their regular meeting on June 26, the City of Somerville’s Board of Aldermen unanimously approved a resolution urging individuals, colleges and universities, foundations, and governments to divest their funds from publicly-traded fossil fuel companies. The vote marks a major milestone for Fossil Free Somerville, the community group which organized a petition effort in support of an earlier version of the resolution, which directly addressed Somerville’s Retirement Board.
Although the petition garnered the signatures of 129 registered Somerville voters, prompting a public hearing which drew a large and supportive audience, as members of the city’s retirement system, the Aldermen were unable to vote on the matter due to a potential conflict of interest. Mark Niedergang (Ward 5) and Rebekah Gewirtz (Ward 6), in cooperation with members of Fossil Free Somerville, subsequently developed an amended resolution designed to express the Board’s general opinion in support of divestment from the fossil fuel industry. While the decision of whether or not to divest ultimately rests with the Retirement Board, the Board of Aldermen’s vote communicates democratic, grassroots support for the strategy and reinforces the City of Somerville’s commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
About Fossil Free Somerville
Fossil Free Somerville is a grassroots organization dedicated to locally oriented action designed to combat climate change and challenge the companies that drive it. Specifically, we want the City of Somerville to divest its pension fund from the fossil fuel industry. Composed of a diverse range of Somerville citizens, we share a common conviction that climate change represents the gravest exigent threat to the planet and its people.