CalSTRS is the California State Teacher Retirement System. It is a public agency that manages the 280 billion dollar fund that pays pensions for California public school teachers and community college professors. As one of the largest public pension funds in the world, CalSTRS has significant power to either help renew or to help revoke the social license of the fossil fuel industry.
CalSTRS Board Members Who Support Investing in the Fossil Fuel Industry (updated 4.2021): -Harry Keiley CalSTRS Board Members with an Unknown Position on Investing in the Fossil Fuel Industry -Keely Bosler -Joy Higa -William Prezant -Jennifer Urdan -Karen Yamamoto -Betty Yee -Sharon Hendricks
Note: The California Teachers Association (CTA) is one of the last major statewide organization representing educators that has not yet spoken up for climate justice and fossil fuel divestment. Local chapters of the CTA representing nearly 50,000 CTA members have passed their own divestment and climate justice resolutions. CTA members have been working since 2013 to get a statewide CTA divestment resolution, but the CTA State Assembly has not yet done so.
Currently, the fossil fuel industry has social license to operate in a manner that puts young people and future generations at significant risk. Communities of color face disproportionate harm from fossil fuel pollution and the climate neglect organized by the fossil fuel industry. Local CTA chapters, the statewide CTA, and CalSTRS can play an important role in revoking this social license. Many CTA members may be surprised and disappointed to learn that the CTA has not yet spoken up for climate justice and fossil fuel divestment. Passing local CTA chapter divestment resolutions is a very powerful way to signal to CTA state delegates that CTA members will not silently abide climate neglect organized by the fossil fuel industry. The more local CTA chapter divestment resolutions, the easier it will be for CTA state delegates to pass a statewide divestment resolution. Were the CTA to pass a divestment resolution, it is certain that the CalSTRS board would reconsider their current commitment to fossil fuel investments. The fact that the CTA has not yet passed a divestment resolution could be one of the main reasons CalSTRS has not yet divested.
Even if CalSTRS did not divest, by speaking up assertively for divestment and for climate and environmental justice, the CTA would strengthen our relationship with our students. Silence from adult witnesses exacerbates the psychological harm young people may experience as a result of climate neglect. Passing a divestment resolution sends a signal, not just to the CTA and CalSTRS, but also to your students. This signal from your local teachers union can help them face the climate burden with greater resiliency.
Over the past seven years, the unions representing more than 150,000 California educators have asked CalSTRS to divest from fossil fuels. The #DivestCalSTRS campaign is having an impact: two out of eleven CalSTRS board members have spoken up for fossil fuel divestment.