Dear Public Employees

350_labor-16Thank you for all you do for us, taking care of us. You educate us and our children, run our cities, counties and state, fix our roads, put out our fires, show up in emergencies and so much more furthering the public good.

When you retire the State of Oregon has a promise to help take care of you. For most of you we do it with PERS, the Public Employees Retirement System.

The trouble is PERS investments are not in line with the public’s values of a livable climate, a crucial requirement to insuring the public good. Climate scientists agree we need to keep the vast majority of fossil fuel reserves in the ground and transition to renewable energy to keep below the 2°Celsius goal of global warming. But the fossil fuel industry is doing just the opposite–they are mining, pumping and fracking as fast as they can.

Fossil fuel divestment takes the fossil fuel industry to task for its culpability in the climate crisis. By naming this industry’s singularly destructive influence–and by highlighting the moral dimensions of climate change–we hope that the fossil fuel divestment movement can help break the hold that the fossil fuel industry has on our economy and our governments.

In September Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation requiring its PERS and the California State Teachers’ Retirement System to sell its holdings in coal-producing companies. In contrast, the Oregon Investment Council (OIC) just approved a multimillion dollar investment they know will be partly going into building a coal plant!

If it is wrong to wreck the climate, then it is wrong to profit from that wreckage. Organizations that serve the public good should divest from fossil fuels.

Ironically, as the world wakes up to the fossil fuel-free future we need, fossil fuel investments are becoming increasingly risky, so divesting would be a sound financial decision as well.

The time has come for Oregon PERS members–working and retired–to speak up and speak out. We want to help facilitate a campaign to tell the OIC to get on board . Step one is signing up so wecan keep you informed.

350PDX will contact you to help you decide what course of action and level of involvement is right for you. Those of you who want to help plan the campaign can unite to choose the best way to get PERS divested–it could be anything from petitions, letters to the editor, lobbying the state legislature and/or the OIC, or more– whatever it is, we want to assist you on this important campaign.

Thanks again public workers; let’s work together to do even more good!

Have a great 2016

The 350PDX Divestment/Reinvestment Team