Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Climate change exhibition in 2009 at the California Academy of Sciences. Photo: John Loo/Flickr.

Allison Meier, California Academy of Sciences will divest from Fossil Fuels, Hyperallergic, 25 August 2015

In response to environmental groups demanding science and natural history museums cut funding connected with the fossil fuel industry, the executive director of San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences stated that the museum is phasing out such investments.

In a letter released last Friday, Executive Director Jonathan Foley explained his stance on the issue, writing that “it seems difficult to reconcile the mission of a public science museum focused on ecology, evolution, and sustainability and the practice of investing in fossil fuels.” He affirmed that he believes “it’s the right thing to do morally, and the right thing to do institutionally. While it may not solve the climate change problem entirely, it is a step in the right direction.” As for the next steps, he added:

As of this summer, we no longer have any direct investments in fossil fuel companies and we have already begun to phase out all oil, gas, and mineral leases on lands with historic mineral rights given to us by donors. In January of this year, the Academy implemented a new institutional gift policy to ensure contributions are consistent with the Academy’s stated mission, purposes, and priorities. Those were the first steps. And we intend to do more.

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