20 March 2015 - According to a recent article published in The Guardian:

“Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG), worth $850bn (£556bn) and founded on the nation’s oil and gas wealth, revealed a total of 114 companies had been dumped on environmental and climate grounds in its first report on responsible investing… The companies divested also include tar sands producers, cement makers and gold miners. As part of a fast-growing campaign, over $50bn in fossil fuel company stocks have been divested by 180 organisations on the basis that their business models are incompatible with the pledge by the world’s governments to tackle global warming. But the GPFG is the highest profile institution to divest to date.”

What can you do?
If you live in an area impacted by coal or are an activist working against one of the over 100 coal companies in which the Pension Fund holds investments, we want you to take a photograph of yourself in front of your local coal mine or coal-fired power plant and combine it with a 1-2 sentence statement on why you want the Norwegian GPF to divest from coal. The result would be a series of “message postcards” to the Norwegian Parliament that all begin or end with the plea "Dear Norway, please divest!"

These “selfies” will deliver powerful personal messages based on the actual impacts of coal in your direct environment. Photos can show you standing aside a polluted stream with the message printed beneath “Dear Norway, Coal mining is poisoning our drinking water. Please divest", or in front of a beautiful mountain saying: "We love our mountains too. Don’t let the coal industry blow them up. Dear Norway, please divest". Or if you are a Pacific islander it could say: "Our Islands are threatened by climate change. Dear Norway, please divest from coal." If you are from a country where you have to fear personal repression, you could turn your back to the camera so that your identity stays protected (This sends a message in itself as to how coal intersects with human rights).

We will turn the images and personal messages you send us into electronic postcards and then send them to key members of the Norwegian Parliament and Government. This way, we hope to provide a compelling tapestry of the real-life impacts Norway’s coal investments are having on people and the environment around the world.
Why do we think this can make a real difference?

Although it is called the “Government Pension Fund”, the Norwegian Parliament is the body that takes ultimate decisions on the GPF. The majority of parties in the Parliament are already critical of coal, BUT they need to be convinced to take action. Norwegians care very much about their image in the world, but have only limited knowledge about the impacts of coal as the country doesn’t have any coal-fired power plants. The international message postcard campaign can thus be an important tool to educate Parliamentarians AND move them to take positive action. Right now, this is one of the very best ways we can support our NGO colleagues in Norway.

When does this need to happen?
NOW! Over the next two months, Norwegian parliamentarians will make up their minds on whether to vote for an exclusion of coal investments as the Parliament will debate the issue sometime in late May or early June. This means we need to receive your “message postcards” in April at the latest. At the end of this email, we are attaching a list of the coal companies that the GPF is currently invested in, so when you send us your photo, please let us know which company investment your photo message is targeting.

If you can, please try and take a high resolution photo, as we are planning to put up the very best images on billboards throughout Oslo in May. We will also put all of the received images and messages on the web. So please get on board with this campaign and help us send a strong signal to Norway’s decision-makers. Be creative and find an image that best portrays your message so Norwegians can understand what is being sacrificed for coal and how coal developments are hurting people around the world.

Please also pass on this call to others in your network and help us mobilize many, many images that tell Norwegians why their Pension Fund should divest today.

The photos and their accompanying messages should be sent to christina@urgewald.org