AUNE Alumna and now faculty member, Abigail Abrash Walton (’16, PhDLC), recently published a research article in the Elsevier Journal of Energy Research and Social Science. Based in her doctoral research while at AU, the article focuses on the need for global institutional leaders to divest from fossil fuels.
Entitled, “Positive Deviance and Behavior Change: A Research Methods Approach for Understanding Fossil Fuel Divestment”, Walton’s article maps out the emergence of climate change in the Anthropocene Epoch and how the predominant contributor to this environmental disaster has been combustion of fossil fuels by humans.
Yet while the present times are still most definitely dire, Walton sees much to be optimistic about. “Since 2011, a worldwide climate change action movement has emerged focused on fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment of those resources in clean energy technologies. Pledged and/or already-divested global institutional assets are estimated at $5.5 trillion (Divestinvest.org, 2017) or 8 percent of global stock market value and U.S.-based philanthropic foundations have emerged as leaders in this change movement, the fastest growing in history.” Walton continues, “My research reveals how and why institutional leaders stewarding hundreds of millions of dollars are ready to commit their organizations to fossil fuel divestment.”
Her research also found that “leaders engaging in divestment may experience higher levels of satisfaction, pride, happiness, and engagement with organizational roles.” Walton emphasizes that the article is both topical and telling and “should be of interest to a wider audience, particularly in light of the recent success of Ireland’s fossil fuel divestment bill.”