I ashamed to admit that I hold stock in a utility company. It was purchased for me at my birth because even 35+ years ago we knew that energy from fossil fuels wasn’t going anywhere, and we expected it would be a regular and steady source of growth (i.e. income). Now, we’re less sure about that last bit, but unfortunately, the great engine of human innovation has been let loose and new means of pillaging our planet have been discovered extending the lifespan of this industry.
I could console myself with the fact that this company doesn’t have much of a negative reputation — they’re not at fault for massive spills or pipeline explosions — but it’s still an electrical company in Pennsylvania (where I was born) that generates its power on the back of coal torn from the ground with techniques like mountaintop removal. While they do help to support some wind power in PA (see Ethical Electric for ways to purchase wind energy from PA if you’re in the Mid Atlantic states or southern New England), it’s not enough to offset the damage caused by the coal industry, even the so-called “clean coal” movement.
On February 13th — if you’re reading this as it is published, that’s this Friday — I will be selling those shares; I will divest from that company.