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To: The World Learning Board of Trustees

Divest World Learning From Fossil Fuels

Divest World Learning From Fossil Fuels

As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on World Learning to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.

Two hundred publicly traded companies that hold the vast majority of the world’s fossil fuel reserves have five times as much coal, oil, and gas than climate scientists believe is safe to burn. In order to keep the Earth in livable shape, we must keep eighty percent of these fossil fuels underground. In light of these numbers, we believe it is in the best interest of World Learning to divest from companies that place profit over people and spend millions of dollars lobbying against a sustainable future. Divesting from fossil fuels opens the door for more sustainable financial investments in the future.

We believe such action will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the well-being of its current and future students, in all World Learning programs, who deserve the opportunity to live/study/work in a future not defined by climate chaos.

World Learning “envision[s] a just world, driven by engaged citizens and thriving communities. Our mission is to empower people and strengthen institutions through education, development, and exchange programs.” In light of this mission, it simply does not make sense to invest in fossil fuels. As an organization that seeks to create leaders in the fields of sustainable development, international education, conflict transformation and intercultural leadership, we must stay true to this mission and promote a truly sustainable future that is not held hostage by the fossil fuel industry.

We call upon you to join a growing movement of institutions around the country that are committed to climate justice for all by moving World Learning’s endowment beyond fossil fuels.

Why is this important?

Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years.

How it will be delivered

We will present signatures collected last year and those collected through this online petition to the Investment Committee when we meet with them on October 8th. We hope that by showing support from all World Learning programs, the Investment Committee will recommend divestment from fossil fuels to the Board of Trustees.

Brattleboro, VT, United States

Maps © Stamen; Data © OSM and contributors, ODbL

Reasons for signing

  • I signed as a prospective student who may attend once I finish my undergraduate degree. As a citizen of the world, I care that my education is divested from fossil fuels.
  • This is the right thing to do. Lord knows : )
  • World Learning needs to walk its talk. WL/SIT can't teach about sustainable development or represent programs of gobal citizenship and not follow best practices itself.


2014-10-02 19:52:33 -0400

100 signatures reached

2014-09-27 19:23:42 -0400

50 signatures reached

2014-09-24 18:42:54 -0400

25 signatures reached

2014-09-23 17:14:55 -0400

10 signatures reached