To: President Wayne J. Riley, MD, MPH, MBA, FACP
Meharry Medical College: Go Fossil Free!
Because it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn the planet to climate disaster, we call on Meharry Medical College 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.
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 $50bn in damages. And according to a report released from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee will see an increase in temperature of 3 to 5 degrees by 2050. This small increase in temperature will lead to local droughts and floods that will affect our local food supply; strains on energy supplies for heating, cooling, transportation, etc., and the spread of disease as air and water quality diminish. As a health institution, it is imperative that Meharry lead the way in combating these looming dangers that threaten the livelihood of Nashvilleans, Tennesseans, and all Americans.
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.
As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Meharry Medical College 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. We believe such action on behalf of Meharry Medical College will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.