To: President Krise and the PLU Board of Regents
Pacific Lutheran University: Go Fossil Free!
The mission of Pacific Lutheran University’s is to “educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership, and care – for other persons, for their communities and for the earth.” Because it is unconscionable to pay for our education with investments that will condemn the planet to climate disaster, we call on PLU to uphold its mission by immediately freezing any new investments 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?
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 (oil, coal, and natural gas) 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. This issue is especially pertinent for our region in light of the looming proposal to export nearly 250 million tons of coal every year from the shores of the Pacific Northwest to China. If approved, this project will be the largest national contributor to global warming; we cannot idly stand by and condone such injustice.
Our region has taken a stand against the dirty coal industry with the city of Seattle being one of the first to divest city funds from fossil fuel companies. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Pacific Lutheran University to commit to this movement by immediately freezing 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. As a campus that has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2020, greening our portfolio is a significant movement required to achieve our goals. We believe such action on behalf of Pacific Lutheran University 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.
For the good of our students, community, nation, and the preservation of the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, I hope you will advocate joining a growing movement of universities around the country that are committed to preventing a more extreme climate by moving endowment beyond fossil fuels.