We write as alumni of the University of Wisconsin.

We have in common the fear that human-caused climate change puts life as we know it in grave danger. Droughts, floods and storms augmented by climate change will continue to disrupt lives and economies, hitting the poor the hardest. Reliance on fossil fuels to drive the world’s economy is the primary contributor to human-caused climate change.

We also have in common confidence that citizens and scholars will act on the moral imperative to avert catastrophes.

In light of this imperative, we call upon the governing board of the UW Foundation to divest from fossil fuel producers and reinvest in concerns that benefit the university and the state of Wisconsin. The university’s mission is to “help ensure the survival of this and future generations and improve the quality of life for all.”

Continued investment in fossil fuels neither helps future generations nor improves quality of life. Such investments contribute to a degraded and dangerous future and are incompatible with ethical stewardship. This university’s future should be staked on investments in a livable future, not firms whose business models depend on exacerbating climate change.

As concerned alumni of UW, we are diverting our Annual Fund donations to the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund (www.divestfund.org), which is invested in fossil-free mutual funds. Our donations will be released to the UW Foundation when it divests from fossil fuels. In this way, we add alumni voices and dollars to the call for divestment. We hope other alumni will join us in donating to the multi-school fund and sign our open letter at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/uwalumnidivest.

Judith St. John Stadler graduated with a master’s degree in 1965, Elizabeth Hachten graduated with a Ph.D. in history of science in 1991 and John Zinda graduated with a Ph.D. in sociology in 2013.