About People & Planet

 

Who we are

People & Planet is the largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice. We envision a future in which spiraling inequality, instability, climate crisis and resource depletion are reversed, and a world in which the balance of power in society has fundamentally shifted away from the few to the many.

Our mission is to build an empowered generation of change-makers who are equipped with life-long skills, motivation and networks to be a force for change in achieving a more equitable and sustainable world.

Why we are needed

Our societies have been shaped by powerful forces, including capitalism and colonialism, which have left a world with deep social, political and economic inequalities. Despite the worsening climate crisis and global inequality rising exponentially, big corporations continue to sacrifice people and planet for profit and power.

We believe that change can only be achieved by strong social and environmental justice movements that include empowered students and communities most impacted by injustice, working together in global solidarity to overcome these oppressive structures.

We empower students and young people to be a driving force in creating a better world by training, supporting and mentoring them to be effective change-makers and integrate principles of collective liberation in their campaigns. We work with partners to form strong international coalitions that include affected communities themselves, and together challenge the holders of power at the transnational level.

What we do

People & Planet has three main goals:

  1. Empower the next generation of change-makers by training and mentoring young people, including those underrepresented in the third sector, to be movement leaders with skills and motivations that last their whole lives.

  2. Achieve systemic change by developing cutting edge campaigns in coalition with front-line communities, which tackle the root causes of social and environmental injustice, and create radical alternatives and narratives that are able to shift mainstream opinion and structures.

  3. Transform the education sector by steering universities and colleges to play a just role in the economy, and act as hotbeds for new ideas able to develop a more egalitarian, sustainable world.

People & Planet currently organise four campaigns: Fossil Free, Sweatshop Free, Undoing Borders and Divest Barclays, and we run two projects: the Economic Justice Project and the University League.

We also run an annual train the trainers programme empowering students to become confident event organisers and workshop leaders in their region.

How we work

Each year we train, support and empower over 2,000 young people to tackle the root causes of issues they care about and create positive solutions that have an impact far beyond our network.

The People & Planet network is:

  1. Autonomous – all the groups in our network have full autonomy on which campaigns they run and how those campaigns are organised.

  2. Democratic – our campaigns are democratically chosen by our network at Power Shift, our annual training event and gathering.

  3. Youth-led – we integrate youth leadership internally by ensuring that over half our Board of Trustees is made up of elected youth representatives.

Our impact

People & Planet have over 40 years of experience in using strength-based and youth-led approaches to promote active citizenship as a tool for positive change in students' communities and wider society.

Over the years, student campaigners have:

  • pressured almost half of all UK universities to divest from fossil fuel companies

  • pushed 56 UK institutions to take action on sweatshops by joining Electronics Watch

  • helped 1,200 Honduran workers get their jobs back following the world’s largest ever garment boycott

  • forced the education sector to take climate change seriously, driven by the People & Planet University League

  • made the 3rd largest UK pension fund, USS, the first to publish an ethical investment policy following our Ethics for USS campaign

  • helped secure the world’s first Climate Change Act and organised the UK’s largest ever climate demonstration

  • got the G8 to pledge 100% access to HIV/AIDS treatment

  • forced the UK government to cancel $88bn of developing country debt as key members of the Jubilee 2000 campaign

  • secured jobs in the UK's leading NGOs, such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and WaterAid, and set up organisations like 38 Degrees and ShareAction, both of which were set-up by former People & Planet interns

For more, see People & Planet's history.