People & Planet Grassroots Blog

A Poem: Power Shift & Pandemic

Photograph of the Online Power Shift 2020 booklet in grass propped up against a tree. Bird, flower and tent graphics have been added around the edges in many different colours

This was my first ever Power Shift, and People & Planet's first ever online Power Shift. Needless to say, in the run up to Power Shift I felt excited, but also nervous and apprehensive. My mind, rather unhelpfully, filled itself with anxieties about not knowing anyone, but also the worries that come with the uncharted new landscape that the Coronavirus pandemic had created. But in the end, it turns out the worried questions about being camera shy or not wanting to speak on video need not have bothered me.

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Our Next Climate Campaign

On Saturday more than 30 students from People & Planet groups all across the country came together to decide our next climate campaign. We're thrilled to announce the End Extractivist Ties proposal was chosen from a really strong field.

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The Exclusivity of Inclusivity – A Take on Class

Photograph of a Leeds staff/student solidarity demo. People line the steps with placards.

Left-wing rhetoric is clear on the desire and shared goal for inclusivity; for those from varying sexual orientations, gender identifications, races, ethnicities and abilities to share in equality gained through ensuring systemic justice. Movements supporting this are often celebrated within academic institutions; solidarity can be seen through society involvement, democratic practice within student unions as well as increasingly explorative methods in inciting action and civil disobedience.

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People & Planet Leeds and the Quest For Fossil Free Finance

Photograph of four students at a table with signs reading "sign our petition", "bankrupt climate change" etc.

Our biggest achievement this year was at Leeds University Union’s May Forum, where we put forward a motion asking the union to lobby the University of Leeds to cut ties with Barclays until it stops funding the climate breakdown. Having achieved a huge victory at the start of the academic year, with the University divesting £3.6 million of its shares in Shell, BP and Total, we wanted to keep up the momentum and pressure the University to examine its secondary links to the fossil fuel industry. 

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How to run successful campaign handovers

For any campaign to be sustainable over time, campaigners must be able to transfer knowledge from older or more ‘experienced’ members to newer and incoming members. As campaign members frequently shift and change, important knowledge and strategies can fade out if they are not passed on. Universities rely on a high turnover of students within campaigns, making institutional knowledge and longer-term bargaining harder to achieve.

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Setting the Record Straight: Time for Southern Universities to go Sweatshop Free

Earlier this month the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium (SUPC) co-signed an open letter with Electronics Watch (EW) clarifying the nature of SUPCS’ affiliation. Electronics Watch is a worker-driven monitoring organisation which audits supply chains within the global electronics industry, an industry which has been identified as high risk for modern slavery as well as a raft of other workers rights abuses.

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Sweatshop Free and the Activist Campaigning Module at UEA

Graphic image of UEA campus with Sweatshop Free logo overlaid

Before the Sweatshop Free campaign, admittedly, I had never considered the possibility that the electronics that universities purchase could be made in sweatshops, which shows my own ignorance on such an intricate issue. At University of East Anglia (UEA), I chose a module titled ‘Activist Campaigning’ as it wasn’t a typical essay-based module about political theorists; it was going to be practical and engaging and I was grateful to have it offered to me.

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