St Andrews doesn’t do protests. The normally polite town had its first
large protest of the academic year on 30 January when a couple of
hundred protesters marched through the town to protest Donald Trump’s
immigration ban. One of the signs read; “You know it’s bad when it’s
protested in St Andrews” emphasising the placid nature of the student
Despite consistently placing in the top tier of higher education institutions both globally and nationally in terms of academic excellence, Oxford University has consistently shown a poor track record when it comes to sustainability.
On the 2nd of December, Bristol Green Party Councillor Carla Denyer put forward a motion to Bristol University's ‘Court’ with the support of the UoB Fossil Free campaign. The motion both proposed that the University should ‘set a lead in tackling climate change’ by gradually phasing out its investments in companies which derive the majority of their revenue from fossil fuel extraction, and advises the Board to commit to completing this by the end of 2021. In 2015, Denyer submitted a similar motion to the Court, which was only 3% short of passing.
As the global climate justice movement continues to grow and grow with an increasingly exciting energy, it manifests at its loudest, most colourful, creative, and radical on university campuses across the UK and the world. With a fresh wave of fossil fuel divestments announced alongside People & Planet's 2016 University League, universities across the country now know full well that sustainability is a core concern for their staff and students, and it is here to stay.
New research from People & Planet’s University League has shown that a quarter of UK higher education institutions have committed to some form of divestment from fossil fuels. This represents a massive victory for the Fossil Free campaign, still only three years old in the UK. Fossil Free has been named the fastest growing divestment movement in history; now we have the data to back that up.
The NUS represents 7 million students and passes policy at their annual conference. In collaboration with the Zapotec Indigenous community, UK students from the University West of Scotland and beyond are proposing an amendment to the Divest-Invest motion (502b) to support a just transition to renewable energy that does not reproduce the colonial models of extraction employed by the fossil fuel industry. Please act on their call for our solidarity.
To the National Union of Students
To all students in the UK
We are breaking the ban on protest to challenge false solutions.
COP21 is supposed to negotiate a new climate agreement. My hopes were high for an ambitious deal. That was before the conference started. So far we have seen targets set that will take us well above the 1.5 degrees C ‘safety zone’ and closer to a 3 degrees C world where front-line communities are readily sacrificed. At the same time attempts are being made to silenced front-line and indigenous voices.