When the financial crash happened in 2007, I was a 17-year-old college student who watched on as the jobs fell away, people lost their homes, and saving the economy seemingly became more important than all the lives that had been destroyed. Being born and raised in the old cotton milling town of Bolton, I was used to seeing people struggling, but this took that struggle to a new level. Shops that had been there all my life closed down or morphed in to payday loan sharks.
If we are serious about preventing catastrophic warming, we cannot dig any new coal mines, drill any new fields, or build any more pipelines. The new reality for power production, according to a recent study from academics at the University of Oxford, is that no new fossil fuel infrastructure can be constructed after 2017 unless other installations are closed before the end of their lifetime, dismantled, or modernised. Yet fossil fuel companies have shown they will stop at nothing to dig up and sell every last bit of coal, gas and oil.
People & Planet and the National Union of Students (NUS) announced today that over a third of universities in the UK have made fossil free commitments, as nine new UK universities have committed to never invest in fossil fuel companies. This brings the total to fifty four institutions which have taken action to exclude fossil fuel companies from their investment portfolios.
Last week at the Barclays Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Chairman John McFarlane told shareholders that the bank would be withdrawing their financing of fracking company Third Energy - licensed to frack in Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Barclays owns 97% controlling stakes in Third Energy. This could be a huge victory for the anti-fracking and climate justice movement in the UK, showing the power of organising and building coalitions in our local communities.
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