Take action this Go Green Week

13-19 Feb

If 2016 showed us anything, it’s that we can’t rely on the establishment to protect our future and defend the rights of those most exploited by our political and economic system. With even insufficient climate deals such as the Paris agreement under threat, the stakes have never been higher.  

Let’s make 2017 the year we build the broad-based movement needed to take on the challenge of climate change. The solution is in the hands of people power, not the people in power.

Run Go Green Week on your Campus

Go Green Week is the UK’s largest week of student climate action. In 2017 we will draw our Red Lines on our universities, colleges and banks investments in fossil fuels.

It’s people who lead movements, not politicians. It is up to us to create a diverse movement with a clear message: "Red Lines are not for crossing. It’s time to decolonise and decarbonise our economies". Download the inspiring Go Green Week action guide here!

Let’s put the voices of affected communities at the heart of the struggle. Let’s work together to expose the fossil fuel industry’s climate lies and human rights abuses. Let’s put a Red Line between us and them.

Go Green Week (13-19 February) is a great opportunity to bring these issues to your university. Throughout the week, campuses throughout the UK will be holding events that raise awareness and take action towards the struggle for climate justice. You can either launch a new campaign, or bring more people into your existing group - whatever stage you are at, try and use the week to build your movement. Here's a helpful re-launch guide for all those groups and campaigns re-energising, re-invigorating or re-launching this Go Green Week.

Our red lines are the front lines

The indigenous-led #NoDAPL campaign was a ray of hope to end an otherwise tough year. This Go Green Week, we must continue to bring those who are on the front line of the devastating impact of climate change and the extraction of fossil fuels to the centre.

Alongside ramping up our university divestment campaigns, this Go Green Week, we are targeting Barclays Bank. With $15.65 billion of oil, coal and gas assets, Barclays is one of most notorious bankrollers of climate chaos. They directly and indirectly fund fossil fuel extraction projects across the world - including the Dakota Access Pipeline - that threaten the lives and livelihoods of marginalised communities in the Global South and indigenous territories.

For those who are being sacrificed and displaced, climate justice is an urgent issue. These communities are our red lines, and red lines are not for crossing.

Go Green Week Timeline

Before the week starts:

Preparation is key to a successful Go Green Week. Use this checklist to make sure you are ready for action:

  1. Reach out to other societies. Coalition building is integral to a strong movement, and this is a great opportunity to start building these bridges. Get in touch with anti-racist groups, feminist groups and other social justice societies to see if they would like to co-host some of the week’s events.

  2. Spread the word. Make sure you advertise your events at least a week before on social media, through the student’s union and any other channels you can think of. Create Facebook events, put up posters and get in touch with other societies asking them to advertise the week to their email lists. Make sure you remain active on social media throughout the week as well.

  3. Tell the press. Identify press contacts in local and student media, and get in touch with them at least a week before a day of action with a press release. Think about  radio, television and online sources as well as newspapers. Aim for at least one slot in student radio and one article during the week.

Ideas for the week

You can structure the week in whatever you way you like, but here are some suggestions if you need some inspiration….

Movement-building Monday. To keep momentum going, we need to be serious about building our groups, strengthening local and global communities and linking up our struggles.

Run a smashing fossil free stall - and keep it going throughout the week!

  • Plan a location with lots of passing trade such as outside the library or the SU building.

  • Get volunteers signed up to run the stall; use an online rota like doodle.com and brief all volunteers on the day.

  • Promote your stall in advance on social media, ask your SU to promote, put up posters.

  • Prepare your stall: with any materials you need (Fossil Free petition, action cards, props, free food, leaflets promoting events later in the week).

  • Follow up: make sure you contact any new campaign supporters about how they can get involved in the Red Lines day of action on Frontlines Friday.

Netflix and chill (the climate) Tuesday. Host a film screening and discussion/social. This is a great way to make new recruits feel integrated into the campaign, whilst also raising awareness. Even better if you can co-host it with another society!

A list of films you can screen:

Do the Math: fast-paced and inspiring documentary film about the rising movement to change the terrifying math of the climate crisis and challenge the fossil fuel industry. Sure to provoke discussion.

Taking on Tarmageddon: documentary about a youth exchange between students from People & Planet and young indigenous tar sands activists from Beaver Lake Cree, who live right in the middle of the biggest industrial project on Earth.

This Changes Everything: the film presents seven powerful portraits of communities on the front lines, from Montana’s Powder River Basin to the Alberta Tar Sands, from the coast of South India to Beijing and beyond. Interwoven with these stories of struggle is Naomi Klein’s narration of the vision that we can seize the existential crisis of climate change to transform our failed economic system into something radically better.

Fractured Land: Documentary profiling First Nations activist Caleb Behn as he goes through law school and builds a movement around greater awareness of fracking on indigenous lands. Great intro to frontline struggle against extraction

Last Stand for Lelu: In 2015, the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation made headlines when they rejected $1 billion offer from multinational oil company Petronas in exchange for consent to build an LNG gas terminal. This short film documents the indigenous resistance that follows as Petronas still tries to build the pipeline.

Beyond the red lines: Film about civil disobedience at the Paris Climate talks, the port of Amsterdam and the lignite mines in the Rhineland. Make sure you get a version with English subtitles!

Where do you draw the line: Documentary about indigenous resistance to extraction in Ecuador. The film features indigenous activists, academics and government officials - and covert footage of the oil production platform - to show bigger political and economic obstacles to climate justice.

Work it out Wednesday. Hold a big open meeting to share ideas and plan for the day of action on Friday. Your action on Friday can take many themes, here are just a few ideas!

  • Ramp up your divestment campaign - If you are already running a divestment campaign, use Friday to do a big action to increase the pressure; and make sure you get lots of press attention! Perhaps you could hold a flash mob, enter occupation, coordinate a picket and banner drop outside the Vice Chancellor’s office or organise a whiteboard photo campaign in the middle of campus.

  • Target Barclays - Do you have a Barclays on your campus or nearby? Use this opportunity to raise awareness about the destructive practices they are funding. Check out this photo album for some action ideas from a recent #FrackBarclays day of action.  

  • Raise awareness around climate migration - Migration is one of the most talked-about topics in the press, but we rarely hear about the root causes of displacement, with the media instead opting to demonise those who migrate. Do a poster campaign, a social media-based action, or a creative action to raise awareness about the narrative being left out by the press.

Taskforce Thursday. Run a resource-making day for your day of action - and make it fun! Order in pizza, play music and get everyone painting banners, signs and other props to make for a photo-friendly action. Two things: don’t forget to book a room in advance, and don’t forget to leave enough time for things to dry!

Frontlines Friday. Today is the big day! Do a quick debrief in the morning to make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Roles you might need include: social media, press contact, legal observer. Don’t forget to tweet about your action using the hashtag #GGW17, and send us in any pictures or press coverage of the day. We’ll make sure the word gets spread as far and wide as possible.