Launched with the Fossil Free Tour last month, the Fossil Free Campaign is one of the fastest growing campaigns we have seen in recent times. There are almost 200 campaigns running at universities and colleges across the United States and since People & Planet launched the campaign in the UK with the Fossil Free Tour, 35 campaigns have already started on campuses across the UK. The Fossil Free tour, which included stops in Amsterdam, Berlin, Edinburgh, Birmingham and London, featured US climate campaigner Bill McKibben alongside hip-hop artist Filastine as well as local climate campaigners.
For the Birmingham leg of the tour, there was passionate and experienced University of Birmingham People & Planet campaigner Alice Swift, who spoke very inspiringly about what motivates her to campaign for the climate. Bill McKibben’s presentation was creative and informative, and this part of the tour certainly left our campaigners feeling very inspired.
The Fossil Free campaign aims to get institutions to divest from the fossil fuel industry. The rationale for this is that if it’s wrong to wreck the climate, then it’s wrong to profit from wrecking the climate. In the UK, People & Planet groups are concentrating on getting their universities to divest from fossil fuels, as well as cutting other ties to the fossil fuel industry and not rewarding the executives from the industry, e.g. with honorary degrees.
However, the campaign isn’t just about universities, important as they are. There is a sister campaign, Operation Noah, which aims to get churches to divest their fossil fuel investments. The beauty of the campaign is that, overall, it is about getting any and all institutions to divest from fossil fuels, so any group of people or organisation can campaign to get their particular target to do that.
After many failed climate negotiations, the Fossil Free campaign is about people taking on the climate crisis themselves, instead of relying on national governments and international negotiations. And, so far, it’s been quite inspirational.