Fossil Free UCL’s daily protests have prompted the university’s Council to discuss ending investment in the fossil fuel industry.
The protests, or escalation, began on the 11th March when students in Fossil Free smeared the cases of the Koptos Lions with brown and red handprints symbolising UCL’s involvement in ‘funding climate change’. The Koptos Lions are believed to be from 3000 BC and were brought from Egypt to London by archaeologists in the 19th Century- their relation to the fossil fuels industry remains unclear. More than 10 protest activities have been held since, including a party held on the Portico, writing bad reviews on UCL’s Facebook page and a small group of activists staying on the balcony outside the Provost’s office for 26 hours.
The Fossil Free movement is committed to ending university investments in fossil fuels due to their environmental impact. The movement claims that UCL has invested £12.5 million in the fossil fuel industry and want it to follow the example of Oxford, King’s College and others that have ended their involvement with fossil fuels. The current wave of protest met with a degree of criticism- the activists’ tendency to release a pungent yellow smoke during various protests is probably not particularly good for the environment, and the most obvious result of writing anti-fossil fuel slogans on the Quad has been an increased workload for UCL’s cleaning staff.
The Council’s decision on the 30th March to discuss divestment, however, suggests that Fossil Fuel’s voices have been heard. Whether their demands will be met remains to be seen.
Featured Image: UCL Fossil Free Facebook