Laurie Chen reports on the latest action from the student eco-activist group
Following on from the Fossil Fuel Funeral staged at the UCL Council Meeting earlier this month, student campaign group Fossil Free UCL‘s latest campus demonstration yesterday afternoon carried on in a more sombre vein.
Officially named ‘A Nightmare on Gower Street’, the Halloween-themed protest saw around 20 student demonstrators march through the UCL main campus, wearing various spooky costumes and carrying large placards.
They chanted slogans such as ‘Divest, divest, divest, put fossil fuels to rest’. Several curious student onlookers did not hesitate to take photos of the unusual spectacle.
The demonstration was timed to coincide with People & Planet Divest for Paris’s Halloween Actions, in anticipation of the nearing UN summit on Climate Change in Paris (COP21).
Alun Cledwyn, a member of Fossil Free UCL and current MSc Environment & Sustainable Development student, gave the following statement:
UCL’s continued investment in fossil fuels helps further perpetuate a growing cycle of poverty and exploitation, as it normalises and finances the reckless exploitation and extraction of mineral resources, often at the expense of both the environment and communities such as those in Niger Delta or in Ecuador or Peru, with coroprations such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell having a long history of human rights abuses.
Fossil Free UCL have been actively campaigning for the university to divest from the millions of pounds of investments it currently holds in major fossil fuel companies such as Shell and BP. This directly violates the university’s commitment to conducting its affairs in an ethical and environmentally sustainable way.
Previous actions have included a memorable ‘die-in‘ outside last year’s Autumn UCL Council Meeting, where around 70 students pretended to die outside the steps of the meeting venue, which blocked various high-ranking council members from entering the building.
Images: Rosie Yang