Student group Ethical Exeter brought the fight for climate change to campus on Friday 12 February ahead of the global Fossil Fuel “Diversment Day”.
As part of the event, demonstrators constructed an oil spill sculpture in the Forum, consisting of all black every day objects, as a symbol for unnecessary human waste and the harmful consequences fossil fuel consumption has on the environment.
Students were also asked to sign a petition, stating their opposition to the University’s investment in fossil fuels and other unethical industries, as well as distributing leaflets informing students of the cause.
The petition requests that the University modify their investment portfolio to ensure that industries dealing with unsustainable energy, tobacco, arms, palm oil, as well as those connected with human rights abuses, are no loger able to profit from their financial support.
One of the organisers of the demonstration, Natasha Yorke-Edgell commented: We are doing this to raise awereness of the fact that our University invests in fossil fuels amongst a number of damaging sectors and industries that are harming people and the planet.
“We have an ongoing petition for students and staff to sign to show their support for the movement.”
Ethical Exeter will also gauge student opinion to inform a revised ethical investment framework that they will propose to the University Council in April.
Numerous universitites and colleges across the UK support the fossil fuel industry directly through research investments that contribute ￡5.2bn to fossil fuel companies, including those in partnership with BP and Shell. Similar nationwide campaigns have secured over 32,000 signatures of support so far.
Fossil Free, the charity driving the largest fossil fuel divestment campaign globally, were able to commit more than 500 institutions, representing over $3.4 trillion in assets, to divest from fossil fuels at the recent Paris Convention on Climate Change.