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Emissions Impossible Divest-Invest - The February, 2018 edition

Vice President Robbiie Young shares his top three updates on the Divest-Invest: Emissions Impossible campaign, in the fourth edition of this monthly blog.

February has been a busy month for us here at NUS, from supporting Go Green Week escalations and events (check out #gogreenweek for all the action), to exploring the intersections between climate justice and liberation organising.

As I look out the window at the climate change-induced snowy weather, here are my top three updates from this month:

  1. We co-hosted a webinar with People & Planet during their flagship event Go Green Week, which platformed the voices of climate justice organisers in Vietnam. We not only had the opportunity to learn and ask questions about the challenges faced by organisers here, as well as the vulnerability the country is already facing in terms of climate impacts, but we also got to hear about how UK students can respond to calls for international solidarity. Proposals for solidarity ranged from organised actions directed against the same target at the same time - in both the UK and Vietnam - to demanding governments and banks withdraw coal finance. You can find out more about our learnings in this blog here. During this week we also worked alongside our officer network to put pressure on our institutions to cut ties with the fossil fuel industry. Part of this included tweeting universities who are able to sign our co-created Fossil Fuel Declaration - intended for those who do not have fossil fuel investments to sign so that they can become a part of the global movement for fossil fuel divestment - and amplifying the phenomenal work of the People & Planet network as the week progressed.  
  2. Years of collective campaigning on-campus has resulted in two mega victories; with  Sussex committing to divest from all fossil fuels and Edinburgh finally committing to transform their partial divestment commitment into a full one. Huge congratulations to everyone - students, officers, lecturers, local community organisers etc - involved with these long, protracted campaigns! This gives us hope for campaigns on other campuses - such as Oxford, Cambridge, Cardiff and Lancaster - that have been going for many years, with consistent refusals from university managers in spite of widespread campus support. SOAS also announced that it has fulfilled its 2015 divestment commitment to move all of their investments out of fossil fuels within a three year time frame. This makes them the first university in London to fulfil a divestment pledge. It also highlights the importance of students and officers at divested institutions continuing to maintain pressure on their universities ensure commitments are seen through to the end.
  3. We have hosted two blogs that explore climate justice from different liberation perspectives. In �climate change, racism and climate justice�, Black Students� Officer, Ilyas Nagdee, articulates the intersections between race and climate change, concluding that: �For as long as global inequalities continue to widen, and those countries affected by colonialism are the whim of their former colonial powers for aid, for as long as Black and Brown people are forced to flee their homes as a result of climate change, only to be met with borders, for as long as we face the disproportionate impact of climate change here and around the world - the climate crisis is a racist crisis.� Trans Officer, Jess Bradley, explores the relationship between climate change, environmental justice and liberation in �healing communities and healing the Earth: prisons and the environment�, concluding that: �At the core of prison abolition work is the idea that nobody is irredeemable. Far from being a radical demand, this is a reasonable response to the world in which there is so much work to do in terms of healing; we simply cannot afford to treat people as if they are disposable. What the fight against toxic prisons tells us, is that any work towards healing conflict within our communities must also seek to heal our relationship with the Earth, and vice-versa. It also speaks to the incredible power that can be found when apparently disparate campaigns come together, find common ground, and engage in collective struggle to build a better world.�

Dates for your diaries:

23rd-25th March, 2018: Fossil Free UK Gathering 2018