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Fossil Free Oxfordshire - an introduction

By Ruthi Brandt, Fossil Free Oxfordshire:

FF Oxon logo3A new campaign has been more or less sweeping over the US last year, and in recent months has been making headway in Britain as well. This is the Fossil Free divestment campaign, and its premise is very simple – if it is wrong to wreck the climate, it is also wrong to profit from it. Taking inspiration from the divestment movement which helped topple the South African Apartheid regime, the Fossil Free campaign aims to do the same – delegitimise – the fossil fuel industry by calling on public bodies to move their investments from fossil fuel companies.

The word ‘delegitimise’ might seem harsh, but consider this:

  • The fossil fuel industry has already committed to extracting and burning 5 times the “safe” level of carbon (above which we are sure to be on the way to dangerous climate change).
  • Fossil fuel companies spend $1 trillion per year exploring further “unconventional” sources of fossil fuels in ever more environmentally and socially destructive ways: tar sands, drilling in the Arctic and fracking.
  • They continuously lobby governments to allow them to continue to pour CO2 into the atmosphere with impunity.

They are a rogue industry. Their very business plan depends on locking us into a future we can’t survive.

As in previous eras of social change, students are at the forefront of this movement. In Britain, Fossil Free UK is led by student campaigning organisation People & Planet, in collaboration with 350.org (who are the originators of this campaign), and students across the country are calling on their universities to divest.

However, it is not just universities which invest in some of the 200 publicly-traded companies which hold most of the world’s proven coal, oil and gas reserves, local authorities do so as well, including our own. Which is why a group of Oxfordshire residents have started the Fossil Free Oxfordshire campaign, calling on Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council to take a moral, political and economic stand against fossil fuels by taking our money away from fossil fuel companies and putting it into investments that are less at risk from climate change legislation and more compatible with our values.

(Read more about what is divestment, who we’re trying to divest from, and why)

Fossil Free Oxfordshire has had its first meeting in January, with an impressive turnout by local residents and representatives of several campaigning groups. We’re at the early stages of this campaign, so now will be a great time to join if you want to help make a difference! Our next meeting is on Feb 18, 6pm at the Oxford Hub (above Turl Street Kitchen)

What can I do?

  1. Sign the petition!
  2. Get others to sign the petition!
    We also have a paper version which you can print and send us back.
  3. Come to the next meeting!
    6pm, February 18, above Turl Street Kitchen
  4. Stay in touch!
    Facebook, Twitter, and email (fossilfreeoxon@gmail.com); we’re everywhere… 

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