Fossil Free Warwick is an environmental campaign group under Warwick People & Planet. We are linked into the national People & Planet network, and part of the global Fossil Free campaign, headed by 350.org. We campaign to tackle the root cause of the environmental crisis facing humanity: the fossil fuel industry, which lobbies to weaken climate change legislation, promotes climate denial propaganda, carries out human rights abuse in the Global South, and is intent on digging up and burning enough carbon to tank the entire planet.
Formed in late 2013 after travelling to Birmingham for a talk by 350.org's founder, Bill McKibben, the group rapidly expanded into one of the most noted and committed activist groups on Warwick's campus. Our campaign to get the University of Warwick to stop investing in (divest from) coal, oil and gas companies lasted until July 2015, getting the support of two Students' Union sabbatical teams, collecting 1,500 signatures on its petition, and holding numerous rallies, events and discussions. The group put the painstaking hours in to raise the environmental consciousness of students and put the nefarious fossil fuel industry in the spotlight - motions supporting divestment, and calling for a boycott of oil companies, were both passed through the SU after overwhelming votes in favour by the student body.
Rising to national prominence, the group became an inspiration to the British Fossil Free movement when it succeeded in getting the University of Warwick to commit to full divestment from the fossil fuel industry - only the third University in Britain to do so.
A national march to the Shard, several meetings, intense lobbying by the SU, pickets, teach-ins, articles: the campaign was a paragon of how to fight and win in a University setting.
Since this victory, Fossil Free Warwick has kept up its presence in the national and European climate movement. Several of our members assisted the Ende Gelande action in Germany in August 2015, where over 1,000 people smashed through German riot police and shut down Europe's largest source of CO2, RWE's coal mine in the Rhineland. We also supported the Art Not Oil Coalition action at the British Museum in September, where hundreds occupied the Museum calling for it to end its sponsorship with BP.
We have since begun building for the next stage of our campaign. After an intense internal debate, it was democratically decided that our new campaign would be called 'BP Off Campus', and would target the presence of the company BP at the University of Warwick. BP host their corporate archives at the heart of our campus, and are often present at careers fairs. This choice indicates a step up for the group - rather than operating through the medium of the University, we are taking the fight straight to the presence of the vicious fossil fuel industry directly on our campus.
What's next for Fossil Free Warwick? Help us write the next stage of our history - join the movement!