Local councils in the UK have £14 billion invested in fossil fuels through the pension funds they control. As public institutions, looking out for the public good, they should not be supporting this dirty industry and putting workers’ money at risk. Instead, they could be reinvesting for the long term benefit of the community.
Already, hundreds of local councils across the world have committed to divest from fossil fuels. Here in the UK, nine councils and two council pension funds have pledged to go fully fossil free – the first pension funds in the country to fully divest! – and there are 30+ campaigns active across the country.
This May, you can join thousands of others to call on your local council to divest from fossil fuels. You can join an existing campaign, start one where you are (there’s lots of resources to help) or organise an event to raise the issue.
It could be a rally at the town hall, a get together to lobby councillors, a public meeting with pension holders, a creative intervention highlighting impacts here and around the world. Whatever works to raise the profile of divestment, stigmatise the fossil fuel industry and push decision-makers in your area. From webinars to training sessions, there will be resources and support to help you along the way.
Crucially, local elections are also happening across huge parts of the UK this May, making this a key moment to ask for leadership from councillors and local authorities on divestment. If there are elections where you are, why not think about hosting your Global Divestment event a bit early and tying it in?
If you’re thinking about organising an event, or starting a campaign but have questions or would like some pointers, please get in touch with Ellen: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planning creative action in Bradford
Bradford and West Yorkshire has been badly affected by flooding in recent years, yet our local council remains heavily invested in fossil fuels. We’ll be bringing our ‘Renewable Ark’ right up to the town hall – to highlight the devastating impacts of climate change here and around the world, and demand they take action to divest the West Yorkshire Pension Fund.
We’ll be signing up new people to the campaign, inviting councillors along and piling on the pressure through the media.
Jane Thewlis, Bradford
Getting divestment on the election agenda
The Global Divestment Mobilisation coincides with the local elections in Scotland, and is an important moment to ask councillors to do the right thing. In the run up to elections, we’ve been lobbying candidates and asking them to commit to divestment. During the Global Divestment Mobilisation we’ll be organising more events – like our “Coffee and Political Change” sessions – to get together and make sure divestment is on all our new councillors radar.
Mathieu Munsch, Fossil Free Strathclyde
Turning up the heat in London
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan came into office exactly a year ago at the start of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, with a manifesto pledge to divest the London pension fund. Since then, Sadiq has taken little action and the fund has been exposed for investing further fossil fuel projects, like the Dakota Access Pipeline.
We’ll be using this moment to put pressure on Sadiq to keep his promise and divest London. We’ll be launching a large video campaign in the weeks up to GDM to encourage him announce that the fund will be divesting. In the event that he doesn’t, we’ll create a giant pipeline that winds it way outside his office with a bit of a media splash and forcing him to respond.
Gabriel Davalos, Divest London