In pictures: Extinction Rebellion Cambridge holds naked protest on lawn of King’s College
Extinction Rebellion Cambridge took to the lawns of King’s College today as it bids to shame the University of Cambridge into completing a full programme of divestment in fossil fuels.
To make their point a group of XR Cambridge activists undressed on the lawn - the first lawn action since digging up the Trinity College lawn in February - to reveal messages on their bodies. The messages included “Stop funding death”, ‘We want to live” and “This is scary”.
The protesters informed the public in King’s Parade about the University’s relationship with the fossil fuel industry, explaining how the world-renowned institution is “intimately intertwined with fossil fuel companies who brand everything from lab coats to entire research buildings, as well as fast-tracking graduates into employment within this damaging industry”.
Jess, an XR Cambridge activist who was part of the undressed protest, says: “I was terrified to take my clothes off in public, but I am more terrified of what’s already happening to our earth. Entire ecosystems are breaking down, thousands of species are going extinct, and the glaciers are melting. We are all vulnerable to the consequences of this, not just the people living in areas that will soon be flooded.
“When the global ecosystems collapse, our food chains collapse with it. Right now, a quarter of Bangladesh is underwater as a result of the increased risk and severity of flooding due to climate breakdown.
“The worst start to the Amazon wildfire season ever has just been seen, and yet the University of Cambridge and its colleges are investing in the companies causing the huge environmental damage that makes these events possible! We call on the University of Cambridge to stop funding such destruction and cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry now.”
The climate activism group estimates that the University of Cambridge has £400m invested in the fossil fuel industry, mainly through indirect funding.
The protest ended with a die-in, in which the naked activists lay on the ground lined up like bodies and were covered in white sheets, which XR said illustrated the deadly consequences of continued inaction on the university’s part.
Last week protesters took to the hallowed lawns of the Senate House to play croquet, demanding that “the University of Cambridge stop playing games with the planet”.
In the croquet game, the University took on Mother Earth - but “needless to say the University kept breaking the rules and moving the goal posts - the planet didn’t stand a chance”.
In another action today XR Youth Cambridge posted a video on social media which “exposes Trinity College’s £16m in fossil fuels at their elitist boathouse”.
“We will continue our campaign of non-violent direct action until the university wakes up and uses its enormous power and wealth constructively rather than to prop up destructive industries,” said a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Cambridge.
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