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In pictures: Extinction Rebellion Cambridge holds naked protest on lawn of King’s College



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Extinction Rebellion the Naked Truth outside King’s College, Cambridge. Picture: Jeremy Peters
Extinction Rebellion the Naked Truth outside King’s College, Cambridge. Picture: Jeremy Peters

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”.

Naked Truth climate change activism in Cambridge, August 16, 2020. Picture: Jeremy Peters
Naked Truth climate change activism in Cambridge, August 16, 2020. Picture: Jeremy Peters

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”.

Naked Trust XR protest outside King's College on Sunday 16th August. Picture: XR/Jeremy Peters. (40638134)
Naked Trust XR protest outside King's College on Sunday 16th August. Picture: XR/Jeremy Peters. (40638134)

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.

Making a point, Naked Trust-style. Picture: Jeremy Peters
Making a point, Naked Trust-style. Picture: Jeremy Peters

“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.”

Sheet covers naked Extinction Rebellion activist. Picture: Jeremy Peters
Sheet covers naked Extinction Rebellion activist. Picture: Jeremy Peters

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.

This latest event was part of an escalation of activity highlighting the University and its ongoing links to the fossil fuels warming the planet.

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”.

XR Extinction Rebellion Croquet lawn Senate House (40628749)
XR Extinction Rebellion Croquet lawn Senate House (40628749)

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”.

Extinction Rebellion croquet on Senate House lawn. Picture: XR
Extinction Rebellion croquet on Senate House lawn. Picture: XR

“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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