Archive by Author

‘How Science Is Telling Us All To Revolt’

31 Dec

There’s a great article here from Naomi Klein about how some scientists are beginning to conclude that direct action and activist might be our only chance. And no, this isn’t social science, this is computer modelling and geophysics.

If you’re struggling for new year’s resolutions, how about joining a campaign near you? If you’re in Edinburgh, we’d love to have you involved in our Fossil Free and Responsible Investment campaign.

Here’s to 2014!

People and Planet Edinburgh

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Fossil Free Europe – Video of tour event now available to watch online.

13 Dec

Hello – for those of you who didn’t make it to our Fossil Free Campaign Launch with Bill McKibben here in Edinburgh – don’t worry! You can now view the entire video of the London launch online.

Fossil Free Tour Comes to Edinburgh

28 Oct

This Wednesday evening the exciting Fossil Free Tour is kicking off the campaign across the UK: with a stirring talk by US environmentalist Bill McKibben, music by artist FILASTINE, and video links with Naomi Klein Desmond Tutu and Kumi Naidoo!

This is the place to come along, find out more about what’s happening with the climate and why, and most importantly – what you can do about it! This divestment campaign is getting bigger by the day, with the recent announcement by the Quakers of their divestment from fossil fuels its first mark on the UK.

Let’s make Edinburgh the next stop!

7-9 PM Wednesday 30th October, New College Assembly Hall; Book tickets at Eventbrite.

Bring everyone you know!There will also be an afterparty in Teviot Underground!

 

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Universities under fire for investing in fossil fuel polluters

21 Oct

The Herald has just published this article by Rob Edwards about the investments of universities in Scotland in fossil fuel companies. They need to take action – the University of Edinburgh has just announced a review, so let’s make sure they know this isn’t ok!

We urgently need to take action to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels; but governments aren’t doing enough, and fossil fuel companies are doing all they can to protect their damaging business model.

It’s time for UK Universities to go Fossil Free – YouTube

3 Oct

New video from the national fossil free campaign about why its time for universities to go fossil free!

It’s time for UK Universities to go Fossil Free – YouTube.

Edinburgh University ditches drone firm investments

21 Sep

The University of Edinburgh has divested £1.2m from Ultra Electronics, a company that makes components for weaponised drones, after student members of campaigning organisation People and Planet and legal charity Reprieve raised concerns over associated human rights abuses.

Ultra openly admits that it makes key parts for Predator and Reaper drones – the robotic aircraft used by the CIA and US Special Forces to carry out illegal, covert strikes in countries such as Pakistan and Yemen.

The strikes – which take place in countries with which the US is not at war – violate international law, and were declared to be war crimes earlier this year by the Peshawar High Court in Pakistan. They have killed hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians, and as a result have been described as the “recruiting tool of choice for militants.”

Ultra Electronics, headquartered in the UK, manufactures directional components for Predators and Reapers, stating that it has been “the supplier of the controls that fly the Predator since its inception.”

The University’s shares in Ultra Electronics have been a key target of a campaign by students and NGOs who want to see accountability and social responsibility within the University’s large endowment portfolio of over £230 million, which is the third largest endowment fund in the UK after Oxford and Cambridge.

The University has also become the first of its kind in Europe to sign up to the UN Principles of Responsible Investment.

Students have congratulated the University on its decision: Student’s Association Vice President of Services Kirsty Haigh said, “We’re absolutely delighted that the University has chosen to take a stance and highlight that investing in arms companies is not okay. Our Universities should be a beacon of good practice and I’m glad our University has taken a step towards this by divesting from Ultra Electronics.”

Student member of People and Planet Undine Schmidt said: “this move of divestment shows the University’s serious commitment to holistically consider its social responsibility as a charitable body and educational institution. I am convinced that the process of cleaning up the university’s investments can and must to taken further to the issue of environmental responsibility.”

Reprieve’s CSR Advocate, Catherine Gilfedder, said: “The US’s covert drone programme has killed hundreds of civilians and traumatised populations in Pakistan and Yemen, with total disregard for international law and the human rights of those affected. In divesting from Ultra Electronics, Edinburgh University has demonstrated its disapproval of companies profiting from such killings, and the importance of socially responsible investment. Other institutions would be well advised to review their own portfolios and follow Edinburgh’s lead.”

University Rector Peter McColl responded, “It’s great that the University has become the first in Europe to sign up to the UN PRI, and it sets the platform for Edinburgh to lead the sector in ending its investment in arms and fossil fuels.”

People and Planet will be hosting the launch of the 350.org UK campaign Go Fossil Free in October to continue their campaign on Responsible Investment.

ENDS

Notes to editors

1. For further information, please contact us.

2. Ultra Electronics’ website states that Ultra Electronics PMES, based in Staffordshire, supplies a range of Heading Reference Sensors to many UAV programmes Worldwide, including Predator, Watchkeeper and the US Army’s tactical UAV, Shadow 200”: http://www.ultra-electronics.com/aircraft_systems/unmanned_vehicle.php

One of the company’s US operating businesses, Ultra Electronics MSI (Measurement Systems Inc), is expert in Human Machine Interface (HMI) and electronic systems solutions, which include hand control systems, joysticks and electronic packages. Its website states that “Ultra has been the supplier of the controls that fly the Predator since its inception”: http://www.ultra-uav.com/page5.html

3. The New York Times has reported on drones as being a “recruiting tool” for militants: see ‘Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,’ New York Times, 29/05/2012: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all

Fair trade and (S)RI – parallel movements for social responsibility? | Just World Institute

30 Aug

Here’s a thoughtful take on ‘Responsible Investment’, our campaign,  and the University of Edinburgh from the university’s very own Just World Institute.