A Student occupation of the at The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is in its third day, with prominent environmentalist and former leader of the Australian Greens – Bob Brown, visiting the protestors. The students are protesting UTAS investments in the fossil fuel industry, as part of a nationwide divestment campaign.
With the sit-in entering its third day students have stocked up on supplies, including food, sleeping gear, camera and phone chargers.
“This is the first and most simple of actions we can take, if we don’t achieve our aims here, we’ll be back in the new year with more creative and disruptive actions.”
“We are frustrated after two years of patient, peaceful campaigning that the university has refused to divest its $300m investment portfolio from fossil fuels,” said Fossil Free UTAS spokesperson Mell Jones.
“We have been attempting to negotiate before this sit-in and during, we will keep campaigning for as long as it takes to get the university to divest from fossil fuels.”
“UTAS is globally renown for its leadership on climate research, it was just awarded a $26m grant for Antarctic research–but there won’t be any ice left to study if it and other institutions keep investing in fossil fuels.”
“Climate Change is affecting people now, we’re already seeing people being affected by rising sea levels in the low lying Pacific Islands like Kirribati and Tuvalu.”
“It looks bad for a world leading climate research institution to have fossil fuel investments on its books, UTAS reputation is on the line.”
“We have a lot of international students from countries like China and India, those countries are watching us and our international students support what we’re doing, they want UTAS to divest too.”
“Thirty-seven Australian institutions have fully or partially divested from fossil fuels, including six super funds, nine local councils–including the City of Newcastle, home to the world’s largest coal port– twelve foundations and associations, nine churches and The Australian National University.”
“It makes sense for Australian universities to divest from fossil fuels, they need to make a positive return from their investments, the market capitalisation of coal companies has fallen dramatically in the last few years, universities are losing money by remaining invested in fossil fuels.”