Video courtesy ofÂ Thea Dumitrescu
STUDENT campaigners stormed Chapters canteen last Friday with a theatrical protest against Kingâ€™s investment in oil and gas companies.
More than a dozen Fossil Free protesters dressed in bold costumes, including a fake Principal Ed Byrne and a superhero named â€œCaptain Planet,â€ delivered a play protesting the use of fossil fuels.
The protest had been in the works for several weeks and had not been run past Kingâ€™s â€“ shocked security staff stood and watched from the sidelines.
Kingâ€™s students were joined by fellow University of London students â€“ one protester told Roar that they had crashed several other universities in the clamour of Global Divestment Day.
This protest came after 1,000 people signed a Fossil Free petition to Kingâ€™s demanding divestment in energy industries last year.
In October it was reported by Roar that Kingâ€™s has more than Â£8 million in major oil and gas polluting companies, including Shell and BP.
KCL Fossil Free protester Mark Horowitz told Roar at the drama protest that the Collegeâ€™s response to the petition was â€œunderwhelmingâ€ and â€œempty rhetoricâ€
Asked if he thought the Fossil Free campaign would be successful, Horowitz replied that it was only a â€œmatter of timeâ€ before Kingâ€™s divests, and called on College managers to â€œdo it now and be leaders.â€
King’s Principal Ed Byrne has signalled engagement with the movement, and is hosting a â€œPrincipalâ€™s Student Debateâ€ on the topic of divestment on the 25th of February at Stamford Street.
His Vice-Principal Chris Mottershead told Roar that Kingâ€™s was â€œsupportive of relationships with companies in the fossil fuel [industry]… which collaborate with us on important research and education,â€ provided they recognise and minimise the harm they cause.
Professor of Climate and Culture Mike Hulme told Roar that the fossil free movement: â€œwill do nothing to reduce the risks of climate change, nor enhance the capacities of those most-affected by weather extremes to cope with them.â€
â€œCampaigns for divestment are in danger of reducing climate change to a single symbolic issue, distracting from the wider challenges of meeting the energy needs of the world.”