Yesterday in Hastings town centre, local school children again joined thousands across the country to strike for the climate.
Local people who grumble that they could do their bit by litter picking need to realise that while that is an honourable pursuit, we need much more radical action if we are to have any chance of limiting global heating to slightly less damaging levels than our current trajectory. I applaud their passion and support their demands.
Locally, children and parents have a chance to influence the debate by demanding that their schools stop investing in polluting oil and gas companies, responsible for over 70 per cent of the carbon emissions that are over-heating our planet and poisoning our air.
According to data provided by East Sussex County Council (ESCC) via a Freedom of Information request, 23 local schools and colleges are contributing over £2.6 million a year to the East Sussex Pension Fund, which is estimated to have £150m of local people’s pension monies invested in giant oil and gas companies like Exxon and BP. The list of schools includes William Parker, Helenswood, Hastings Academy, St Leonards Academy and Sussex Coast College. Burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is the main driver of global warming.
Hastings schools are funding climate change through local pension scheme
Campaigners are calling on the ESCC to ditch its investments in fossil fuels – oil, coal and gas – and have already received backing from four members of the penson fund; Hastings Borough Council, Lewes Town Council, Lewes District Council and Brighton and Hove City Council. They are now urging schools and students to add their support.
Around the world over 1,000 institutions in 76 countries, managing assets worth more than $8 trillion, have made some form of divestment commitment since 2012.
Local students are probably completely unaware that their schools are unwittingly contributing to climate change by investing, through their contributions to the East Sussex Pension Fund, in fossil fuel companies like Shell and Exxon.
Local school pupil councils could take action in their schools to highlight how important it is that we ditch these dirty fossil fuel investments in companies that continue to contribute to the heating of our planet.
We urge local schools and their students to add their support to the call for the fund to ditch these dirty and financially risky investments.”