By Matthew Maslen, ENews editor
Last month, I travelled to London to attend the official launch event for Fossil Free Parliament (FFP). In the Friends of the Earth HQ, around 20 of us gathered to discuss what this new campaign would look like going forwards.
The day began with an overview of the work that’s been done so far. As this was my introduction to the campaign, it was fascinating to hear about how movements such as FFP come into being, and the vast amount of work that goes on before a campaign is even ready to become public.
The campaign will focus around five demands:
- Block the money pipeline
- Refuse invitations
- Remove the seat at the table
- Divest the pension fund
- Break the revolving door
The event also featured video talks from prominent voices in activism on the climate crisis. We heard first from Pascoe Sabido, researcher/campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory and part of the Fossil Free Politics coalition. He talked about how to gain public engagement in new campaigns, and specifically that “finding scandals is key”. He went on to reinforce how important this campaign to cut the ties between the fossil fuel industry and the UK Parliament is. Talking mostly to the second demand, Sabido said: “elected officials are really wedded to their access… [they] don’t want to be told who to meet and who not to meet”.
The next was by human rights lawyer and consultant specialising in climate justice policy, research and campaigns, Harpreet Kaur Paul. She highlighted the huge disparity that exists in agency and access to political decision making between fossil fuel companies, and ordinary people “at the expense of […] planetary distress”.
There was also a panel discussion between Dave Timms, Head of Political Affairs for FOE EWNI, and Hazel Healey, the DeSmog UK Editor. This was a brilliant discussion ranging from how divestment works, to the problems posed by misinformation, half-truths, and conspiracy theories, to the govt.’s recent extreme strategical limiting of civil society action while simultaneously turning a blind eye to corporate lobbying.
The day ended with a beautiful performance by Lauriem of their original music which you can find here.
Having begun with a very limited understanding of what the campaign was, I left feeling it was an incredibly important part of people reclaiming power from destructive polluting corporations. People over Polluters!