Highlights from the 2021 Fossil Free Gathering

This year’s Fossil Free Gathering brought together over a hundred grassroots activists passionate about climate justice to share their knowledge and experiences of fossil fuel divestment campaigning, plan for COP26 and develop their skills across the range of areas.

Workshops, talks and discussions in full

Videos of each of the events are available to view below, or via Facebook. Powerpoint slides for each of the sessions can be accessed here.

Introduction to Fossil Fuel Divestment

Partners from across the movement speak about the different divestment and anti-sponsorship campaigns active across the UK and how you can get involved with them. Featuring presentations from People & Planet, Operation Noah, Tipping Point UK, BP or not BP, Medact, Divest
Parliament and more!

Keynote speech: Ilana Cohen, Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard

How do you divest the world’s richest university? Ilana Cohen from Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard explains it all. See the live illustration from this discussion here.

Keynote speech: Daniel Ribeiro (Justiça Ambiental) and Mikaela Loach (Paid to Pollute)

Mikaela Loach is taking the UK Government to court and Daniel Ribeiro is helping fight gas in Mozambique. Hear their inspiring thoughts on the climate crisis, power and justice from our closing plenary. See the live illustration from this discussion here.

Tackling the ‘Divest or Engage’ Question

An opportunity to hear from Dr Ellen Quigley on the merits of the debate between divestment and engagement with fossil fuel companies, followed by a Q&A with participants.

Introduction to Community Organising

This workshop explores the community organising approach, which connects local people and motivates them to build collective power. In this workshop, you’ll learn what motivates people to take action, how to effectively build relationships within all areas of your local community and how to identify and support local leaders.

Crafting a Winning Campaign Strategy

This workshop takes activists back-to-basics on campaign strategy to help you understand what steps you need to take to win and by introducing a range of tools and exercises that you can undertake with your group.

Finance Q&A with Mark Campanale (Carbon Tracker)

An opportunity for divestment activists to hear the financial case for fossil fuel divestment from a financial expert.

Framing Climate Justice

Find out this project’s learning about why values-based communications are effective at winning hearts and minds, how to effectively communicate about climate change to the general public and how to embed justice-focused messaging into your divestment campaigns.

Defund Fossil Fuels: Banks Activism

An introduction to UK banks’ role in funding climate chaos, exploring which banks are funding the fossil fuel industry and how people are fighting back against this. Featuring speakers from Market Forces UK and Money Rebellion.

Art and Action: Artivism Workshop

Learn more about a range of creative direct action tactics used around the world. This workshop explores how you can use art and powerful stories to engage more people and further your campaign goals, particularly when making plans for upcoming finance and divestment days of action ahead of COP26.

Absorbing Momentum

With COP26 just around the corner, this workshop explores the concepts of momentum-driven organising and will share practical tactics for absorbing new people and energy into your group and campaigns around key mobilisations and whirlwind moments.

Working with Trade Unions

This workshop explores how trade union branches operate and methods for bringing trade unions and workers into your campaign.

Group Care and Regenerative Activism

Another fantastic session from Tipping Point UK, exploring how we can slow down, look out for one another and create a healthy and sustainable culture within our activist groups.

Our partners: how you can get involved

The 2021 Fossil Free Gathering was co-organised by Platform, Tipping Point UK, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland. We couldn’t have made this week of events happen without the support of many fantastic organisations and individuals.

See below to find out more about our partners and how you can get involved or support their work:

UK Divest is supporting a network of grassroots groups that are campaigning to divest local council pension funds.

Tipping Point UK supports grassroots groups working for an end to all fossil fuel industry financing and a transformation of the economic systems that fuel climate injustice.

Operation Noah runs the BrightNow campaign, working with the Church to inspire action on climate change and secure divestment commitments from faith institutions. Click here to find out how you can divest your church.

Divest Parliament is a grassroots group working with MPs from across the political spectrum who are calling on their pension fund to phase out its substantial investments in fossil fuels.

People & Planet is the largest student network in the UK campaigning for social and environmental justice, supporting students across the UK to end their universities and colleges’ support for the fossil fuel industry.

BP or not BP? is a national network of actors performing disobedient theatre in many different oil-sponsored spaces, to draw attention to fossil fuel sponsorship of cultural and arts institutions. Get involved or start your own campaign.

Medact is working with the major health institutions in the UK to take this commitment further by divesting from the fossil fuel industry, successfully securing divestment commitments from the Royal College of GPs, the Faculty of Public Health and the British Psychological Society. Find out more about the Fossil Free Health campaign.

Ella Baker School of Organising is a grassroots group re-establishing and re-politicising the culture of activist education, training, and organising for a more equal and sustainable world. Find out how to get involved with the school.

Framing Climate Justice Project is a 12-month project bringing together organisers from across the climate movement to tell the stories that matter, and strengthen our movement in the fight for justice.

The Artivist Network – find out more about the movement to strategically engage arts, artists and culture in creating systemic change.

Paid to Pollute – find out more about how to support the claimants taking legal action against the Government for paying out billions of pounds of public money to the fossil fuel industry.

Stop Cambo – what you can do to stop the Government approving a massive new oil field off the coast of Scotland.

JA! Justiça Ambiental Moçambiquefollow JA! on Twitter to keep up to date on the situation in Cabo Delgado and find out how to offer your support. You can also find out more about Export Credit Agency funding here.

Market Forces is working to expose the banks and pension funds that are financing environmentally destructive projects and helping people hold these institutions accountable. Find out how to take action with a range of high-street financiers and switch your money out of fossil fuels.

Money Rebellion is taking disobedient, non-violent action to disrupt the financial institutions making huge decisions for us and for the planet.

Carbon Tracker – an independent financial think tank that carries out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on capital markets and the potential investment in high-cost, carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

Read Dr Ellen Quigley’s academic paper analysing the advantages and disadvantages of divestment for the University of Cambridge.

Take part in the upcoming COP26 days of action!

#DefundClimateChaos – Friday 29th October

Take part in the global day of action calling on banks, insurers and fund managers to turn off the money pipeline to fossil fuels. Groups will lay climate justice memorials outside the UK’s biggest fossil financiers. More at: defundclimatechaos.uk

Councils: #StopFundingFossilFuels – Wednesday 3rd November

On 3rd November, as world leaders take part in the UN’s climate talks in Glasgow, people will be coming together across the UK to demand that our local leaders divest from fossil fuels. We will rally outside town, city, and county halls to tell local decision-makers that climate justice is not just the responsibility of global leaders — it’s theirs too. More at: divest.org.uk/cop26