Words by Ana Tinc
It’s time to address the elephant in the room: Climate change is real and cannot be ignored. Scientific evidence has shown that climate change is not a conspiracy theory or natural phenomenon completely separate from our collective actions. We may have denied stealing the cookie from the cookie jar in grade five, but as mature adults, the future of Australia, we can no longer deny that rising sea levels, unstable weather conditions and the acidification of oceans are pressing issues affected by our dependence on fossil fuels.
When burnt, fossil fuels (coal, oil or natural gases) produce the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere like a blanket, and therefore increases the temperature of the Earth. With the growth of the Industrial Revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased, from the average 275 parts per million to the present 400 parts per million and rising. It is because of these high levels that the Earth is and will continue to undergo an extreme change, producing an outcome only science fiction movies can depict. In order to prevent an apocalyptic ending to this place we call home, a target of lowering our emissions should be on everyone’s to-do list on a global scale.
This is where Fossil Free Swinburne comes in. We are a student led organisation striving to remove investments in fossil fuels from the university’s portfolio and increase awareness of the importance of collective action.
Our journey began in the summer of 2014, with a small group of like-minded students and teachers, unsure whether we were biting off more than we could chew. We began by affiliating with 350.org, an international organisation with the goal of building a global climate movement to achieve climate safety by reducing carbon dioxide expenditure below 350 parts per million.
Training, information sessions and buckets full of resources were kindly given to us. We were even fortunate enough to learn alongside other Victorian university campaigners, where a positive and driven environment ensured that even the smallest and freshest campaigns could meet their divestment goals.
Now working with the student community and having ongoing conversations with Swinburne’s Vice-Chancellor Linda Kristjanson, Fossil Free Swinburne is driven to fight the battle against the politically powerful fossil fuel industry, who are ready to wreck our planet for their own profit. By removing fossil fuel investments from investment portfolios, this reduces the power and dominance whilst also increasing uncertainty around the future cash flow of fossil fuel companies. Together, governments, banks, religious institutions and universities can work together for a brighter, more sustainable future. In the words of Uncle Sam, Fossil Free Swinburne wants you; let the fossil fuel industry feel our burn.
Come along to our weekly meetings and/or events to learn more about the campaign, and how you as an individual can help ensure a sustainable future. To make your experience even better, you can do all of this while wearing hip, trendy and supportive Fossil Free Swinburne t-shirts available during semester!
Contact Garrity to be a part of the Fossil Free Swinburne team or receive updates about our campaign through our mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like our Facebook page to keep up to date with our progress: www.facebook.com/fossilfreeswinburne