Environmental activists challenge Barclays’ funding of fossil fuels and arms industries
Activists also called out the University of Cambridge for banking with Barclays
Extinction Rebellion Cambridge (XR), Just Stop Oil (JSO) and Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) were unified in their attempts to demand an end Barclays’ excessive financing of fossil fuel and arms industry.
XR Cambridge has also called out the University of Cambridge for banking with Barclays and partnering with the bank through its Judge Business School, despite its avid claims to champion climate leadership. XR protesters outlined this link between the university and Barclays by using public demonstrations such as processing from Senate House – the university’s administrative centre – to the bank’s St Andrew’s Street branch, where some members staged an occupation while others sat silently outside.
A spokesperson for XR Cambridge said: “The impacts of climate breakdown are clear to everyone – everyone except Barclays and the University of Cambridge, it would seem. And as fossil-fuel dependency exacerbates the cost-of-living crisis, there is no better time to be investing in renewables to bring people’s energy bills down. It is time for Barclays to get a grip on reality and use its power for social good. We say to the University of Cambridge – you have huge power as a prestigious institution. By publicly taking your money out of Barclays, you could put enormous pressure on banks to stop financing fossil fuels.”
XR Cambridge has also taken action to end the university’s research and funding connections with oil and petrol companies; Schlumberger/SLB, Shell and BP. The university would also join other organisations in cutting ties with Barclays , like the non-profit organisation Christian Aid who recently left the bank over climate concerns, adding heat on Barclays to reform its ways.
XR Cambridge activists, dressed in black, entered the bank and staged a “die-in”, lying on the floor to represent the death and destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry. Consequently, some activists leafleted passers-by and explained how to switch to a “more ethical bank” in hopes of further awareness and understanding of the dire situation that fossil fuels contribute to in regards to the environment.
PSC members highlighted Palestinians’ call for supporters to boycott corporations such as Barclays which are complicit in the issues they face by the Israeli government with a spokesperson for PSC stating that: “We at Cambridge PSC were proud to be included in this XR action. Our interests meet particularly over the arms trade, which in themselves have a severe impact on the environment. Barclays’ investments in these fields are consequently revealed as of concern to far more than just one campaign body, they work against the essential call for justice in all human spheres. It is important for us to see and make these connections, and mutually support each other whenever we can.”
Feature image credits: Derek Langley
The University of Cambridge and Barclays have been contacted for comment.