An LSE-wide campaign to participate in the second Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstration, on the 15th of March, is in the works.
This is the first major LSE student-led action on an environmental issue since the now-defunct LSE Divest group held demos on campus calling on LSE to divest from fossil fuel funding. Inspired by the Friday strikes of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, some LSE students have been striking every Friday on Parliament Square.
A meeting was held on Wednesday, with a number of societies present. Prominent Justice for Cleaners activists instigated the campaign, but many others are now engaged in the campaign. LSESU’s Environment and Ethics Officer, Lotus Wang, also attended. They include:
- 68 Journal
- LooSE TV
- Pulse Radio
- Earthrise Journal
- The Argonaut: LSE Anthropology Magazine
- Women In Politics
- LSESU United Nations Society
- LSESU Labour
- LSESU Liberal Democrats
- LSESU Pride Alliance
- LSESU Geography and Environment Society
- LSESU EcoSoc
- LSESU Vegetarian and Vegan Society
- LSESU FoodCycle Society
- Justice for LSE Cleaners
- Radical Politics Collective at the LSE
- LSE Antifascists
- LSE SU Green Finance
- LSESU Marxist Society
- LSE History Society
- LSEAU Men’s Rugby
The LSE campaign hopes to merge with similar groups from UCL, SOAS and KCL, in addition to any other UoL participants, on the way to Whitehall and Parliament Square where the demonstration will take place.
In the meeting, two events were confirmed. Primarily, a stall outside the SU before the strike will be organised. On March 13th, a placard and banner making session will also take place outside the SU.
The Beaver talked to Christie Tinteren, one of the organisers and a member of 68, the left-wing journal based at LSE:
“Universities are, supposedly, some of the institutions which contribute to the research and betterment of our society – LSE perhaps especially. Yet, university administrations show an unwillingness to act on the advice of researchers. Fossil fuel investment is widespread in the universities sector and it has only been through the actions of those involved in divestment campaigns that we have seen any real change here.
“In this respect, the universities climate strike has seen the fusing of already existing eco-minded groups into a broader organisational team inspired by the school strikes in February. Even better, we have seen mobilisation from dozens more societies traditionally disengaged from such issues.
“One of 68’s ambitions is to re-ignite student activism at the LSE – developing and pushing the changes we want to see. Global climate change represents an issue around which so many of us can coalesce, despite other political differences. It presents a real opportunity for a horizontalist movement at the university and beyond.
“Creating a network of London unis for this strike has really been my broader ambition. UCL Fossil Free, and groups at SOAS, Imperial, and King’s were already planning their own events, but to unite them into a cohesive, joint effort has been exciting.”
Catherine MacLean, President of LSESU Labour tells the Beaver: “Labour Soc is getting involved because saving the climate is part of Labour’s values, especially as we are made up of young people who will be affected.
Aadil Khan, President of LSESU Liberal Democrats told the Beaver: “The Liberal Democrats believe that climate change is an existential threat to our society. If we are to build a fair, free and open society, then it must be underpinned by an economy that respects the resource limitations of our planet. The LSESU Liberal Democrats are proud of the environmental protections established by our party in the coalition, including launching the first ever Green Investment Bank and banning coal power stations without Carbon Capture technology. Yet, so much more must be done if we are to build a low-carbon, green economy.”
Helena Nicholson, a of LSE Marxist Society, told the Beaver:
“Students alone have very little power to change society, we need to reach out to lecturers, teachers and all other workers to organise for a general strike. Only by showing this kind of strength will we be able to achieve the radical change to the economy we need to combat climate change.
“I’m pleased that security and estates have been supportive of the climate strike. Given the response to the cleaners’ strikes, I think many people were surprised.”