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The time has come for universities to divest completely from fossil fuels

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The #FossilFree divestment movement is growing in size, stature, and importance.

The impact of climate change is one of the biggest challenges to our wellbeing and that of future generations. There is also a growing pressure on universities (often the source of climate science data) to stop fuelling the problem and move towards the future. Just this week we recieved the great news that St. Andrews University will be divesting entirely from Fossil Fuels.

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges to the wellbeing of us and generations to come. As the true impacts of climate change increasingly come to light, there is a growing voice calling for us to stop financing the fuel of the past and move towards the technologies of the future.

However, as with any change, there are still a great many who stand to profit from the fossil fuel industries and therefore are holding on to whatever power and influence they have left, whether through legislation, lobbying, influencing governments or otherwise. 

This is why one of the most powerful tools for people who understand the necessity of action on climate change is the FossilFree movement - and with this idea awareness is spreading. I recently read a Guardian article which illustrates that a coming together of individuals and institutions have lead to a projected 2.6 trillion dollar divestment from fossil fuel businesses. This represents a 50 fold increase on the previous year!   

With the rapidly changing climate, mass species extinction and increasing pollution daily, urgent changes are needed. So the news of rapid divestment represents great progress - however much more is needed. 

Whilst studying in Sweden I was introduced to one of the UK's leading climate scientists and visiting professor at Uppsala University, Kevin Anderson. He argued, in one of his many lectures, that we as a collective aren't doing nearly enough to combat climate change and that those in the know must take action themselves. There is a strong example to be set by universities, who should remove their money from industries that their own research shows is a substantial part of the problem. 

Therefore, it´s great news that St. Andrews has divested their money from a dying and dangerous industry partially responsible for climate change. However, much more is needed. I was part of Fossil Free Uppsala, a group trying to get both universities in Uppsala to divest and I urge you, if you are reading, to join the fossil free movement at your own university and encourage them to divest for the sake of future generations.

Follow the #FossilFree movement on Facebook and Twitter.

Lead image by James Ennis.

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