Bill McKibben, of 350.org, presented the numbers - 2° is the temperature rise that scientists agree can happen before the climate changes in disastrous ways. 595 is the number of gigatons of carbon that, if added to the atmosphere would cause that temperature rise. 2795 Is the number of gigatons of carbon which fossil fuel companies declare as available to burn, and which they plan to burn. The valuation of those companies is based on those reserves being burned!!
Arch-bishop Desmond Tutu (in a pre-recorded message) reminded us that, back in the seventies, disinvestment from companies operating in South Africa was a huge influence in ending apartheid; he stated that this issue is even more important.
Natasha Gorodnitski described her work at UCL, campaigning for the University to disinvest from fossil fuels, and to refuse research funding from fossil fuel companies.
Siobhan Grimes, from Operation Noah, described her work campaigning for the Church of England to disinvest. Her Vicar and others in Birmingham passed a resolution; the matter will be discussed at
General Synod next year.
Kumi Naido, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, spoke passionately and at length about the necessity to campaign and protest and, when necessary, break the law.
In his summary Bill McKibben reminded us that we are not the radicals. Those who plan to change the atmosphere and wreck the planet are the radicals; we are the reasonable.
So, in addition to cutting our carbon, and that of any organisation we work for, by all available means, we should campaign within any organisation to which we belong to disinvest from fossil fuels.
Huge thanks to the Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation, who provided and equipped The Hub for the event, especially Becky Worbey, who made all the arrangements, Nick Jennings, who set up the technology, and Jason Valentine, who tried really hard to allow the event at the Broadway Cinema, and will try, with Nick, to install technology at the cinema so that similar events can be screened there in future.