Extinction Rebellion UBC plans hunger strike if board of governors doesn't order full divestment from fossil fuels

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      Climate activists continue to ramp up pressure on UBC's administration and board of governors to take more dramatic action to address the climate crisis.

      Today, president and vice chancellor Santa Ono said that UBC has declared a climate emergency. And the board voted to conduct financial and legal reviews to "inform how the university can move forward with full divestment of its main endowment pool ($1.71B) from fossil fuels". 

      Extinction Rebellion UBC responded with skepticism, stating that it doesn't treat this as a win after its climate protests last month.

      The group is demanding "full divestment from fossil fuels" and a denunciation of the role that this industry is playing in "perpetuating injustice against all beings, human and non-human".

      As a result, Extinction Rebellion is planning a hunger strike, starting on the first day of the next term on January 6, if full divestment is not pledged by the end of 2019.

      "Full divestment does not mean a promise to explore full divestiture," Extinction Rebellion UBC student organizer Laura Sullivan told the board. "Rather, it calls for a full-fledged commitment to complete divestment as soon as possible."

      She also told the board that this is the "most important moment in the history of humanity".

      “The climate and ecological crisis takes precedence over our individual needs," Sullivan said. "This January, we will be putting our healthy bodies on the line. We will enact starvation so that this institution can visualize the real-life consequences of its failure to act."

      In addition, she accused UBC of remaining "complicit in this catastrophe", warning governors that they have 27 days to commit to the group's demands. 

      In a statement released to the media, Extinction Rebellion UBC characterized the board's moves today as "partial divestment", which won't occur until February 2020 at the earliest.

      “These statements sound like progress, but they are far less than the bare minimum from an institution ranked the #1 university in the world on addressing the UN sustainable development goals,” Extinction Rebellion UBC spokesperson Emma Pham declared. “UBC has struck two new committees but made no new commitments. Its lofty words about science, justice and leadership ring false.”