A climate activist scaled the outside of the Wills Memorial Building yesterday to unveil a banner calling for climate justice.
The activist, a second year geography student at the university, climbed onto the top of the arched entrance to the university’s flagship building and dropped the banner which read “One Struggle One Fight Climate Justice = Workers Rights”.
He climbed without equipment approximately six metres onto the building and was up for around two minutes as he secured the banner before climbing down and vanishing into the milling crowd.
Speaking to The Bristol Activist in advance of the action (March 24), the activist said he felt nervous, adding: ‘I don’t want to do this. But it’s necessary and I think should we start considering the drastic when the damage has been dealt? Probably not.’
He said he was taking action because of feelings of ‘alienation’ with how Bristol University is handling the climate crisis.
‘We are wilfully and blindly walking into a catastrophe that could cause the suffering of billions and we are not embodying the static nature of this crisis,’ he said.
‘This is our future we’re fighting for, and the future of the global South. It’s important to notice that the people that are suffering are not privileged white people like me in Bristol, it’s people in the majority world, in the global South, who are suffering it now.’
He said that alternatives are possible and that one way of achieving change is by ’embodying the change you want.’ Part of that, he said, is challenging the role of ‘massive monuments’ like the Wills Memorial Building.
Asked what he would like to see the University do, he responded: ‘I would like them to recognise that we are in a climate emergency, I would like them to stop their ties with defence firms like Boeing. I would like them to stop career pathways to BP, to Shell, to other massively disruptive companies. To banks like HSBC.
‘I would like them to stop initiating pointless field trips using flights. I was going to go on a field trip with 150 students, with 150 flights. That’s a horrific amount of emissions that are needless. It’s a lavish use of resources and money.’
He added that the action was taken in solidarity with lecturers at the university ‘because they are being underpaid and overworked.’ Staff recently took strike action over pay and conditions and will return to the picket lines from Monday (March 28).
The action comes ahead of a Youth Climate Strike on Friday (March 25) on College Green. Which will take as its focus the expansion of Bristol Airport.