Fossil Free London: Who We Are

Fossil Free London exists to make our city as inhospitable as possible for the fossil fuel industry. We believe the industry actively and intentionally blocks the adoption of meaningful climate policies, and must be fought and destroyed if we’re going to have a chance of stopping the worst of climate breakdown and defend the principles of climate justice.

To do this we organise and take creative actions (stunts, spectacles or activities) to tarnish the image of the industry and attack its social license. We do this either on our own or in collaboration with other groups. These actions take place at industry events (like AGMs), at places where the industry uses sponsorship to boost its image (like the Science Museum climate exhibition sponsored by Shell), or outside the financial institutions who finance the industry. But we don’t limit ourselves: we’ll take action anywhere we think we can help fight the industry in the city. 

London, UK. 16th April, 2021. A group of activists gathered in front of Blackrock HQ with banners and a giant inflatable set of eyes demanding that the company upholds their promise to take action on climate change. Blackrock is the world’s largest investor in fossil fuels. Credit: João Daniel Pereira

London is a city with a concentration of power and wealth going back centuries. So it’s both symbolic and strategic to try to drive the industry out of the city (or to make it as uncomfortable as possible for the industry). We work to support the struggles of communities around the world who live in areas the industry destroys to extract fossil fuels when we take action. We also support other struggles for social justice in the world when we can, believing that these fights are ultimately one and the same.

History

The group grew out of the fossil fuel divestment movement in London, and from a desire to regularly take actions and hold events with a range of social justice groups in the city. In the past we’ve held large outreach events with allied groups, protested fossil fuel AGMs and greenwashing events, and pressured the government to end its support for the industry. We’ve had successes too. After protesting Shell’s Make the Future event the company decided to move it online and out of our city, where it had been held for years. Our action outside the UK Export Finance building preceded an inquiry into the government’s funding of fracking overseas.

Our culture

We’re really keen to make our group an opening, welcome one. To win this fight we need a lot more people, so that means getting members who have never done anything like this. We take a lot of care to offer support for new people joining, celebrate you if that’s what you are, and give you space to shape the group. 

We’re also very social. We’re genuinely interested in building friendships with one another, aware that London can be an alienating place. We make time to arrange social catch ups separate to our group activity which anyone is welcome to, whether or not you’re an active group member.

London, UK. 26th May, 2021. A group of activists from Fossil Free London dressed in chimney sweep outfits reminiscent of the industrial revolution call for the City of London’s financial sector to stop funding fossil fuels. UK banks and asset managers were responsible for financing 805 million tonnes of CO2, about the same as the whole of Germany’s emissions, in 2019. Banks and financial institutions in London are still prizing fossil fuels over cleaner energy sources. Credit: João Daniel Pereira

How we work

We meet online, every second Tuesday from 6-7 pm. We also set up small working groups for particular actions/activities. These groups usually have their own meetings when they need to.

London, UK. 12th July, 2021. A group of climate protestors outside Shell’s London HQ recreate The Birth of Venus to oppose the proposed Cambo Oil Field by Shell and Siccar Point.

Get in touch

If you’d like to chat to someone about the group get in touch on fossilfreelondon@gmail.com or message our instagram page, @fossilfreelondon

London, UK. 8th August, 2021. A group of women climate protesters gathered outside Shell’s London HQ with large shells inscribed with HELL opposing the proposed Cambo oil field development by Shell. Credit: João Daniel Pereira

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