Student Just Stop Oil protesters wave banner during Oxford boat race

Student Just Stop Oil protesters wave banner during Oxford boat race

Student supporters of Just Stop Oil have staged a banner-drop on the final day of the Oxford University Torpids boat races.

At around 1pm today (February 25), a large Just Stop Oil banner was dropped from a bridge next to the racecourse on the River Thames in order to draw attention to the escalating climate emergency.

The students are calling for the government to commit to immediately halt new oil and gas projects in the UK and for the university and its members to join the Just Stop Oil campaign in peaceful civil resistance.

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This is the first such action taken by students at the University of Oxford, opening the door for local supporters to get involved.

Further actions, including the ‘slow marches’ first seen in London last year, are planned in the local area and across the UK over the coming months in defiance of the Prime Minister’s recent threat to crack down on Just Stop Oil’s use of the tactic.

Ollie, 19, a biology student at Keble College, Oxford, said: “I’m a biologist, studying under the best minds in the world at Oxford, and every single lecture warns of a complete collapse within my lifespan, every conversation tells me the loss of most of life on earth and of society is imminent.

“I want to be a scientist myself, but what is the point, to be one of tens of thousands of ignored minds, screaming into the void?

“Government inaction on the climate crisis threatens everything we know and love. If the government continues to license new oil projects, we will not have a future in which to enjoy sporting events such as the Torpids.

“I am taking direct action because it’s the only way to force the change that we need in the short timescale that we need it. So that’s why I’m here.”

Climate scientists have warned that the granting of new fossil fuel licenses is incompatible with staying within 1.5C of global warming – a temperature increase widely understood to be disastrous for humanity.

UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, recently warned the World Economic Forum: “Today, fossil fuel producers and their enablers are still racing to expand production, knowing full well that this business model is inconsistent with human survival.

“Now, this insanity belongs in science-fiction, yet we know the ecosystem meltdown is cold, hard scientific fact.”

Just Stop Oil will be hosting a talk entitled “Our Responsibilities at This Time” on Thursday, March 9 at 7pm, at the St Aldates Tavern in Oxford.

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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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