East Sussex chicken protesters ‘set world record’
Climate change campaigners staged a chicken protest at the weekend – which they say has set a world record.
More than 50 keen environmentalists donned hen masks and took part in the online ‘chicken-in’ on Zoom on Saturday (August 22).
They sang a specially-written song – ‘Things are getting hot here in the henhouse’ – and staged a short play called ‘Silly chickens and their fossil fuel investments’.
It was an idea hatched by Divest East Sussex, which is calling on the county council to stop investing the pension fund into fossil fuels.
The group says the county council needs to stop investing in the ‘giant oil and gas companies that are driving the climate crisis’.
They demand to know how the authority has squared these investments with its October 2019 declaration of a climate emergency.
Fran Witt from Divest East Sussex said, “With the window of opportunity to prevent catastrophic climate change rapidly shrinking, there’s never been a more important time for East Sussex County Council (ESCC) to ditch its investments in fossil fuels (its ‘fossil fuel chickens’) before they come home to roost.
“Failure to limit global warming to 1.5ºC will lead to calamitous impacts for some of the world’s poorest people.
“But keeping global warming to 1.5ºC will require dramatic cuts in carbon emissions over the next ten years – cuts which are simply incompatible with the business models of these companies.
“Moreover, the pandemic has brought forward the point of ‘peak demand’ for fossil fuels – that is, the point after which consumption starts permanently falling – creating the prospect of big losses for investors like ESCC.
“Having already declared a ‘climate emergency’ ESCC now needs to put its words into action and stop funding the companies that are driving the climate crisis.”
The group say they have set a new world record for most people wearing chicken masks staging a Zoom protest.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Pension Committee said more than 76,000 present and future pensioners from 128 organisations rely on it.
They said, “Divesting from fossil fuels without proper planning could put their financial security at risk and result in the fund being unable to meet its legal duty.
“However, the pension committee always takes environmental and social factors extremely seriously and currently only four per cent of the fund is directly involved in fossil fuel investment.
“At its meeting on June 22, the Pension Committee considered a range of evidence and reports to inform its investment strategy regarding fossil fuels and broader Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance issues. The committee agreed to a refreshed Strategic Asset allocation, which has the potential to reduce the level of fossil fuel investment.”
Divest East Sussex is no stranger to unorthodox protests.
Back in March, the group called for a ‘sex strike’ in a bid to persuade councillors to ‘agree to stop funding climate change’.
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