Following the immense success of his seminal Rolling Stone article and the subsequent Do The Math campaign, founder of 350.org Bill McKibben led an evening of inspiration, optimism and anger at the Troxy in London, launching the UK-leg of the worldwide divestment movement.
Bill McKibben talked the crowd through what he sees as the three essential numbers in climate change: 2, 565 and 2,795.
2 stands for the 2 degrees Celsius which an almost unanimous scientific community agrees is the upper limit of warming which we can allow without the worse imaginable consequences of climate change.565 represents how many more gigatons of carbon dioxide we can safely burn before hitting that level of warming.
2,795 - more concerningly - represents how many gigatons of carbon dioxide would be released if we burned all current proven reserves of fossil fuels. That's what Fossil Free is committed to stopping from happening.
Bill was joined by Naomi Klein by video, and executive director of Greenpeace Kumi Naidoo in person, to instigate the growing divestment campaign in the UK. He encouraged institutions of education (full of people working toward environmental solutions) to remove their investment from "rogue companies" whose business models are built on environmental destruction.
Particularly inspiring was speaker Siobhan Grimes, who was upset to learn that Shell was sponsoring an upcoming event at her church. From opposing this in her own community, Siobhan went onto encouraging her entire diocese to divest, and has now succeeded in getting the issue discussed at the top levels of the Church of England - an encouraging case study for the capacity for meaningful change.
Ethical and environmental officer for UCL Natasha Gorodnitski also spoke, representing the amazing work which the student movement has already carried out in this area, and looking towards what we can achieve over the coming months of this campaign.
To find out more about the Fossil Free campaign, or to find out if your university is one of twenty five who have already begun a campaign, visit the website.