(This post has been updated to reflect a change of dates from Autumn 2014 to Spring 2015)
Next Spring one of our founding directors, Martin Holland, will embark on a 6 week long speaking tour of Great Britain – by bicycle.
From mid-April to end of May, Martin will cycle from John o’Groats to Lands End, giving at least one talk every day to universities, schools, clubs, societies, and anyone else who will listen, about the links between burning fossil fuels, climate change, and deforestation in Borneo.
The trip is set to take 6 weeks and will follow a twisted, convoluted route that is still being worked out. The logistics of booking speaking dates for every day of the journey are made pretty complex by the limited distance that Martin will be able to travel each day by pedal power alone.
The Go Fossil Free Divestment Campaign
As part of the process of evolving into Frontline Conservation and analysing our approach, we realised that we haven’t been making the most of the interactions with the public that our outreach activities create. While raising awareness and changing attitudes is vital, it is not enough on it’s own – we need to be giving people opportunities to take action of some kind.
So, in order to leverage as much impact as possible from our projects we are going to align ourselves with carefully selected campaigns that we will encourage our supporters and followers to join and engage with.
The first such campaign that we have identified is the Go Fossil Free divestment campaign that has been spearheaded by 350.org in the United States, and is being organised by People and Planet in the UK. The campaign is using the same tactics used to great effect during the anti-apartheid movement, calling on institutions and individuals to pull their investments out of fossil fuel companies.
Put simply, the world’s largest fossil fuel companies (and countries) already have fives times as much carbon held in proven fossil fuel reserves as we can release into the atmosphere if we want to have an 80% chance of keeping global average climate change below 2°C. Despite that frightening fact, exploration for new reserves continues.
Coal mining is a major driver of deforestation in Borneo, and it’s one of the most damaging activities to local environments and communities. Emissions from deforestation represent 15-20% of global emissions, so tearing down rainforest to get at coal should be seen as one of the worst atrocities a company can still legally profit from.
If it’s wrong for a company to profit from this destruction and pollution, it’s wrong for universities, businesses, and individuals to profit through their investments in such activities.
Talks at UK Universities
The Go Fossil Free campaign is targeting universities, supporting students to put pressure on their universities to make divestment commitments. Already there are 34 such campaigns at UK universities and Martin will try to visit as many of these as possible to give real examples of the direct links between the fossil fuel industry and deforestation in Borneo.
If you, or someone you know, is running or thinking of running a divestment campaign at your university, and you would like to have Martin visit your university to give a talk, you can use contact us here and we will help you organise it.
Schools, Clubs, Societies, or Pubs…
Between universities, Martin will have many free days of travel where he will be available to speak at any venue who care to organise a talk and invite him, as long as it is fairly close to his route. It could be at a school, an outdoors club, and expedition society, or a even a back room at your local pub to people who have never hear of Borneo. The purpose is to raise awareness in every area of society of the links between the fossil fuel industry, climate change, and deforestation.
Filming the Journey
We will be filming this journey and some of the talks, and we’ll splice this with footage of rainforests and the effects of coal mining in Borneo, and interviews with experts to produce an hour long documentary which we hope will tour at environmental and adventure film festivals around the world, raising even more awareness of our cause and this campaign.
Support Crew Wanted
Obviously this is not a one man job. Every talk will need motivated people on the ground to help organise it, but we’re looking for a handful of people to help us plan, organise, and coordinate this project in order to make sure we’re creating as big an impact as possible. We’re looking for help with:
- Project Coordinator – someone to oversee the project and help with the recruitment and management of the rest of the team
- Research – collecting and curating accurate information on the historical, present, and predicted impacts of coal mining in Borneo, and relating this information to climate change globally and the Go Fossil Free campaign goals
- Logisitics – route planning, venue booking, coordinating with university societies, and partner NGOs – this is perhaps the most important job on the team
- Fundraising and sponsorship – we’d like to think a nice UK bike company would lend us some gear for a couple of months and we want you to find them, and then work with us and our local talk planners to design fundraising initiatives both during the talks and around the trip as a whole
- Communications & PR – we’ll be chasing local, regional, and possibly national press coverage, features on blogs and online magazines, plenty of coverage on social media networks, and we’ll need lots of nicely designed educational and promotional materials for the talks
- Filming and other media – Martin can self film quite a bit but we’ll certainly need help doing a professional job of filming a handful of the talks, as well as sections of the cycle ride (especially the beginning and end, as well as some the more picturesque bits)
Apply Now – It’s Quick & Easy!
If you think you can help with any of these areas then please use the form below to get in touch. None of these roles should require more than a few hours a week, and while it would be perfect if you can commit those few hours every week from now until mid-November, it’s OK if you can only do a shorter period. However, if you’re completely free and want to get stuck into this in a big way then that’s awesome, we would love your help.
If you’re feeling really excited and want to cycle or drive with Martin for the whole 6 weeks then that could be great too!
Just use the form below to get in touch and tell us how you’d like to help.
Remember, if you want to talk to us about arranging a talk, or if the form doesn’t quite fit what you have in mind, just use the contact page and we’ll get straight back to you!