”Fossil Fools” Day organizers have the last laugh

WEB-fossil fuels-Leah Bjornson
Sorry fossil fuel companies, but it looks like the joke is on you — at least, so says environmental justice club SFU 350.

This April Fool’s day, the club held a “Fossil Fools” event in Convocation Mall to raise student awareness on the consequences of building the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline.

“Fossil Fools” Day is a nationwide movement, in which several university student groups across Canada participated, advocating an end to the country’s reliance on fossil fuels as an energy resource and a greater investment in more sustainable energy alternatives. The aim of the initiative is to tackle the hard-hitting reality of climate change which SFU 350 holds will only be worsened by the release of fossil fuels into the air.

The Kinder Morgan pipeline project hits close to home, as it would carry crude bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to the Burrard Inlet here in BC. The project has sparked outrage from several members of the community with regards to the potentially catastrophic damages it could cause through oil spills.

To emphasize the disruption that this structure would cause in the environment, students got creative and built their own inflatable pipeline that ran through Convocation Mall — a silly yet striking reminder of the proximity of the environmental consequences that the pipeline might create.

SFU 350 is a student-run organization — its goal is to advocate for climate justice on campus. The group’s name is based on the measurement of 350 parts per million (ppm), which is the optimum amount of carbon dioxide that should be in the atmosphere in order to have a stable climate. The club, while only formed last September, is already a prominent advocate for climate justice on campus.

The club, founded in September, aimed to create awareness about the environmental future.

With the fun filled and student centered celebration, the club aimed to create awareness about the environmental future. SFU 350 secretary Jesse Willows said of the cause, “There is often a ton of negative connotations associated with climate justice groups, and we wanted to be a more accessible [resource for] people. Our goal is to engage in dialogue that can be tricky because it can be perceived as political.”

SFU 350 is also a participant in the Divest SFU initiative, members of which recently made a case for fossil fuel divestment to the SFU Board of Governors. The campaign has garnered support from the Simon Fraser Student Society, the Simon Fraser Graduate Student Society, as well as the departments of Urban Studies and Resource and Environmental Management.

SFU 350 president Andhra Azevedo was one of two representatives who petitioned the board on March 27 to end investment in fossil fuel companies in order to reduce the university’s contribution to climate change risk.

In addition to the initiatives that they support on campus, the group also supports the march to be held by Burnaby Residents Opposing the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Expansion (BROKE) on Saturday, April 12. They share values with the community organization centre not only in regards to the potential effects of the pipeline on climate change, but also the rights of First Nations peoples, the lack of democracy demonstrated in the building of this structure, and the impacts of potential oil spills on the water and air quality of Burnaby Mountain.

While “Fossil Fools” Day was meant as a light-hearted glimpse into the problems with non-renewable energy and climate change, the group isn’t joking around. Willows concluded, “We wanted to raise awareness about the foolishness of fossil companies. We are trying to protect our future.”