McGill and Concordia: Don’t be Fossil Fools!

McGill and Concordia: Don’t be Fossil Fools!




McGill and Concordia: Don’t be Fossil Fools!

Around 40 youth rallied at Concordia, staged mock oil spill at McGill to highlight the destructive nature of the fossil fuel industry’s actions


MONTREAL, QUEBEC – (April 1st, 2014) – On April Fools Day, dubbed “Fossil Fools Day”, around 40 students came together to take a stand against the destructive practices of fossil fuel corporations. They called for universities to take immediate action to catalyze the shift away from fossil fuels, by divesting their funds from the fossil fuel industry.


Climate change is no joke, but the industry’s plan to extract over 5 times the amount of carbon that we can afford to burn (to keep the global warming under 2°C) IS ridiculous. The collaborative action coordinated by Divest McGill and Divest Concordia aimed to draw attention to this disparity.


Justin Chisholm, a student organizer with Divest McGill, explained, “our goal was to show our schools the pure absurdity of the fossil fuel industry’s plans for rapid expansion. These plans are so at odds with a safe and livable planet that the moral, logical and scientific disconnect would be laughable if the consequences were not so devastating.”


Demonstrators gathered at Concordia’s Hall building, where they prepared banners and signs, while attracting attention from their fellow students. The cheering was loud as they travelled along Sainte Catherine Street, headed for McGill University, with chants such as “Listen up to our demands, no pipelines, no tar sands! For climate justice at our schools, no fracking, no fossil fuels!”.


At McGill University, a mock oil-spill occurred in the central y-intersection after a shady character called “Fossil Fuel Fred” built a pipeline on campus. Several students participated in a group speech that highlighted the many negative effects of fossil fuel production. The injustices perpetuated on communities on the front lines of extraction projects and climate change was particularly emphasized.


Kristen Perry of Divest McGill spoke about McGill’s failure to divest: “McGill rejected our calls to divest from fossil fuels, citing ‘insufficient evidence of social injury’… We’re here to remind you that we are all directly affected by the destruction caused by the fossil fuel industry. Again, we call on the McGill Board of Governors to listen to the community that they are supposed to serve… to stop tarring our reputation, stop tarring our planet, stop tarring our community. We call on the Board to stop investing in fossil fuels, and start investing in our future!”


During this call to action youth began a “die-in”, staging a dramatic scene with several bodies lying in the “oil spill” at the heart of the McGill campus. Many people passing by stopped to observe the proceedings, with some even showing their support by joining the die-in. The action concluded when another Divest McGill organizer, Emily Boytinck, proclaimed, “It’s time to clean up this mess! Let’s divest!” and the demonstrators returned the y-intersection to its original un-tarred state before marching off campus.


This demonstration was part of Fossil Fools Day, a national day of action coordinated by the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, with over a dozen actions taking place across Canada. A large portion of the demonstrators had just returned from the PowerShift Atlantic climate justice summit in Halifax, where over 500 youth gained knowledge, skills and networks to build resistance against fossil fuel projects that further harm already marginalized communities.

The Fossil Free movement advocates for fossil fuel divestment as a way to damage the social license of the fossil fuel industry. Over 550 divestment campaigns worldwide are calling on their institutions to use their financial and moral power to fight the illegitimate clout of the fossil fuel industry.


More information on the groups involved is available here:


Photos of the action are published online:


Regional Contact:

Amina Moustaqim-Barrette

Divest McGill Organizer / Militante Divest McGill



National Contact:

Cameron Fenton

Director of the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition