Australia, 26 April: Legendary ice cream makers Ben & Jerry’s and climate activism group 350.org Australia, have today launched a campaign to freeze fossil fuels by encouraging Australians to lobby their local Councils to divest from coal, oil and gas.
The online campaign – ‘Freeze Fossil Fuels’ – lets people find out their local councils’ fossil fuel investment status and petition it to divest. It aims to inspire people to unite and lead their local government authority to build a fossil-free community.
35 Australian Councils have already committed to divesting from fossil fuels and Ben & Jerry’s and 350.org Australia aim to increase this number. Internationally, New York and San Francisco have been the biggest cities to divest and are also suing the fossil fuel industry for the costs of climate impacts on their cities.
From Friday 27 April, 350.org Australia will commence the Accelerate tour across Australia, led by 350.org co-founder and leading environmental activist, Bill McKibben, giving Australians the opportunity to learn more about why fossil fuel divestment will make such an impact on tackling climate change and how to take direct action.
The five-city tour will visit Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide until 4 May. To show its commitment to the movement, Ben & Jerry’s will also give away free ice cream from its ‘Scoop Truck’ outside tour events in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne, encouraging Australian ice cream lovers to support the campaign by decorating a giant #freezefossilfuels mural and signing the petition.
As part of the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s has revealed how fossil fuel divestment will help to sustain the production of Ben & Jerry’s famous ice cream in the longer-term. The company has warned many of its popular flavours remain ‘endangered’ as a result of the effects of climate change and could be consigned to Ben & Jerry’s unfortunate ‘Flavour Graveyard’ as soon as 2020.
With nut trees needing sufficient cold temperatures to grow, flavours including Chunky Monkey and Coconut Seven Layer Bar could face extinction while Brownie Batter and Phish Food could be in short supply in just two years with cocoa production at risk of falling by up to 50% during this time due to increasingly stark environmental conditions.
Bert Naber, Ben & Jerry’s Australia spokesperson said: “Ben & Jerry’s has a long history of championing climate justice and now we are urging local Councils across Australia to join us on our mission. For those Councils yet to divest, we encourage them to get behind our campaign and we ask the Australian community to help us do that by signing the petition. There’s a lot at stake – not least our ice cream – and it’s time for us to act.”
Glen Klatovsky, 350.org Australia deputy CEO, added: “When communities unite, they can bring about huge changes. The ‘Accelerate’ tour is about inspiring people to join forces and use their combined pressure to speed up action to support the move away from fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. We need to act quickly to protect the climate from irreparable damage, and targeting the fossil fuel industry through divestment is one of the most powerful ways of ensuring that happens.”
Bill McKibben “Accelerate” Public Talks/Roadshow
- April 27 – Newcastle – Newcastle Town Hall
- May 1 – Sydney – Sydney Town Hall (Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck will be present)
- May 2 – Canberra – QT Hotel (Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck will be present)
- May 3 – Melbourne – Collingwood Town Hall (Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Truck will be present)
- May 4 – Adelaide – Elder Hall, University of Adelaide