Climate change and the fossil fuel divestment movement in Canadian higher education: The mobilities of actions, actors, and tactics
Situated within the broader climate justice movement, the fossil fuel divestment movement calls for both public and private divestment of financial holdings from fossil fuel companies. This paper examines the extent of fossil fuel divestment campaigns at higher education institutions across Canada, examining key actions and tactics through which campaigns are initiated and mobilized, as led by students, faculty, alumni, and climate justice organizations. Findings indicate that out of 220 accredited Canadian universities and colleges, there are 38 active divestment campaigns and 6 institutions that have committed to varying degrees of divestment. Tactics used in these campaigns include signing of petitions, sit-ins, rallies, and protests, facilitated through face-to-face and online platforms. Findings revealed significant borrowing of actions and tactics among campaign actors, including the use of branding and messaging from international environmental organizations, such as 350.org. This research contributes to scholarly knowledge on how higher education divestment movements and related campaigns for institutional change can influence how sustainability and climate change are addressed. Actors can build on this knowledge to develop sustained collaborative systems to address current and future challenges across institutions and in society at large.