Climate Change Protesters Dig up Lawn at Prestigious U.K. University Over Its Ties to Fossil Fuel Companies

Climate change activists dug up a lawn at a prestigious U.K. university to protest its ties to fossil fuel companies. Extinction Rebellion, a group who have staged widely publicized protests all over the world, carried out the protest at Trinity College Cambridge on Monday.

Writing on the Facebook page for the group's Cambridge branch, Extinction Rebellion said Trinity College Cambridge has invested the most money in oil and gas companies out of the Oxford and Cambridge University colleges.

"Trinity College has invested £9.1m in oil & gas companies, the most of any of the 45 Oxbridge colleges. They own Innocence Farm in Suffolk and want to sell it to Felixstowe Port to build a lorry park for 3,000 vehicles," the group said.

"Trinity College must cut ties with fossil fuel companies and stop trying to hawk off nature for profit. Oh, and it should take the opportunity to replace the lawn with flowers. Spring is just around the corner after all."

In a response posted on the college's Facebook page, Trinity College said it "respects the right to free speech and non-violent protest but draws the line at criminal damage."

"The College respects the right to free speech & non-violent protest but draws the line at criminal damage & is liaising with the Police," the post said.

It added that academics at the college are engaged in research to "understand and develop solutions to climate change" and that the college supports the university's Cambridge Zero project, led by Dr. Emily Shuckburgh, who is described as one of the world's leading climate scientists.

In a statement to the Cambridge Independent, a spokesperson for Cambridgeshire Police said it was in contact with the college and that "a crime has been recorded for criminal damage.

The incident at Trinity College is part of a series of demonstrations in Cambridge in a bid to "force local institutions to take action on the climate emergency."

"In January, Extinction Rebellion's local youth wing, XR Youth Cambridge, issued an ultimatum to the City Council, County Council and Cambridge University, stating that XR would create major disruption if the institutions did not agree to its three demands concerning climate and social justice," the group said.

Earlier this week, Extinction Rebellion began a week-long street blockade in the city, which led to police using emergency powers to close roads, the BBC reported. Last week, a Cambridge City Council meeting had to be abandoned after a protester abseiled into the chamber from the public gallery above.

Trinity College, Cambridgeshire Police and Extinction Rebellion have been contacted for additional comment.

Trinity College Cambridge
Stock photo. Climate change activists dug up the lawn at Trinity College at Cambridge University, citing the college's ties to fossil fuel companies. Getty