what: People & Planet is the largest student network in Britain, campaigning to alleviate world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. There are People & Planet groups at over 70% of UK universities and colleges. They are run by students and are the core of the People & Planet network. They campaign and raise awareness about the global issues that matter to them by having speakers, debates, quizzes, colourful demonstrations, boycotts, club nights and more… A full-time professional staff based in Oxford supports them. They are currently campaigning on trade justice, climate change and treatment for HIV/AIDS.
mission: the People & Planet network aims to empower its members by giving them the skills and the confidence to plan and carry out their own campaigns, so that they can change the world around them on their own terms.
activities: there are over 150 People & Planet groups in sixth forms and further education colleges. They are exploring global issues and running a Fairtrade campaign. This involves positive local action such as asking local shops and cafes to stock Fairtrade products, having exhibitions and tasting stalls, giving assemblies and persuading the staff room to “go Fairtrade”.
results: their campaigns are highly successful – they have converted over 60 universities to using renewable energy sources, persuaded the lecturer's pension fund to invest ethically and succeeded in lobbying the EU to protect higher education from liberalisation under GATT.
getting involved: in addition they have a new European project designed to produce a EU-wide coalition of student campaigners. If you'd like to get your organisation involved, or to look at what other European activists are working on, please visit www.peopleandplanet.org/esa. The site is available in English, French, German and Spanish.
quote: “[People & Planet campaigns] forced some of the most powerful corporations in the world to take notice. With the student population changing every year, People & Planet also provides much needed continuity and stability for progressive voices on university campuses, and links students to broader, cross generational movements for social and economic justice.” [Naomi Klein, journalist and author of No Logo, 2000]