Episode 3 – No More Fossil Fools: Divestment, Activism, and Free Education

On October 27, 2021, the University of Toronto announced that it would be divesting its $4 billion endowment fund from fossil fuels. While this announcement was momentous, it failed to adequately recognize the decade of student activism that had made the divestment decision a reality. Today, we are bringing you a conversation with two of those student activists. Leila Tjiang and James Slaven are organizers with Leap U of T, a grassroots group working for fossil fuel divestment and the global liberation of life and land. They join us to speak about building student-led divestment movements, working against the corporatization of universities, and bringing education back to the community.

Guest Bios:
​​James Slaven (he/him) is a blind activist who has been involved with various other justice groups, though this is the first time he’s been involved with a divestment-focused group. He will soon be graduating from U of T with a graduate degree in environmental history.

Leila Tjiang (she/her) is an organizer with Leap. In the past, she has served in the role of Victoria College’s sustainability commissioner and co-chair, among several other student government positions. She recently graduated from U of T with a double major in environmental geography and biology.

Connect with Leap U of T:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leapuoft/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/leapuoft?lang=en
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leapuoft/?hl=en

Hosted and edited by Emiko Newman and Megan Pham-Quan.
With gratitude to Hilary Inwood of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and Stephen Hurley of VoiceEd Radio for their indispensable support and encouragement.

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Author

Emiko Newman
Podcast Host

Emiko Newman (she/her) recently graduated from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto) with a Masters of Education in Social Justice Education with a focus in environmental studies. She is passionate about intersectional environmentalism, and fostering a praxis of hope within environmental education spaces.

Megan Pham-Quan
Podcast Host

Megan Pham-Quan (she/her) is currently a teacher candidate in the Masters of Arts in Child Study and Education program at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto). She came to this program from her undergraduate studies in women and gender studies and philosophy, and is interested in creating justice-oriented, liberatory spaces in primary/junior classrooms.