Students at Aberdeen University Student Association (AUSA) last week stood steadfast with comrades in Palestine following a request from Wood Group for the student association to support their “Ecotown” environmental event on June 4th. In response to the request for AUSA’s electricity-generating bike, Dominic O’Hagan, President for Environment and Ethics replied:
AUSA will not be able to offer you the bike generator for the Wood Group ‘environmental’ event. The reason for this is that I do not believe that the Wood Group adhere to AUSA’s values.
There are two primary reasons for this:
1 – The Wood Group’s primary focus is on oil and gas and so any ‘environmental’ event it has planned would be negligible compared to their negative effect in regards to climate change. This is a process known as ‘Green Washing’ whereby large scale polluters and fossil fuel companies try and change their image though PR stunts and small scale environmental projects to try and change their negative image.
2 – I have also been made aware of the Wood Groups involvement in building power plants in Israel that supply energy to the illegal settlements in occupied Palestine. This has also meant that the Wood Group have been working with the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and Mekerot (the state water company). The IDF have consistently committed war crimes against Palestinians and against other neighbouring countries. Mekerot actively imposes an unequal distribution of water resources between the Israeli settlements and Palestinian communities. This is simply a form of apartheid.
The co-president of student society Shared Planet, Lina Nass, further stated “We are proud that in Aberdeen we are taking part in a wider student movement across the world which is pushing for divestment from those profiting from burning fossil fuels while attempting to use green-wash to enhance their public image.”
Dave Black, chair of Aberdeen branch of Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, added “it is fantastic to see students in Aberdeen taking action in solidarity with Palestinians. There is talk of a new student society in Aberdeen working to build these solidarity links, so hopefully this action will inspire more students to get involved.”
Wood Group CEO Bob Keiller, who was copied into the AUSA rejection, is yet to respond.