‘The naked truth’: Extinction Rebellion activists strip off on King’s College lawn

They ‘exposed themselves to expose the truth’

In their latest action campaigning for the University of Cambridge’s divestment, Extinction Rebellion (XR) Cambridge activists have stripped off on King’s College lawn. At least, perhaps, we can be grateful that they’re not stripping the lawn itself.

Participants in the action removed their clothes to reveal messages on their bodies, and then participated in a “die-in”, in which the naked activists lay on the King’s College lawn and were then covered in white sheets, “illustrating the deadly consequences of continued inaction on the University’s part.”

They “exposed themselves to expose the truth”

The group have previously conducted such “die-ins” in the Grand Arcade shopping centre on Boxing Day last year, lying down in the shopping centre to highlight the adverse effects of consumerism on the environment.

This time, Extinction Rebellion are campaigning for the divestment of the University and its Colleges in their “No More Excuses” campaign; thus far, their actions – after the University did not announce plans to divest before the 31st July deadline – have included spray-painting messages on the West Cambridge BP Institute, Sidgwick and Mill Lane Sites, and playing a game of croquet on the lawn outside Senate House. As well as this action at King’s, Extinction Rebellion today also dropped a banner – and locked the balcony doors – at Trinity College boathouse. Trinity are one of the remaining Colleges to not announce divestment plans, and as of the 12th  August, nine Colleges are partially divested, Caius and King’s are partially divested but with no commitment to remain so, and only Clare Hall and Queens’ are fully divested.

The most action that King’s Lawn has seen for months

In a statement, XR Cambridge activist Jess said: “I was terrified to take my clothes off in public, but I am more terrified of what’s already happening to our earth. Entire ecosystems are breaking down, thousands of species are going extinct, and the glaciers are melting.

“The worst start to the Amazon wildfire season ever has just been seen, and yet the University of Cambridge are investing in the companies causing the huge environmental damage that makes these events possible! We call on the University of Cambridge to stop funding such destruction and cut all ties with the fossil fuel industry now.”

The XR activists who participated in the action all observed social distancing measures and wore masks, reiterating that “the climate and biodiversity crisis continues even while the coronavirus crisis takes up most of our thought, and that the two are interdependent”.

Image credits: Extinction Rebellion Cambridge