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The UK is the second-largest oil and gas producer in Europe. Planned global oil and gas production will take us far past the climate limits that are safe for our society. At the same time, clean, affordable and abundant alternatives to fossil fuels continue to race ahead. We can and must be ambitious about moving past oil and gas production, while empowering and supporting workers and communities who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.

Uplift’s mission is to support and energise the movement for a just and fossil fuel-free UK. We strategically support, connect, and elevate ideas and voices to set in motion a just transition away from fossil fuel production that is commensurate with the scale of the climate crisis. We put equity and justice at the heart of everything we do.

WHO WE ARE

Uplift has a core team with partners across the UK. We are hosted by the Social Change Nest and supported by our Steering Group.

Graham Banton

Chief Operating Officer

Graham is a long time advocate for action on climate change and has held a variety of senior operational roles within organisations focussing on this agenda. Prior to joining Uplift he was Head of Operations at Earth Security, an impact advisory firm exploring new ways to unlock investment in nature. Previously, he spent six years at the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), serving in roles including Head of Business Development, and Programme Manager for the Climate Finance Team supporting initiatives to improve the effectiveness of global climate finance funds. He holds an MA(Hons) in Development Studies from the University of Leeds and an MA(Hons) History from the University of Edinburgh.

Ashlee Barnes

Principal Researcher

Ashlee is a researcher with a background in social and climate justice. She comes to Uplift from the Office for National Statistics where she worked as a Senior Equalities Analyst. Here she developed expertise in leading analysis and filling evidence gaps, informing government policy and public debate and improving the evidence base for understanding equity and fairness in the UK. She is currently studying for an MSc in Sustainability and Ecology at the Centre for Alternative Technology, and holds a BSc in Mathematics from Swansea University.

Simran Bola

Digital Engagement Lead

Simran is an expert in digital communications with experience across a wide range of roles in the social justice sector. He has a track record of delivering highly engaging campaigns for some of the UK’s most progressive social justice and environmental organisations. After leading a major advertising operation for the 2019 General Election, Simran went on to work as the Digital Fundraising Manager at ClientEarth where he used his skills in political communications to drive people into action to save the climate.

Anna Carthy

Researcher

Anna is a climate justice researcher and campaigner. Her research has focused on climate justice and equity, climate finance, adaptation, loss and damage, and intersectional vulnerability to climate change, with particular focus on gender, race, and sexual and gender minorities. Most recently, she worked as a climate researcher in the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED). Prior to this, she worked at the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and for a number of UN agencies. She has also been involved with several grassroots campaign groups around climate, migrant and racial justice. She holds an MSc in Environmental Change and Management from the University of Oxford.

Tamasin Cave

Strategic Communications Adviser

Tamasin is a writer and campaigner with a particular focus on corporate lobbying. For a decade she worked with Spinwatch, a non-profit that investigates corporate PR and lobbying, and led the campaign for transparency regulations for lobbyists in the UK. She is co-author of A Quiet Word: Lobbying, Crony Capitalism and Broken Politics in Britain (Vintage, 2015), and has conducted investigations into the influence on public policy of companies, lobbyists, think tanks and management consultants that have featured in the UK print and broadcast media.  

Brook Dambacher

Policy Lead

Brook is a researcher, policy adviser, and climate justice campaigner. She previously acted as a researcher and legal adviser supporting the Least Developed Countries Group at the UN climate change negotiations, and on the Least Developed Countries Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative. Most recently, Brook completed a Master of Public Policy and a Master of Science in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. She also holds degrees in Law and Science from the University of Tasmania.

Gabriel Davalos

Head of Campaigns and Communications

Gabriel is a climate justice campaigner and activist with over nine years experience in public mobilisation, coalition coordination, creative content development, and digital campaign strategy. Before joining Uplift, Gabriel worked as Europe Campaign Lead for the Purpose Climate Lab, where he led campaigns in the United Kingdom, Poland, Bulgaria and France fighting for just climate solutions. He’s active in grassroots groups working towards fossil fuel divestment and organising for a Green New Deal. Prior to the Purpose Climate Lab, Gabriel co-founded an ethical coffee importing company that supported coffee growers in Ethiopia and Nicaragua. He holds an MSc in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Latin America Studies and Environmental Studies from New York University.

Holly Duhig

Communications Officer

Holly is a PR specialist and author who has spent much of her career writing books that educate the younger generation on the climate crisis and the various environmental issues that our planet faces. She worked as a PR manager in publishing before making the move to the non-profit sector. Most recently, she has worked as a volunteer for a community sponsorship programme that raises funds to settle refugee families in the North East.

Astrid Gorissen

Operations Manager

Astrid started her career in the Netherlands, where she worked in various management roles. On moving to the UK over 25 years ago, she worked firstly in education and subsequently with charitable organisations and NGOs as Operations Manager. Most recently she worked as Operations Manager for the Climate Litigation Network, a project of Urgenda. She is experienced in line-management, project management, risk management and change management. Astrid has Masters degrees in Digital Media and Business Innovation with Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management.

Oliver Goulden

Digital Content Producer

Oliver is a digital content producer and campaigner, passionate about using digital tools and creative communications to build power and create lasting change. Oliver has experience working with charities, campaign groups and political candidates on creative content production, marketing, communications, and digital strategy. Most recently, he worked at the Co-operative Party on brand and digital outputs while working as a freelance content creator with climate justice groups. He has also been active with grassroots labour and tenants unions, and is currently a Trustee of Take One Action Film Festival. Oliver holds an MA in Cultural Studies from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is based in Scotland.

Julia Hashimoto

Digital Campaign Lead, StopRosebank

Julia is an activist with extensive experience in communications, project management, content creation and large-scale mobilisations. She has been a key organiser in a number of grassroots campaigns across a range of social justice issues including feminism, anti-racism, global justice, divestment and labour movement campaigns. Most recently she worked as the Communications and Digital Engagement Officer for the COP26 Coalition.

Daniel Jones

Head of Research and Policy

Daniel is an impact-driven campaigner and researcher. Most recently he led campaigns on the finance behind the food system at the campaigning group Feedback and worked for King’s College London on an international partnership working to increase access to Higher Education for refugees. Prior to these roles, Daniel worked in Madagascar, Denmark, Mozambique, and Scotland on a diverse range of social and climate justice issues. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in the contested environmental politics of energy transitions and is the son of an oil rig worker.

Tessa Khan - Founder and Director Uplift

Tessa Khan

Founder and Executive Director

Tessa is an international climate change and human rights lawyer and campaigner. Before founding Uplift, she was co-founder and Co-Director of the Climate Litigation Network, a project of the Urgenda Foundation, which supports groundbreaking strategic climate litigation around the world. She has spent more than fifteen years supporting grassroots, regional and international movements for justice and has served as an expert advisor to UN human rights bodies and national governments, while working in Thailand, Egypt, India, the US, the Netherlands and Australia. Her writing has been published in international media outlets and academic publications, and she has been invited to speak at the United Nations and events convened by The Economist, Wall Street Journal and TED. She is also a regular commentator in national and international broadcast media. Tessa is a graduate of the University of Oxford (BCL(Dist)) and University of Western Australia (LLB(Hons)/BA). She holds several board positions and in 2019 was named by TIME magazine as one of fifteen women leading the fight against climate change. Tessa is also a recipient of a Climate Breakthrough award, the largest climate action grant for individuals.  

Lauren MacDonald

Campaigner

Lauren is a climate justice campaigner, activist and spokesperson. She has a track record of high-profile public speaking and has coordinated large-scale mobilisations and campaigns. Most notably, she confronted Shell CEO Ben van Beurden about his role in the climate crisis. She has spoken at the UN, TED Countdown, and to an array of leading media publications both at a national and international level, including the Los Angeles Times, BBC News, and Financial Times. Lauren is also an experienced community organiser, with several years of experience campaigning at a grassroots level on many issues intersecting with climate justice.

Robbie MacPherson

Senior Political Adviser

Robbie has been working to support political leadership on environmental issues for the last four year. Prior to joining Uplift, he worked as a Political Adviser at the leading environmental think-tank Green Alliance. There he supported the organisations political advocacy and was responsible for coordinating the Environment APPG – a group of over a hundred cross-party MPs and Peers committed to promoting environmental ambition within the UK Parliament. Previously Robbie led Schools and Youth Outreach at Hope for the Future and has served as a Trustee since March 2022. Robbie holds a BA in Politics and Sociology with Employment Experience from the University of Sheffield. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship in 2020.

Neo

Campaign Supervisor

Neo is an energetic and persistent advocate for fossil fuel phase-out and just transition. She is a core member of Uplift’s campaign team and has spent many months observing and commenting on the development of climate justice strategies. Neo was enrolled in (although noticeably has not yet graduated from) Hackney Hounds and is a widely-respected connoisseur of frozen carrots. She is definitely not related to the oil & gas company operating in the North Sea of the same name.     

Mia Obertelli

Digital Campaign Lead, Warm This Winter

Mia is a digital campaign specialist with over eight years of experience in content creation and digital marketing. Prior to joining Uplift, she worked at national campaigning organisation 38 Degrees, where she led on social media strategy and coordination. She is highly experienced in using digital content and tactics to engage and mobilise members of the public across a range of political and corporate campaigns, and inspiring collective action to create positive change.

Gwen Peters

Head of Politics

Gwen has spent her career to date working to create positive social and environmental change. Prior to joining Uplift, she worked as a Senior Policy Adviser at the leading environmental think-tank Green Alliance. There she worked in the politics team and coordinated Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme for MPs, engaging cross-party MPs on climate change science and policy. She also led Green Alliance’s work on trade and environment, supporting the work of the Greener UK coalition. Previously she worked at the Green Party of England and Wales, as well as with an MEP in the European Parliament in Brussels. Gwen has published work on the use of citizens’ assemblies in climate policy making, and has appeared in national media commenting on climate and trade. She holds a BSc in Environmental Science from Plymouth University.

Clare Rothwell-Hemsted

Principal Legal Adviser

Clare is a lawyer with ten years’ experience in legal research, advocacy and strategic litigation in the UK and internationally. She is passionate about using, challenging and changing the law to bring about positive change in the world. Clare has a background in social justice and human rights, and is committed to creating a more just and sustainable future. Before joining Uplift, she worked for Law Centre NI, taking the lead in a number of significant legal challenges which have had impacts across the UK and the EU. Prior to this, Clare worked in Malaysia for a leading human rights organisation, using her skills in legal research and advocacy in areas including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment in Southeast Asia. Clare holds a Masters degree in law and is a qualified barrister in Northern Ireland, England and Wales.    

Conor Rowden

Network Coordinator, Warm This winter

As a campaigner, Conor is passionate about climate justice and the power of the grassroots in achieving political change. They previously worked at the environmental think tank Green Alliance as a political adviser, supporting the organisation’s goal of promoting more ambitious UK environmental policy and leading political engagement for the Warm this Winter campaign. Before getting involved in climate campaigning, Conor worked on a UN research project exploring feminist movements and LGBTQIA+ activism. Conor holds a BA in History from the University of Oxford and an MA in United States History and Politics from University College London. They have also done outreach work and volunteering on access to higher education and tackling anti-LGBTQIA+ bullying in schools.

Suzi Shingler

Campaign Manager

Suzi is an experienced climate justice advocate and campaign manager. With a background spanning climate change, climate justice,  biodiversity, public health, food and farming systems and sustainable land use, Suzi has led and shaped impactful campaigns that address pressing global issues. She is a passionate advocate for climate justice, focusing on equitable solutions for a quick and just transition.
Suzi has previously led campaigns and projects at the Environmental Justice Foundation, the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, the Soil Association and the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

Caroline Simpson

Campaign Manager, Warm This Winter

Caroline has worked in marketing for over fifteen years, and brings experience in strategy development, line management, project management and public engagement to Uplift. She first worked on corporate tax avoidance and climate change campaigns at Christian Aid before moving to Ecojustice, where she coordinated campaigns around environmental litigation and law reform in Canada. Caroline is passionate about justice, equity and bringing about lasting change – predominately by pushing governments and corporations to take action in securing a sustainable future for the planet, and holding them to account.   

Fiona Waters

Head of Movement Building

Fiona is a climate and social justice activist and campaigner. She comes to Uplift from Friends of the Earth (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) where, as an Activism Adviser, she designed mobilising and organising strategies for campaigns from fracking to divestment to COP26. She previously worked on a range of issues from aid effectiveness to election organising to human trafficking. As an activist she’s organised with a number of grassroots climate justice networks across the UK, including planning protest camps opposing coal, fracking and the hostile environment. Fiona holds an MA in Human Rights from the School of Advanced Study, London.

STEERING GROUP
Lola Fayokun - Youth Climate Campaigner

Lola Fayokun

Lola is a young climate campaigner. She is heavily involved with the UK Student Climate Network, the grassroots network which hosts the youth climate strikes in the UK. Her role with the network has seen her involvement in the organisation and delivery of Britain’s largest climate protests in history, as well as several educational projects and collaborative actions with groups such as Greenpeace and Green New Deal UK. Her work is centred around promoting an anti-racist vision of climate justice. You can contact her on Instagram @lola.fayokun and on Twitter @femlxla.

Harpreet Kaur Paul - Human Rights Lawyer

Harpreet Kaur Paul

Harpreet is a human rights lawyer and PhD candidate at the University of Warwick’s Law School, where her research focuses on climate justice. After qualifying as a solicitor in 2010, she worked for NGOs, including Amnesty International, REDRESS, and People & Planet. More recently, she was a key contributor to Civil Society Review’s 2019 report “Can Climate Change Fuelled Loss And Damage Ever Be Fair?” and lead author of the April 2019 ActionAid report on financing options for loss and damage. You can follow her on Twitter @HarpreetKPaul.

Adam McGibbon - Writer and campaigner

Adam McGibbon

Adam is a writer and campaigner. He is currently the lead campaigner for Market Forces UK, an organization tackling British banks funding the climate crisis. He led the three-year coalition campaign that forced the British Government to end its financing of fossil fuel projects overseas, and previously worked as a campaign director electing climate-friendly politicians. His writing has been published in The Guardian, The Independent, The New Statesman and elsewhere.

Laurie van der Burg - Senior Campaigner

Laurie van der Burg

Laurie is a Senior Campaigner at Oil Change International, where she focuses on getting governments and public finance institutions to plan for and support a just and managed phase-out of oil and gas production. Before joining OCI, Laurie worked at Friends of the Earth Netherlands where she led a climate court case against Shell, filed on behalf of over 17000 people. Prior to that she worked with the Overseas Development Institute as a climate and energy researcher focusing on fossil fuel subsidy reform and energy access. Laurie got her start in climate activism as a student as a board member of Students for Sustainability Amsterdam. Laurie holds an LLM in Environmental and Climate Change Law from the University of Edinburgh and a Bsc in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Amsterdam University College. She lives between Amsterdam and Brussels.