Sustainability and combating the climate crisis is on top of the agenda of our student community, and it's an issue close to my heart. Since I started working for the SU as Activities Officer last year, we've achieved so much at our institution. Primarily, we lobbied the University to radically address the climate emergency, and to declare one. The fact that this has FULLY HAPPENED and that we were closely involved in the creation and progress of the University's Climate Action Framework is a testament to how powerful the student voice can be.
Within the SU, even before Coronavirus, we have started incorporating sustainability in all we do and set out plans to reduce our carbon footprint. Achieving the NUS Green Impact award in July was an amazing recognition to the work our community has been going to tackle the greatest emergency our generation is facing.
BUT THERE IS SO MUCH MORE TO DO
This year, one of our priority campaigns asks the University to look at its investment portfolio and divest from holdings in companies that invest in the fossil fuel industry. This, as you can imagine, is going to be a tricky one, and we're getting resistance from the University. Ultimately, we do live in a carbon-intensive economy, meaning that a significant portion of investments is going to be linked, to different degrees, to the fossil fuel industry. However, using this is NOT an excuse and it doesn't mean the issue can be taken off the agenda. There are industries, particularly some financial institution (ehm ehm Barclays) which pump BILLIONS of pounds into financing and investing in environmentally catastrophic activities such as fracking, deepwater and ultra-deepwater drilling. People have been campaigning for years for these companies to stop funding the fossil fuel industry. What we got back was some minor and greenwashed policy changes that does not move the status quo in any possible way. Other universities, such as Cambridge, have committeed to decarbonise its investment portfolio. We're not asking for this change to happen overnight. But if we want to meet our own carbon targets, we must start acting NOW.
I will also be working to support some amazing student initiatives throughout next year, including plastic packaging of food products, adopting Ecosia as a software, and meat-free Mondays.
Although travel has massively reduced with Covid, it doesn't mean that transport is off the agenda! I have supported the creation of a University Sustainable Transport group, where we will be discussing how we can decarbonise travel as much as possible.
If you're passionate about the environment, want to know more, or want to get involved, join us! Drop me an email at email@example.com or message me on our beloved MS Teams x
Stay safe and stay awesome y'all x