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Five Ideas… what action you can take on Sustainability right now

Monday 16-11-2015 - 15:27

Last week, hundreds of officers and student activists came together at the University of Bristol Students’ Union to collaborate on sustainability action for the year ahead.

As a movement, we’ve come so far on sustainability – taking it from fixing leaky urinals in students’ union buildings, to putting it at the core of our campaigns for equality and social justice. But there’ so much still to do.

Here’s five ideas for what you can do on sustainability right now.


1. Make sure your institution doesn’t miss its carbon targets

Last week, we launched new research which showed that 2/5 universities are expected to miss their own carbon targets for 2020.

At the same time, student demand for sustainability keeps getting stronger. For five years in a row, 80 per cent of HE students say they want their institution to do more on sustainability, and 60 per cent want to learn more about it. This year, we found that FE students feel even more strongly.

Student demand for sustainability is going up, but our sector’s response is getting weaker.

Send a letter to your vice chancellor or principal to arrange a meeting to talk about your institution’s performance, and how you can work together to embed sustainability into education. Let us know you’re doing it, and we can help!


2. Make sustainability political – shape our policy

Submitting motions to National Conference or one of our Liberation conferences is a great way to get other officers across the UK getting into serious discussions about sustainability, and creating real change. It puts this agenda at the heart of our politics.

Last year, we passed our first ever piece of policy on education for sustainable development, and divestment was supported the year before. And that’s why we’re taking action. Passing policy is a crucial way to drive change nationally.

The deadline for submitting motions is in January. What do you want our movement to take action on?


3. Collaborate more with other officers working on sustainability

If you’re a new sustainability officer, you might feel quite isolated, or even unsure about what you’re supposed to do with your year.

Or you might be a president or vice president, struggling to get your head around how to embed sustainability into your remit.

Thankfully there’s a huge network of other officers working on sustainability you can ask for advice, and share inspiration with. From charity shops to divestment to curriculum reform to food growing – you ask about anything on our Jisc mailing list.

Join now and get talking to a huge network of sustainability activists.


4. Prepare for Divest-Invest

As we approach COP21, we’re preparing to launch a new raft of work on divestment and renewables.

We’re currently going through the data from 600 freedom of information requests looking into our education sector’s financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. We’ll be using the findings to encourage universities to move their money away from coal, oil and gas, and invest in renewable alternatives instead.

Keep a look out over winter for more information on this campaign, and plan some time into your year to be part of one of the world’s biggest social justice movements.


5. Join us for the Climate March on 29 November!

Global leaders have to take bold action at the upcoming UN climate talks, and we need to show that there’s strong demand for it.

We need 80 per cent of fossil fuels to be left in the ground, and a transition to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2050. We’ll be marching with hundreds of thousands of other people in London, Cardiff, Edinburgh and other capital cities around the world to demand a strong agreement for the climate.

Join us in London, Cardiff or Edinburgh.


Most importantly of all, make sure you keep in touch with us about sustainability. Ask us more about how to get involved, and tell us what you’re up to.

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Features, Sustainability

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