A Green New Deal at Goldsmiths - Goldsmiths take action on the climate emergency

 

A message from Joe, SU President about 'New Green Deal' 

 

'After the IPCC report of last October, which outlines we have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, both UCU and the SU passed a motion on a Green New Deal, supported by Unison. The college community responded as a whole with a petition featuring over 1000 signatures.

 

Last Thursday I met Frances Corner, our new warden, alongside Dr Ros Gray, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and our allotment coordinator, and Dr Jason Hickel, Senior Lecturer in Anthropology and environmental columnist for The Guardian, both the UCU branch’s environmental representatives, to discuss moving forward with the GND.

 

After much discussion, the University is implementing a Green New Deal, with a promise to be completely carbon neutral by 2030.

 

The following was agreed:

  • Switching to a green energy provider (The college are currently in a three year contract with a non-green energy provider, however, a consultant is reviewing the contracts over the next month to draft up a plan on how to depart from the contract as soon as possible).
  • The colleges’ endowment fund (around £2.5m) has been moved to a CCLA Charities Ethical Investment Fund - from December it will not hold funds with companies that are involved in the production of fossil fuels. 
  • From the beginning of term, beef products will not be sold on campus at all.
  • Single-use plastics will be completely phased out, with a 10p charge on all bottled water and plastic cups in the meantime, and said money being put into a green student fund for student’s to spend on environmental initiatives and campaigns. 
  • A number of solar panels across the college’s buildings wherever possible.
  • Stopping the use of Monsanto-based pesticide Glyphosate and moving to organic, chemical-free gardening, and identifying more spaces across the land Goldsmiths owns so that it can be set aside for wildlife and natural carbon absorption.
  • A review of office printers with a longer term aim of reducing the use of energy and consumables.
  • Investment in a number of new water fountains.
  • Reviewing environmental curriculum options which investigate the subject of climate change and the role of individuals and organisations in reducing carbon emissions.
  • Setting up a cross-College working group (with SU representation) to devise and monitor progress on an action plan to deliver our aim to be carbon neutral by 2025, with a promise to be carbon neutral by 2030.

 

The latest available figures (HESA 2017/18) show Goldsmiths emits around 3.7m Kg of carbon emissions each year. It is clear our university has a huge carbon footprint. The promise to have ended this by 2030 at the latest, with the hope of doing so by 2025, is one which is needed.

 

Whilst this plan/action is only the beginning, and much work is yet to be done, it is fantastic to see Goldsmiths taking responsibility and responding to its impact on the climate.

 

In the words of Greta Thunberg: “Our house is on fire”. I believe Frances Corner and the university management are realising this and making these changes to put their part of the house fire out.

 

The SU will be a part of this process every step of the way to make sure this stays true, seeking to speed the process up wherever possible and will keep the college community updated throughout.

 

In the future, I hope we can ensure all desktop PC’s are turned off overnight, have all bins feature a recycling option and make sure all our buildings are fitted with double glazing and lots of insulation. Alas, this is a brilliant start!

 

A huge thank you to Lewis Toumazou who brought the Green New Deal to our student assembly, and Jason Hickel and Ros Gray of UCU for writing the GND and pushing for this change alongside the SU, as well as our warden Frances Corner for makign this a priorty in her first week.'