A Green New Deal for Goldsmiths by 2020 Motion

This motion will be voted on at GUCU’s next branch meeting, Tues 19 March, 1pm.

More than 650 Goldsmiths staff and students have signed a petition calling for the university to adopt and implement a Green New Deal by 2020. This initiative was spearheaded in response to the recent UN IPCC report calling for radical and immediate emissions reductions and a rapid phase-out of the fossil fuel industry if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, as well as recent reports on soil degradation, insect population collapse, and plastic waste.

This motion is put forward for UCU to officially support the Green New Deal: https://bit.ly/2Hcz7rz

Union Notes:

  1. The university currently invests in fossil fuel companies (gas and oil). The university presently has £185,517 Invested in fossil fuels. That’s 6.4% of total
    endowment fund of £2,900,000.
  2. The university does not have a current clean energy provider.
  3. The university serves high-carbon foods in its cafeterias, such as beef, which is the highest carbon emissions per gram of protein of any food – 8 times higher than chicken and 60 times higher than beans. The IPCC report is clear that beef consumption must be rapidly curtailed in order to stay under 1.5C.
  4. The university currently sells single-use plastics on campus, including plastic bottled water, even where alternatives are readily available.
  5. There is extensive use of chemical herbicides on our campus – such as Monsanto-owned glyphosate, a carcinogen – which are not only harmful to the health of students and staff, but are also gradually depleting our soils, contributing to soil carbon emissions and destroying the habitats of birds and other animals.

Union Believes:

  1. Universities must be aligned with the radical emissions reductions called for by the UN IPCC report (2018), especially when our government fails to act. Goldsmiths should lead as a model, not only to other universities, but to other institutions across the country. Many other UK universities have already divested from fossil fuels, including Edinburgh, Durham, Glasgow, Sussex, SOAS, and dozens of others.
  2. There are many clean energy providers on the market, including some that already supply to other London universities. This is one of the single most impactful ways to reducing our emissions.
  3. We live in a world of brilliant culinary abundance – we don’t need high-carbon foods in order to enjoy healthy and delicious meals on campus.
  4. The phasing out of single-use water bottles is a discussion many universities in the UK are having and beginning to do. Goldsmiths can and should lead on this to create awareness and help change the habits of students and staff.
  5. For an inner-city campus in London, we have beautiful green areas, let us sustain these for the benefit of increasing biodiversity and protecting the health of staff and students.

Union Resolves:

To call on the SU to fully adopt and implement the Green New Deal by 2020, and call on our administration to adopt the following 5 points:

  • Divest Goldsmiths’ endowment from all fossil fuel companies, including oil and gas.
  • Switch Goldsmiths to a clean energy provider.
  • End the sale of the highest-carbon foods on campus and promote healthy lower-carbon alternatives.
  • End the sale of single-use plastics on campus, except where medically required and where suitable alternatives are not available, and phase out plastic bottled water.
  • Regenerate Goldsmiths’ land by switching to organic, chemical-free gardening. We call on the administration to identify areas of the campus that can be regenerated for carbon sequestration and wildlife habitat, including through tree-planting and the creation of meadows, woodpiles and ponds.