The following motion was passed unanimously at GUCU branch meeting, 19 March, 2019.
The Union Notes:
- 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.
- The university does not have a current clean energy provider.
- 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.
- The university currently sells single-use plastics on campus, including plastic bottled water, even where alternatives are readily available.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
To call on SMT 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. Take steps to reduce food waste and ensure that all food waste is composted.
- 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. Install additional water fountains across campus and ensure that free drinking water is readily available to students and staff.
- 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. Recognise this issue has an impact on wellbeing.
- Follow the example of Bristol University by committing to become a zero emission, carbon neutral institution by 2030.
Proposed by Jason Hickel, Seconded Ros Gray.