News Article

Student Council Policy; A Green New Deal for Trinity

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What is the Student Council?

Student Council meets once a month, to discuss all proposed policies and anything else that falls under their remit! Non-councilors can come along and attend as non-voting members.

What is policy?

Once 'Student Say' ideas have been agreed by the council they will vote to make it happen. Suggest your idea here and get it debated by council. 

What is the new policy called?

A Green New Deal for Trinity 

1. That the growing threat of the climate crisis has become ever more pressing in the space of just a few years; a. the rapidly increasing number of extreme weather events1 b. the thousands already dying and suffering in the Global South as a direct result of the climate crisis 2 3 c. as well as repeated warnings from the IPCC that we have just a decade to take radical action to avert the situation spiraling completely and comprehensively out of control.

2. That the Climate change is exacerbating floods and droughts, with estimates for those already seriously affected as high as 325 million people. This humanitarian crisis disproportionately affects those who have done least to be the most affected by climate change.

3. That over the past few months and years that the most urgent calls for radical change are coming from students and young people. It's our future and our planet that's under threat and movements like the School Strikes are clearly demonstrating that it's our generation that'll lead the fight.

4. That carbon reserves are well in excess of the amount of carbon that can be safely burned to have a chance of staying below 2C of global warming.

5. That CarbonTracker's 2013 report Unburnable Carbon which highlights the overvaluation of fossil fuel reserves and the huge financial risks of investing in fossil fuels.

6. That People & Planet have operated the Fossil Free UK campaign, calling on UK higher education institutions to divest from fossil fuels and sever their links with these companies. Over 76 UK universities now have actively divested from Fossil Fuels and pledged to never financially invest in Fossil Fuels.

7. That there is clear student demand for both Union and University to do their bit to address the climate crisis: The National Union of Students (NUS), which has been monitoring attitudes towards the environment since 2014, says 91% of students are “fairly or very concerned” about climate breakdown; 80% want their institution to be doing more on sustainable development, while 60% want to learn more about sustainability.

8. That Leeds Trinity University placed 150th out of 154 Universities in the most recent annual People and Planet League table, which assess how sustainable a University is.

9. That LTSU last year attained “Good” accreditation in NUS’s Green Impact Programme

10. That Goldsmiths University recently worked in collaboration with its Students’ Union to implement its Green New Deal strategy – with a commitment to being net carbon neutral by 2030

11. That a swathe of UK Universities have declared a climate emergency including recently; Goldsmiths, Warwick, Bristol and Plymouth.

Union Believes:

1. We cannot accept a false dichotomy which posits that we either focus on small, piecemeal, immediate changes or focus on a large scale, significant reforms – we must take both paths at the same time.

2. That we are running out of time to keep global warming below 2C above preindustrial levels the limit for ensuring a safe and stable future for the economy, the planet and all people on it, as recently outlined in the IPCC's 5th Assessment Report which states we have just 12 years to take radical action.

3. That the fossil fuel industry, by extracting, processing, promoting and facilitating the use of, selling and profiting from fossil fuels, as well as by having a major influence on government policy, is complicit in causing climate change and its catastrophic impacts.

4. That we must do everything in our power to rapidly reduce the global use of fossil fuels and expand clean energy alternatives.

5. That our university should be a role model in society, acting responsibly and helping create a safe future that is better for everyone.

6. That is unacceptable for Trinity to rank so low on the People and Planet league table.

7. That whilst it is clear the University is taking steps in the right direction, such as with the utilisation of CHP and a small amount of Solar Power, it is incumbent upon the Union to the University goes much further in addressing these issues.

8. That alongside this, LTSU must continue to make strides forward in our work to become more sustainable, building on our “Good” accreditation.

9. The Climate strikes being led by Students and Pupils are demonstrative of how passionately Young People are about addressing the crisis urgently.

10. That the urgency of the situation is such that we cannot simply accept environmental concerns acting as a secondary factor in decision making, it must be made a priority in the decision-making process, particularly with regard to long term infrastructure projects.

Union Resolves:

1. For LTSU to declare a climate emergency

2. To lobby the University to officially declare a Climate Emergency

3. To lobby the University to commit to being Carbon Neutral by 2030

4. To commit LTSU to achieving “Very Good” in Green Impact for the year 2019/2020

5. To commit LTSU to achieving “Excellent” in Green Impact for the year 2021/2022

6. For LTSU to lobby the University to sign the Fossil Free pledge – committing to never invest financially in the Fossil Fuel industry

7. To mandate Student Council to actively work with People & Planet and other external organisations involved in fossil fuel divestment and related campaigns.

8. To Lobby the University to overhaul its essentially non-existent ethical investment policy, enshrining the commitment to never invest in Fossil Fuel Companies. Alongside measures to prevent investment in industries such as the arms trade and other core elements of an ethical investment policy fit-for-purpose.

9. To lobby the University to switch to a Green Energy Supplier at the earliest possible opportunity.

10. To ensure that LTSU has a representative on the decision making body when the University signs it’s next energy supplier contract.

1. To lobby the University build the pre-requisite infrastructure for the utilisation of Grey Water as soon as possible. To ensure the installation is considered every time any building and infrastructure project is undertaken.

12. To lobby the University to expand on it’s solar energy capabilities as soon as possible. To ensure the installation is considered every time any building and infrastructure project is undertaken.

13. To ask the University to detail where it’s investments currently lie, including it’s pension funds and any endowment or investment funds. To ensure any and all of these are moved to Ethical Investment Funds. A.) If the University is not forthcoming, to submit appropriate FOI’s.

14. To phase out single-use plastics wherever possible.

15. To lobby the University to invest in water fountains in key areas of the campus.

16. To ask the University for details of which pesticides are used on campus, and if required ask them to phase out the use of Glyphosates and transition to organic, chemical-free gardening.

17. To ask the University to review environmental curriculum options which investigate the subject of climate change and the role of individuals and organisations in reducing carbon emissions.

18. To empower the University working group (with enshrined SU representation) to devise and monitor progress on an action plan to deliver our aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.

19. To lobby the university for each building’s electricity consumption to be published and publicised on a termly basis. Buildings to include, but not restricted to all on-campus accommodation blocks.

20. To work in conjunction with the University to explore reducing the amount of meat sold on campus.

21. To demand that there is representation from LTSU on whichever body is predominantly responsible for deciding which energy provider the University uses. In the event that there is an ad-hoc advisory body establish which is distinct from the body which confirms the decision, there must be LTSU representation on both. Those LTSU representatives are mandated by this motion to demand that environmental concerns be the number one priority in any decision made.

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