Last year, 11,000 scientists declared that “clearly and unequivocally planet Earth is facing a climate emergency.” No more than this needs to be said. If you can ignore a warning as direct and absolute as this, you are, I’m afraid, in a serious state of denial. The world is in crisis, we do not need more evidence: we need a call to action.
Our Parliament has set an ambition to become carbon neutral by 2050. There are considerable arguments that this target is not good enough (according to the UN’s IPCC Special Report of 2018 for instance, even meeting this target globally would only give us a 50% chance of avoiding “catastrophic impacts”) however, leaving this aside, what is certain is that we cannot afford to miss the 2050 target.
But what does becoming carbon neutral actually mean? Are we now to leave our government to sort this out, while we continue on with our lives as normal? It seems the reality of the extraordinary task ahead has not been communicated properly to the public.
We, as a species, did not consider we would have to deal with a climate emergency when we built modern industrial civilisation and we’re now drastically underprepared to deal with it.
Every single sector of society is in need of systematic transformation. The only way we have a chance of achieving this is with a scale of mobilisation that surmounts even the Second World War.
This means once again everyone must play their part. The role of universities in this process will be significant. We have a moral duty to ensure not only that we’re perfectly sustainable as an institution, but that we're doing everything we can to assist in the global transition towards a sustainable world.
With Royal Holloway currently developing their new College strategy for the next decade, there is now an opportunity to begin our transformation.
Building upon the Student Union’s declaration of a climate emergency last year, the first Student/Staff Assembly on Climate and Environment this month will aim to bring as many people as possible together to open a discussion about how we can influence the new strategy and implement successful change.
From all of the small things we need to improve, such as banning plastic cups, to the bigger ambitions, such as reforming education to incorporate environmentalism, none of this will happen without the maximum input and collective action from members of Royal Holloway, so join us!
To find out more about this, check out the event below.
Check out the event
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The Students’ Union, Royal Holloway
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