Climate change is happening – and it is happening now.
At this very moment, unimaginable damage is being inflicted upon the world’s ecosystems with its effects being felt by every living creature on this planet. We can no longer delay action in tackling this crisis. We must act with urgency and integrity.
The United Nations (2019) have predicted that we have 10 years left to take immediate and urgent action on climate change to prevent irreversible damage. Others within the scientific community have stated that we have a single year before we hit a critical point.
According to former UN General Assembly President María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, we are the last generation that can prevent irreparable damage to our planet. Around the world, millions of students and young people are calling on our governments and institutions to act with sincerity and urgency in tackling the climate crisis.
While this issue will impact every living thing on this planet, its impacts will not be felt equally. As a human rights issue, Amnesty International (2020) argues that its effects will be far more pronounced for certain groups. Those that are already vulnerable, disadvantaged and subject to discrimination will face unprecedented suffering.
It would be an abject failure to the students the Guild of Students (the Guild) represents to ignore the crisis and the impact it will, and is, having on our planet. I, therefore, on behalf of the Guild, declare a state of climate and ecological emergency.
The University of Birmingham has a responsibility to commit to tackling the climate emergency and commit to working with the Guild on environmental sustainability objectives. It is imperative that our institutions use their positions and power within the sector to actively fight the suffocating onset of climate change.
This Guild of Students resolves to:
To mandate the Guild of Students (the Guild) to formally declare a state of climate and ecological emergency and commit to tackling the climate crisis as an organisation.
- The Guild is to seek student representation on the University Investments Committee and lobby for ethical investments and disinvestment from fossil fuels within its portfolio.
- The Guild is to continue to commit to embedding environmental sustainability within its strategic plan.
- The Guild is to lobby the University to increase its percentage of renewable energy in its energy mix and reduce reliance on unsustainable methods of energy production.
- The Guild is to strengthen its work towards the NUS Green Impact award and maintain our excellence rating whilst continuing to improve environmental sustainability on campus.
- The Guild is to host a climate change summit in association with environmental student groups, University representatives and students to discuss and align strategic priorities.
- The Guild is to continue to monitor and commit to reducing its energy usage.
Joshua Williams – President Guild of Students 2019-20
Josh Dooler, Sports Officer 2019-20 and Chair of the Ethical and Environmental Committee
Nickie Williams, Ethical and Environmental Officer 2019-20