In advance of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Summit on September 23, national and international networks representing more than 7,000 higher and further education institutions from 6 continents announced that they were declaring a Climate Emergency, and agreed to undertake a three-point plan to address the crisis through their work with students.
The three-point plan includes:
1. Committing to going carbon neutral by 2030 or 2050 at the very latest;
2. Mobilizing more resources for action-oriented climate change research and skills creation;
3. Increasing the delivery of environmental and sustainability education across curricula, campus and community outreach programmes.
The letter, organised by the EAUC, the US-based higher education climate action organization – Second Nature, and UN Environment’s Youth and Education Alliance, marks the first time FHEIs have come together to make a collective commitment to address the climate emergency. It aims to get support from as many networks and institutions as possible order to showcase the commitments towards the attainment of SDG 4 (Education) and 13 (Climate Change).
Following closely on the heels of Canterbury City Council’s unanimous declaration of a Climate Change Emergency, the Vice Chancellor (Prof Rama Thirunamachandran) and The Students’ Union President (Phil Kloppenborg) jointly signed this letter to add their support, which will be shared with key government officials and the media in advance of this event. The wording of the letter and the organisations and individuals that have signed it is here.
Whilst climate change is not the only threat to life on earth, it’s consequences will be catastrophic. Our response to this is critical, both morally and reputationally. As a globally connected organisation we need to be leading in this area within our local and regional communities and ensure that our graduates leave us with ‘an understanding of the challenges facing society and our world, and have the skills, commitments and personal qualities needed to help address them’ (CCCU Statement of Purpose). During the coming year we will be gaining a clear understanding of what ‘Climate neutrality’ means to Christ Church, how it can be achieved, and in what timescale.
by Peter Rands, Director of Sustainability