Cam students to get green

Catherine Watts 1 November 2007

Students demanded that Cambridge University takes a tougher stance on climate change at the launch event of CUSU’S “Go Greener!” campaign on Monday night.

The event featured high-profile speakers from such organisations as Friends of the Earth and Campaign Against Climate Change. They joined students, staff and fellows to focus on what action the university must take in order to play a leading global role in confronting crucial green issues.

The campaign aims to make the most of Cambridge’s internationally-renowned profile by turning it into a model of low-carbon development and environmental responsibility. It also calls for an increased academic contribution to sustainability.

Even though Cambridge University is already committed to a 10% reduction in emissions within the next few years, CUSU’s Ethical Affairs officers, Christine Berry and Dan Chandler, have judged that the university’s current efforts are inadequate to the immediacy and size of the issue. The campaign has also called for a massive 30% emissions cut by 2020, to bring the university into line with key government strategy.

The CUSU officers stress the need for the University and Colleges to make formal commitments at the top level, and suggest that action must be taken in such diverse areas as estates management and teaching and research.

One of the campaign’s proposals calls on the university to commit to cutting down the environmental impact of university-related air travel, and colleges are asked to individually sign the Cambridge Climate Change Charter. It also suggests that the University should bring faculties and colleges together in a steering group, in order to coordinate environmental strategies and share key resources.

Dan Chandler said: “As Cambridge University approaches its 800th anniversary it has an opportunity to celebrate its remarkable history and to make itself relevant to the most pressing issue of the twenty-first century.”

Catherine Watts