Our planet is burning. Approximately one species of animal becomes extinct every five minutes. We have lost 80% of the world’s forests, and with forest fires spreading in the Amazon California and Australia, biodiversity is disappearing at an increasingly rapid rate. Almost a million people died from air pollution in cities in 2019.
Future Under Climate Crisis (F.U.C.C.) is an environmental campaign run by NUSU to encourage students to adapt their behaviour to become more sustainable. Alongside this we will be campaigning to create University wide ‘green’ pledges to create positive environmental change.
Students and staff joined us in a day of action on Friday 31 January to take part in a range of sustainability workshops and discussions centred around three core behaviours that can be altered to make our lifestyles more eco-friendly: fast fashion, unsustainable diets, and recycling.
The day started with a keynote talk from Katy Smith, NU Sustainability team. Katy busted some recycling myths and gave information on the work being undertaking by NU. Katie addressed some Frequently Asked Questions about the University’s sustainability and climate policies, focussing on where waste on campus actually goes, with time for a Q&A at the end.
Andy Haddon from the Big River Bakery spoke about his experience in the Sustainable Food Industry and brought some freshly baked bread along!
Newcastle alumna Connie Hall, who has set up the sustainable fashion brand Henry and Katherina selling recycled t-shirts bearing the names of inspirational women, delivered the final talk on the contribution that our fashion choices make to climate change. Some worrying stats and definitely ‘food for thought’.
Throughout the day NUSU Societies delivered workshops and sessions including…
- To promote the reuse of clothing and discourage purchasing fast fashion items, OXFAM Society held a clothes sale throughout the day, with proceeds going to the charity. They raised over £100 for the charity alongside encouraging students to buy more sustainably.
- The Food Coop offered a FREE ethical ‘pick and mix’.
- English Society hosted a second hand book sale.
- People and Planet society hosted an interactive stall, sharing info on People & Planet and inviting people to Go Green Week.
- Eco Society showed students how to grow seeds in unused plastic bottles.
Green Pledge Launch
January 31st also saw the launch of our Green Pledge which will see Newcastle University Students’ Union commit to change across three main areas: paper, power, and plastic.
NUSU pledges the following:
- Reduce the amount of paper staff and services print by 25% End of Year 2021 / 50% End of Year 2022 / 100% End of Year 2023 in order to cut our carbon usage.
- By 2023 NUSU staff and services will become fully digital.
- Work with the University’s LED Project to fully replace all the lights in the building to LEDs and swap light switches to light sensors in every room where possible by EOY 2020.
- Complete an energy survey of the building to review power consumption in all areas (Electricity/Gas) by EOY 2021.
- Implement food waste bins throughout the building by EOY 2020.
- With the introduction of a new waste management company improve communications with all students and staff on how we can improve our recycling habits.
- Work with our 3rd party partners to reduce the amount of single-use food containers.
Here is an example of some of the green pledges submitted by students to be taken to school and hall committees.
- Don't print out class handouts.
- More water bottle facilities for reusable bottles.
- Eliminate physical sign ins.
- Less catering waste at events, and more recycling.
- Paper - stop printing everything out we all have laptops and can print it if we want it!
- To improve the recycling bin and options at student accommodations.
- Use the stairs, not the lift campaign.
- Composting on campus.
- Food waste bins. Food wastage is a huge environmental problem as so much energy is put into producing it, which is also crazy as so many people are without it.
- In accommodation some lights and heating are kept on all day even when students are away, so turning these off for even a few hours a day will make a big difference.
Have your own suggestion of how your School can become more sustainable in these 3 areas? Then submit a Pledge idea using this link.
NUSU’s F.U.C.C. campaign aims to ensure both Newcastle University and NUSU are held accountable in the future. In partnership with the University, we hope to trial a Student Climate Committee before the end of this academic year with the view to fully implement for 2020/2021. An Action 2020 group will be formed within the Newcastle University Student’s Union, working alongside the University scheme, to monitor and put in place actions towards sustainability throughout the building.