David Eastwood: Declare a Climate Emergency!
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Dear Sir David Eastwood,
We hereby present a petition calling on the University of Birmingham to immediately declare a climate emergency. Universities are leaders in our communities, and their voice and influence is needed to tackle the climate. They have a duty to need to equip current and future students with the tools needed to make systematic change whilst addressing their own contribution to the climate crisis There is an urgent need to invest in renewable energy and not fossil fuels. The University of Birmingham is not yet sustainable and there is an urgent need to commit to achieving net-zero carbon emissions, whilst ensuring biodiversity and human rights are respected in the process.
Amnesty International has named the insufficient action of governments to act on climate as potentially the biggest inter-generational human rights violation in history. Many rights are affected by climate change, including the right to life, right to health, right to housing and rights to water and sanitation. Climate change is also likely to exacerbate inequality, including between developed and developing countries, between different ethnicities, classes and between people of different genders, as well as between generations.
Urgent action is needed to address the climate crisis, which is happening now, and already disproportionately affecting those in the global south who have contributed least to the rise in global temperatures.
We call on the University of Birmingham to declare a climate and human rights emergency, set up a staff & student working group, to produce a plan which includes:
- A commitment to neither take sponsorship from fossil fuel companies nor invest in them.
- A commitment for sustainable development and human rights to form part of the curriculum of every student across every discipline.
- A plan to phase out CO2 emitted through the institution to zero including through electricity and vehicles.
- A review of food and drink provision to assess ways it could be more sustainable.
- A review of companies invited to careers fairs, with incentives for sustainable companies, and disincentives for oil companies.
- The creation of a long-term sustainability representative within it’s governance structure.
The staff and student forum should ensure there is diversity in those who are making decisions, should create spaces for everyone to input, such as via working groups to ensure accessibility, set deadlines for accountability and remain transparent throughout
The University of Birmingham should also communicate it’s declaration of a climate and human rights emergency publicly, and to write to all councillors and MPs in the neighbourhood of the institution, urging them to produce a plan to phase out fossil fuels nationwide.
Several UK universities have already declared climate emergencies including the University of Exeter, University of Bristol, University of Glasgow, University of Plymouth, University of Keele, University of Sussex and University of Newcastle. We demand that the University of Birmingham shows similar courage and recognises its duty to help tackle the climate crisis.
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