By Irina Krasteva
On Friday 29th November, a student led climate strike took place on the Penryn Campus. Two students, Ella – a Marine and Natural History Photography student – and Alex – a Geology student – spoke to the Anchor to share why they were taking part in the strike.
Usually the strikes would take place in Truro, but the students wanted to take it further by showing that they are not happy how the university is acting towards the climate crisis and changes should be done.
Generally, their demands cover the ones by the Extinction Rebellion. Alex emphasised that: “The climate emergency is not something we can just solve through technology, it is not business as usual. I think it is important to have people in campus to show that there are students who really care.”
The university declared an Environment and Climate Emergency on May 20th, 2019
According to them, the University of Exeter is not quite committed to reducing carbon emissions yet. Alex said: “They are committing to net zero carbon by 2050, which is in line with the government’s target and that’s not anywhere near fast enough.” He admits that the university efforts are going in the right direction, however “a lot of their policies are not enough when it comes to transport, food and other sustainability factors.”
Ella is worried that the university needs to work harder on tackling the climate crisis. She said: “Exeter recently revealed a White Paper but it’s still not showing the progress they’ve made.” The university declared an Environment and Climate Emergency on May 20th, 2019. As a result, earlier in November a White Paper was revealed in which is shown the strategy and the steps that the university is willing to take in tackling the climate crisis.
Ella also mentioned that even though a lot of the students are quite aware of the seriousness of the climate emergency, they are not aware enough because “the people in charge, the people we look up to (the government, the university) are not showing how it really is and how the scientists have written about it.”
“Labour have presented some strong policies”
Speaking of people in charge, when asked about the current elections and if they think that the political parties are using the climate emergency as a way to secure more votes, they made it clear that the different political parties should be considered individually. The pair believe that “the Green Party definitely understands the climate crisis. In terms of the strongest parties when it comes to climate, Labour have presented some strong policies.”
Ultimately, the biggest concern in their view is that a lot of people ignore or just simply underestimate the problem by thinking that someone else will figure out the way. Ella concluded that “often people are saying that it’s down to the youth, but it shouldn’t be because it is up to everyone.”
On 6th December 2019, Exeter University announced that it will halt investing in fossil fuels: http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/homepage/title_769995_en.html