Is UEA’s ‘green’ status over?

by Rob Klim

The UEA campus has always been famous for its green space, environmental innovation and especially, the rabbits residing across the grounds. However, as the university’s green credentials begin to emerge as more troubling than they would appear to be, it may be that UEA are not doing enough to protect this status well enough.

We have all been prospective students here once – we were all assured of the environmental conservation policies and the amounts of money and effort put into projects such as the Biomass Centre and TEC buildings. This reassurance, however, falls short as Lewis Martin of People and Planet points out, UEA are “certainly not” keeping their word.

Martin, an activist within People and Planet – an organisation emphasising the importance of environmental sustainability and conservation – highlights the hypocrisy of the university:

“How can it claim that all the time it has £250,000 invested in fossil fuel companies, which have increasingly smaller returns, and has no money invested into greener renewable energies?”

It has also been revealed that when People and Planet sought to press the university to invest in renewable energies, the university has refused to budge. Helen Redeirmann, another activist, has emphasised further how far the university goes to avoid discussing the issue. Around six months have passed since UEA had begun to consider opening up a dialogue, and since then the investment in fossil fuels has doubled.

Martin also explains how other universities are reading much further ahead in an en masse divestment from fossil fuels companies, stating that “other universities are dropping their investments and they don’t even claim to be the “number one green university in the country”.

People and Planet’s University League – a league table ranking universities by environmental and ethical performance – has places UEA in the 48th place in the country, with a total score of 45.6%, and whilst the environmental policy is ranked at a 100%, ethical divestment and carbon reduction remain at 0%.

UEA’s investment in fossil fuels comes to nearly £300,000. All this money, could perhaps be better spent on research to help, not hinder, the environment.

To get involved, join a group of people every Wednesday in either the bar or one of the bookable rooms upstairs in Union House.

 

image courtesy of freestocks, at https://unsplash.com/@freestocks

 

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