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Spring Referenda 2019

Should the Students' Union acknowledge the climate emergency as a concern of students? - The case For


The climate emergency is something we must take seriously and urgently. Though we have known for decades that human activity is affecting our climate negatively. Carbon intensive activities such as burning fossil fuels and industrial agriculture are causing global warming and exponentially accelerating climate change. We know that increasing global temperatures need to kept at 1.5 degrees Centigrade before the end of the century. Global Carbon Dioxide (C02) emissions, the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming, need to be cut by 45% by 2030.

Many councils are now declaring a climate emergency, with the main goal to become Carbon Neutral by 2030. Brighton & Hove city council has been one of these councils to do so recently and is a main step to tackling catastrophic climate change. Now, the council will make new rulings the ensure it commits to it’s own goal.

The university would become affected by any rulings such as how much carbon it uses through its own activities and fulfilment of services. The students’ union should realise this eventuality and create and adapt policy to satisfy the climate emergency declaration.

The point of this referendum question is to realise this declaration and acknowledge the climate emergency as a concern of students, who have been campaigning for this declaration to be put forward by the council. They also been involved in activist groups such as extinction rebellion and the youth climate strikes.

The students’ union should also consult and create policy with the students it serves. A new committee for this policy should set up and publicising actions it has taken to students, along with reasons why the students’ union is acting upon the issue of climate emergency.

Another goal of this referenda is to support students involved in climate change activism such as to give training and spaces to organise, and legal advice to those involved in various actions.

We must acknowledge the climate emergency, to show it for the emergency it is and reflect it as a major concern of Sussex students for today and tomorrow.

You can read more about the referendum and vote at www.sussexstudent.com/referenda