A message from the Environment Officer
This year more than ever challenges us to re-think, re-green and re-build our societies and communities. Covid-19 cannot make us abandon our climate goals and focus but rather it should challenge us to think even deeper about the challenges we face, the effect of broken ecosystems and nature exploitation.
The challenge is not to go “back to normal” but to re-think and re-structure. We find ourselves in a historic time and opportunity to bring about change and to lead a green revolution.
As a Subcommittee of the Students Association we are different to a society. Our mandate is to address environmental topics within the Union and wider University. The Environment Officer is elected on a yearly basis through the student elections and the committee is recruited by the new Environment Officer and both the current Student Association President and President Elect in a recruitment process that involves an application, shortlisting and interview. This year we are a team of 15 students, including the Association President and together we tackle environmental challenges, topics, and are voice for sustainability in St Andrews.
We aim to address a wide range of topics ranging from economics, politics, technology, land practices, food, education and art to community, inclusivity, intersectionality, and humanity. Furthermore, to facilitate inter-society collaboration we are launching the Eco-Connect site to help broaden the reach and impact of environmental initiatives and events in St Andrews through encouraging collaboration. Additionally, we are committed to exploring more intersectional environmental topics recognising that climate justice can only be achieved through addressing social justice as well. Together we want to visualise what a sustainable St Andrews might look like and set the foundations to work towards that goal. Through speakers, events, awareness campaigns and community action and collaboration we aim to make this a year unlike any other for environmentalism in St Andrews. The Environmental Subcommittee’s annual Green Week will be in Week 8 of Semester 1 and we are aiming for Green Week to launch into a University-wide initiative including the School Sustainability Representatives of the different University departments as well as the many St Andrews Societies.
Although most of our events are likely to be online this year it is also an opportunity for online interviews and discussions with prominent environmental guests from around the world. During Freshers, for example, we hosted our first online interview event with Dr Asha de Vos, a St Andrews alumni and conservationist from Sri Lanka, on the topic of Decolonising Conservation which was a deeply inspiring discussion and we look forward to hosting more events like that one.
Furthermore, we are excited about the creation of the University’s Environmental Sustainability Board (ESB) and look forward to supporting and working together with the ESB to help lay the foundations of a sustainable St Andrews.
Beyond our local efforts to improve and address sustainability lies the greater challenge of global climate change, justice, and the need for action. That is why we see it of utmost importance to add our voices to the global call for climate action. On the 25th of September is another global climate action day and while we cannot hold an in-person event we still want to add our voices to the global movement and call on leaders and politics to take Climate Change seriously and most importantly to take action.
Thus, we are planning on doing a St Andrews wide campaign of encouraging students, staff and St Andrews citizens to hang climate posters in windows, participate in a creative climate poster competition and join our online speaker event. Follow us on our social media on Facebook and on Instagram @standrewsenvironment to find out more and get involved.
It is time to unite our voice for climate justice and stand together as a community.
As our event theme of the year states the challenge of our generation is “restoring our world by rising together”. After all we all share this one planet and we need to stand together in the race against the Climate Crisis to build a future worth living for.
Join us for the journey!