Strikers of all ages turn out to protest against climate change in Bangor

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Bangor’s second Youth Climate Strike took place on Friday 24th of May, 2019. Mark Barrow, VP for Education at Undeb Bangor, Bangor Students’ Union has been busy working with students, staff and members of the community to organise the second strike after the success of the first strike on 12th of April, 2019.

Students from across the UK have been striking once again to protest lack of government action to combat the climate crisis. The strike in Bangor was just a fraction of the ruckus across the UK today, with marches happening across the nation from Aberdeen to Taunton.

The UK Student Climate Network supports the youth strikes across the UK, here’s what they have to say about the strikes ‘We are choosing to rise up and take direct action where older generations have failed. We are already facing devastating and irreversible impacts around the world. This is our final chance to fight for our futures, and our ages will not be what stop us. On Friday 15th of February, more than 10’000 students across the UK went on strike to protest lack of government action to combat our climate crisis, and 50’000 participated on the 15th of March. Now we’re doing it again: join us on the 24 May to amplify our voices once again’

The Bangor march covered a mile through Bangor, starting at Main Arts Building on College Road and finishing at Bangor’s War Memorial in lower Bangor where the participants had their opportunity to voice their views on the climate crisis. Local MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams and Rhun ap Iorwerth, the Assembly Member for Anglesey joined the strikers and gave a speech about their vision for their constituents. Pro Vice Chancellor of the University, Jerry Hunter also took part in the march and talked to the crowds about the amazing work the University already does, having been ranked 8th most sustainable university in the world in the Universitas Indonesia League Table, which highlights sustainability and environmental management at universities around the globe. Regardless of this success Jerry Hunter was passionate about how the University can always do more.

Letter were delivered to the University and to Anglesey Council from the organisers asking them to declare a climate crisis.

Mark Barrow, one of the organisers said ‘I want to say a massive thank you for everyone who attended today. It was great to see so many young people at the Climate Strike today – these are the people who initiated these marches, across the world, and so it’s fantastic to see them represented here in Bangor. I was especially impressed with all the people who spoke at the end of the march. They were all impressive and effective!’

Undeb Bangor are keen to continue working with Bangor students and the local community on the Youth Climate Strike and the next strike will be held in the new semester when students return and a new cohort of passionate students will join the march!

 

You can see all the photos from the strike on our Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/bangorstudentsunion

Letter presented to the council and the University can be seen below:

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Friday 24th May 2019

 

To: Cyngor Sir Ynys Môn / Anglesey County Council

 

 

Dear Councillor Huws,

 

We are writing to ask Anglesey County Council to declare a Climate Emergency. This Climate Strike march today shows that the local community want to see faster, greater, and more effective action to address climate change by all those in a position to take that action. In particular, the children and young people taking part in this march want to ensure that they, and their own children and grandchildren, have a stable climate in the future; something which all previous generations had, but which is now at serious risk.

According to last October’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 1.5°C report, we have less than 12 years to deliver the major actions required to limit warming of our planet to a maximum of 1.5°C. This requires unprecedented and immediate action from national, regional and local authorities, civil society, the private sector and local communities. Currently the world is not on track to limit warming to 1.5°C. The science is very clear – unless we take immediate action there is a very real possibility of temperatures escalating beyond our control.

Gwynedd Council and Bangor City Council are amongst many local authorities which have already declared a Climate Emergency. Anglesey County Council also needs to play its part in preventing dangerous and irreversible climate change. We therefore call on the Council to recognise that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option and to declare a Climate Emergency. In addition to declaring a Climate Emergency, we ask the Council to:

  • Ensure the highest level of support within the Council to drive implementation of carbon reduction actions, both across the authority and Anglesey;
  • Approve ambitious carbon reduction targets based on the latest scientific evidence and guidance, including setting a target date for achieving carbon neutrality;
  • Reduce consumption of energy and water and production of waste across the authority’s own estate, including increasing the percentage of renewable energy;

The IPCC 1.5°C report highlighted that the action we need to take to mitigate and adapt to climate change will ultimately result in more jobs, economic stability, benefits to human health and improved quality of life for all.  We hope that Anglesey Council is committed to supporting the transition to zero carbon and a sustainable future for the people of Anglesey.

Yours sincerely,

The children, young people, students and members of the local community taking part in Bangor Climate Strike

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Bangor Climate Strike

Friday 24th May 2019

 

Dear Vice Chancellor and University Executive,

The climate crisis we are in now is difficult for many of us to fully comprehend, both in its global extent, and in the timescale over which it will be played. However, the science is now crystal clear and the reality of the crisis is becoming clearer as each month passes. This Bangor climate strike, which is part of the youth-led climate strike movement initiated by Greta Thunberg, is testament to the groundswell of feeling that far more urgent action should have been taken, and now needs to be taken, if we are to rapidly reduce our carbon emissions and maintain a stable climate, for current and future generations.

As an institution, Bangor University is currently ranked 8th in the World by the UI Green Metric and is committed to being a Sustainable University – but this is not possible without addressing the climate and ecological crisis we are facing. In recent months the UK, Scottish & Welsh Governments, the EAUC and a growing number of Universities and Colleges across the UK have declared a Climate Emergency. Following these examples, we ask for Bangor University to also declare a Climate Emergency and to intensify efforts to reduce its contribution to the carbon emissions generating the climate breakdown.

Declaring a Climate Emergency - particularly from a university where climate change and biodiversity loss is studied and fully understood - sends a clear message to politicians, policy makers, the fossil fuel industry and investors that we must make urgent and significant shifts away from fossil fuels and invest in zero carbon systems. There are also moral 'climate justice' issues related to the fact that the rich developed nations have generated - and continue to generate - the majority of carbon emissions, whilst those in the poorest developing nations who are least responsible for the climate crisis will suffer the worst effects of it. Any responsible organisation with full knowledge of this issue has to re-assess what the implications are of their ‘business as usual’ carbon-intensive lifestyle on others.

In order to translate these words into meaningful actions, and capitalise on the good work the University has already done, we ask the University to implement the following actions:

  • Approve much more ambitious carbon reduction targets based on the latest scientific evidence and guidance, including setting a target date for becoming carbon neutral/net zero;
  • Approve and implement a new Carbon Management Strategy & Action Plan, with resources to implement it, including an assessment of the carbon footprint of all travel on university-related activity;
  • Ensure the highest level support to drive implementation of carbon reduction across the institution;
  • Ensure sustainability, including carbon emissions and the circular economy, is a key factor in all high level decision making and in all procurement exercises;
  • Ensure sustainable development (including the Welsh Wellbeing Goals and UN Sustainable Development Goals) is embedded in all courses, in line with student expectations as highlighted by the 2018 NUS Student Survey;
  • Reduce overall consumption of energy and water and production of waste across the institution, and commit to using only  renewable electricity for the remaining consumption needs and increase on-site renewable generation capacity;
  • Improve energy performance of our buildings and ensure no new building or renovation projects is be approved without a full assessment of life-time carbon emissions;
  • Conduct a full assessment of how campus operations need to adapt to reduce emissions;
  • Report regularly, and publically, on progress on all of the above

 

Making the rapid shift of our societies away from a carbon-based lifestyle to a new carbon neutral world is extremely challenging but also extremely urgent. Universities, partly because of their role in hosting the scientists involved in climate science and conservation, have a special role as leaders of their local and global communities to both inform others and enable the necessary collective action to take place.

We look forward to your response to this letter, and would welcome a meeting to discuss these issues with you.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Members of the organising committee of the youth-led Bangor Climate Strike

Meg Baker, Mark Barrow, Clare Brewster, Owen Hercum, Olga Lablache, Bradley Reed, and Virginie Rouillard – Bangor University

Neve  and Non, Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen

Bella, Alice, and Evie  Ysgol David Hughes

 

…and all participants of the Bangor Climate Strike march on May 24th 2019

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