Climate emergency


UCU’s environmental work at ARU is led by our three Climate Emergency reps, Felicity Clarke, Victoria Tait, and Lizzie Ludlow. Here, you can find out about the work we have been doing on our campus and in the community. If you would like to get involved in any aspect of this, or have suggestions for further actions we can take, please get in touch.

Click here to watch Felicity Clarke talk about the role of trade unions and UCU in taking action on sustainability as part of ARU’s first ever Sustainability Summit in April 2021 (skip to 52 minutes).

Declaring a Climate Emergency at ARU (2019)
ARU’s climate emergency work began in the context of the Youth Strike for Climate movement, the UK parliament’s declaration of a climate emergency on 1st May 2019, and an ARU Students’ Union petition calling for the university to declare a climate emergency. During Summer 2019, reps from ARU’s UCU branch attended a series of meetings with local activists, with the aim of galvanising support for the Global Climate Strike day on September 20th, 2019. On 21st August 2019, Matt Hayes (President of the SU), Dr John Hogan (Chair of ARU UCU), Canon Nigel Cooper, and Chris Herbert (Chair of ARU Unison) sent a joint letter to our VC asking him to declare a climate emergency and support our plans to hold a solidarity platform at ARU. You can view the full letter here.

In his weekly email to staff on 16th September 2019, the VC stated that he recognised and declared there is a climate emergency, and that through our education, research, and community engagement we have much to do to promote sustainability and accelerate the required changes in behaviour. Details of the solidarity platform held at ARU and subsequent event we participated in at the University of Cambridge on 20th September 2019 can be read about here. You can also watch clips of each of our speakers at the Solidarity event here:

ARU VC declares a climate emergency

Rahul Chavan, PhD researcher, Global Sustainability Institute, ARU

Matt Hayes, SU President (2019-20)

Canon Nigel Cooper, ARU Chaplain

John Niland, CEO Provide

James Rolfe, COO, ARU

Victoria Tait, UCU Green Rep, ARU

Sustainability in the curriculum at ARU (ongoing)
The Climate Emergency reps at ARU have prepared some accessible FAQ documents to help members get to grips with the climate and ecological emergency and sustainability, and ways that this could be incorporated into teaching. Click on the FAQ document titles below to find out more and watch the videos of speakers from ARU’s first ever Sustainability Summit (2021) talking about why these issues are so important. If you have suggestions for additional information that you would like us to include, please get in touch.

FAQ documents

What is the Climate and Ecological Emergency?

Sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals, and COP 26

What is Climate and Environmental Justice?

How are the Sustainable Development Goals connected?

Sustainability Summit videos

Fridays for Futures – listen to young activists from around the world talk about why sustainability is so important

The Road to COP 26 – High Level Champion, Steve Martineau, talks about driving ambition in the lead up to COP 26

Sustainability in the Curriculum – listen to staff from ARU talk about ways that sustainability can be incorporated into learning and teaching

Supporting a petition against former Chair of the Board of Governors, Jerome Booth (2020)
UCU at ARU supported a petition calling for the former Chair of the Board of Governors to step down from his role as trustee of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). According to the website Desmog UK, GWPF is the UK’s ‘principle climate science denial group’. On Friday, 31st July 2020, Jerome stepped down from his role as Chair of ARU’s Board of Governors, with an ARU spokesperson confirming that he had been a Governor for 9 years, the maximum amount of time that a Governor is allowed to serve. The full story can be read here. You can also watch this short video about his position, filmed as part of the Solidarity event we held in September 2019.

Sustainability Strategy (2020-26)
During 2020, UCU reps at ARU were invited to comment on the drafting of ARU’s new Sustainability Strategy. The Strategy was approved at the start of October 2020. The Sustainability Strategy can be read in full here.

Aligning the sustainability and decolonising agendas (ongoing)

This section will be updated soon.