In order to help tackle the climate crisis, Goldsmiths University in London has banned the sale of beef products in all campus food outlets.
This is all as part of a move to become carbon neutral by 2025 – they are also attempting to reduce single-use plastics, with the hope of phasing them out entirely soon.
So, when the academic year begins later in September, beef products will not be available in the cafes and shops on campus; and an additional 10p will be added to the sale of bottled water and disposable plastic cups to discourage use of them.
In a statement, the university’s warden, Frances Corner, said that
“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words”.
Scientists behind a comprehensive analysis of the damage farming does to the planet found that avoiding meat and dairy products was the single biggest way to reduce the impact that humans have on the environment. They have found that lamb, beef and dairy production account for a large amount of greenhouse gases emitted by farms in Britain. In addition, a report by the government’s Committee on Climate Change showed that sheep and cattle were directly responsible for around 58% of agricultural emissions in the UK in 2016 alone.
Joe Leam, president of Goldsmiths’ union, said:
“Banning beef is a bold move. Phasing out plastics and going to fully renewable energy are brilliant too. The aim of being carbon neutral by 2025 is a great aim…there is always more than can be done – but I think it’s a great start and other institutions should learn from this move.”
Rosie Rogers, a climate emergency campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said:
“It’s encouraging to see an institution like Goldsmiths not simply declaring a climate emergency, but acting on it.”
There is an ever increasing number of UK universities trying to reduce their carbon footprint in light of the climate emergency declared earlier in the year.
The University of Sheffield has reduced its carbon emissions by 31% since 2005, and completely divested from fossil fuel companies in February. Likewise, the University of Cardiff has banned the sale of plastic cups at water fountains, only using cups which are recyclable or compostable.
University College Cork in Ireland has also made bold changes in order to help the environment. Last year they opened Ireland’s first plastic-free cafe which stopped more than 20,000 disposable items going to waste between September and December of 2018.