Climate action since the Line in the Sand
One year ago, 1,200 people gathered on West Sands Beach in St Andrews to call for climate action. The Line in the Sand received international media attention, was recognised in an Early Day Motion at Westminster, and prompted the University of St Andrews to step up to become the first University in the UK to become carbon net zero.
Since then, the University has launched several initiatives in response to the climate emergency.
An Environmental Sustainability Board has been formed. Led by Professor Sir Ian Boyd, staff and students are accelerating the work of the University to meet the climate emergency.
Training in Environment Sustainability Action (TESA), a compulsory module for all students, has been created. The module has this far equipped 12,000 students with tools to make greener choices.
Student Sustainability Representatives for the Academic Schools have been recruited. The group of students work on making environmental action University-wide. They do this by promoting sustainability in the curriculum, arranging sustainability-themed events, and acting as a communicative link between students, schools, and the University.
In partnership with St Andrews Botanic Gardens, a Green Corridors initiative has been created to ensure ecological corridors and improve biodiversity in St Andrews. The project also upskills students, staff, and locals in the importance of a functioning ecosystem.
Over 50 tonnes of clothing, electricals, book, and more have been donated to the British Heart Foundation, preventing waste to the landfill.
We have made our most energy hungry buildings energy efficient. As a part of a £4.5 investment in an energy efficiency project, we have installed LED lightning, efficient fans, smart building controls, and constructed a district heat network from the library to St Salvators. The latter is a paradigm shift to the University’s approach to heating buildings in this historic area.
UnEarth Magazine, Intersectional Conversations, and EcoConnect, are just a few of the initiatives started by the Student Association’s Environment Subcommittee since the demonstration. Together, the initiatives broaden our understanding of what sustainability is – a matter of health, justice, economy, history, collaboration, and much more.
Last Friday, 25th of September 2020, it was the anniversary of the Line in the Sand. The Student Association’s Environment Subcommittee organised a new demonstration for the climate. With consideration to Covid-19, students, staff, and locals were encouraged to put up a poster for climate action in their windows. Because climate emergency remains and climate action stays important – especially so in a pandemic.