UOW students drive demand for local and global climate change action

UOW students drive demand for local and global climate change action

Online petition to endorse UOW's commitment to a sustainable future

Code red for humanity. Rising sea levels, longer fire seasons, and severe droughts are placing the environment in imminent danger, and human-induced global warming is to blame.

On August 9, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their damning report on the state of the Earth’s climate, emphasising the need for urgent global and local action.

A group of 10 students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) have stepped up to the challenge.

Along with other youths from across the globe, UOW students are taking part in the United Nations 16th Conference of Youths on Climate Change (COY16).

The students conducted rigorous research, benchmarking across universities and institutions, and consultation with university students, professional and academic services staff, and local politicians.

By consolidating all this information, they have produced a statement, with 5 key commitments for the University. These have all been endorsed by the Senior Executive, including the new Vice- Chancellor, Professor Patricia M. Davidson.

These five climate commitments are: working towards carbon neutrality by 2030; supporting sustainable transport solutions including active and public transport to and from the university; improving energy management and a renewable power purchasing agreement; cultivating research excellence in the climate and sustainability space; and educating and working with the local community on climate change and sustainability. These commitments look to form the foundation for a robust climate strategy at the University, solidifying its place as a global university.

As part of the project, the students have also made extensive demands directed towards individuals, institutions, local governments, the federal government, and global decision-makers.

Noting the implications of the IPCC report, their most poignant demand was for a structured federal response to climate change through a 2050 net-zero carbon emissions target. Wollongong City Council has already made a pledge towards a 2030 net-zero emissions target and is working with the community in implementing a number of sustainability initiatives.

Benjamin Hamill, an executive of the Student Advisory Council at UOW and the Chair of the COY16 Project and Grace Mahon, a Management Cadet at UOW and the Executive officer of the project, are deeply passionate about climate action.

“This statement is a significant step forward in the University's commitment to climate action, and it is important to recognise both the dedicated students and University staff that were able to make it happen.

We look forward to seeing the commitments actioned on, and we are hopeful about the University's future,” they both said.

The student's statement will be presented as a part of COY’s statement to the UN Climate Change Conference of Parties in Glasgow on the 31st of October-12th November 2021.

The full statement is available on UOW’s Youth Climate Change website:  https://www.uow.edu.au/student/youth-climate-change-project/

The project needs 2500 signatures on an online petition to be recognised at the 16th United Nations Conference of Youths.

Link to sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/UOWCOY16ClimateStatement