Updated: Feb 4, 2022
I was lucky enough to attend the Student Sustainability Summit recently. It was a full two days of talks and workshops that aimed to inform and inspire students and reps to take action and try to help make their universities more sustainable.
It was a really interesting summit and in a series of blog posts I will share with you what I learned and ways in which we can all create more sustainable practices as
students and in our daily lives.
The first talk of the summit was on banking and investments. I knew our banks invested the money we pay into our accounts, as that’s how we get our interest. But I had never really put any thought into what the banks were investing in. I was alarmed to learn that some of the big banks invest a lot of money into fossil fuels and even to the weapons industry, that supply arms to places I don't think any of us would approve of.
Universities also have a huge amount of money to invest and a high percentage of them also invest in fossil fuels! 15 billion pounds is invested between the universities in the UK. Reassuringly for us, the OCA as a charity does not have investment funds, so we don't have to worry about that. And I was pleased to learn UCA have no investments in fossil fuels either. The University of the Creative Arts signed their Fossil Free declaration back in 2017. If you would like to check out which universities invest in fossil fuels, you can do that here: https://peopleandplanet.org/university/129396#fossil-free-scorecard
So what can we do as individuals?
We all have a choice as to which bank we use and who holds our pensions. Students Organising for Sustainability (SOS), suggest that changing to banks that do not invest in practices that harm our planet, would go a long way to making a change in this controversial practice of unethical investments, that these institutions are making with our money. I would love to hear your thoughts on this matter.
You may have noticed that there is a new group on the OCASA website for Environment and Sustainability. It would be great to have other students with an interest or concern in sustainability join me in this group. This space is to share any ideas related to sustainability, be it your art practices, growing your own veg and anything in between. It is also a space to discuss concerns and sustainability campaigns. I look forward to seeing some of you there!
Also be sure to join our Art Recycling Hub Group, so that we can share materials between us that are needing a new home.