(University College London)
Students from University College London, Imperial College London and London Metropolitan University took part in a coordinated campaign of banner drops on their campuses yesterday and today. The banners read “Plant-Based University: End The Climate Crisis”.
The students are all part of the international Plant-Based Universities campaign, which recently released an open letter calling for the transition. The letter has now been signed by nearly 1000 academics and notables, including over 90 from UCL and Imperial alone .
In the past year, the campaign has seen students at seven UK universities vote for their Students’ Unions to move towards 100% plant-based catering to tackle the climate and ecological crises .
The London banner drops follow similar actions over the last two weeks across universities across England, Wales, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland .
Student campaigners have dropped banners at universities across London this week as part of the Plant-Based Universities campaign, which calls for a just and sustainable transition to fully plant-based catering at universities. The students argue that 100% plant-based catering is a vital part of the solution to the climate and ecological crises.
Alfie Hall, UCL medical student and coordinator of the successful Plant-Based Universities campaign at UCL, said:
“The 2023 Conservative Party Conference finishes in Manchester today. One of the most important things we learnt from this conference is that Rishi Sunak and his Cabinet do not take the climate crisis seriously.
Students across the UK and the globe recognise that the climate breakdown is one of the most severe threats to us and everything we hold dear. Universities must act on the climate research that their own academics are producing, and they must lead by example to the rest of society – because we’re not going to get that leadership from our current politicians.
Having won a policy motion five months ago that commits UCL Students’ Union catering outlets to a plant-based transition, Plant-Based Universities UCL are going to ensure that the Union upholds their commitment and lobby the university as a whole to undergo the same transition. Anything short of fully plant-based catering is fundamentally not a proportionate response to the enormity of the crisis we are facing.”
Alongside the banner drops, students handed out leaflets to and spoke with hundreds of students passing by. They referred to a wide range of academic research that shows the incompatibility of animal agriculture with a safe and sustainable future for the planet and its inhabitants. A 2020 study led by an Oxford academic found that, even if fossil fuel emissions were eliminated immediately, emissions from our global food system would push us over the 1.5°C global warming target ; and a 2019 Harvard study suggested that the UK could be carbon-negative if it switched to a plant-based food system and mass rewilding, before even cutting out fossil fuels .
Plant-Based Universities, an Animal Rising campaign, is an international initiative of students who are pushing for their universities and student unions to adopt 100% plant-based catering . The group claims that universities have an obligation to follow the scientific research that they produce, detailing the environmental impacts of animal farming and fishing. The campaign is active in over 60 institutions, with the group encouraging interested students to sign up to run local campaigns.
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Notes To Editors:
 https://www.plantbaseduniversities.org/post/plant-based-universities-open-letter and https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/sep/04/hundreds-academics-call-for-meat-free-meals-british-universities
 Plant-Based Universities have seen votes passed at Students Unions in Stirling, Cambridge, Birmingham, Queen Mary University of London, London Metropolitan, University College London, and Kent https://www.plantbaseduniversities.org/blog