Student Memories: Dan Glass

<strong>Dan Glass</strong> recalls his involvement in student activism whilst at Uni

Feature by Dan Glass | 29 Sep 2009
  • Dan Glass (Plane Stupid)

Across the world today, as climate change, oppression and war seem almost impossible to resist, students are fighting back. My favourite memory at university involved learning how to a) challenge the big problems in the world and b) have fun whilst doing it.

The senior management often stood on their soap box about how they were going to be the 'greenest' university in this great land by introducing recycling and organic food schemes. At first students applauded, but as we read into the realities of climate change we realised they were missing the point. The management can recycle as many plastic bags as they like, but as soon as they fly to a conference within the UK when they could easily invest in train travel, all their efforts are blown into the dark. As the top scientists state, aviation is the fastest growing cause of global CO2 emissions. Flying is sometimes necessary but not when there are affordable alternatives, and as a student I quickly learned to read between the lines of 'management' speak.

The students spent a lot of time politely asking the management to introduce an environmentally friendly travel policy but they weren't giving up their habits easily. Scientists came to give lectures, doctors shared their wisdom, and young children stated their fears of climate change in public events but the management wouldn't stop flying. We knew that we had to speak in the only language the management understood: money. So when it came to the new student open days, when the management were blowing their green trumpet at the receptions to the new parents, we took out our paper and remote-control aeroplanes and our banners out of our bags and into the reception rooms. The rest, you could say, is history. Through students taking action together, we witnessed results and within six months a university-wide flight reduction policy was in place.

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