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Newcastle University: Together for our planet

By Abbie Hutchinson
Planet Earth view from space

Newcastle University Students' Union President reflects on COP26 and the role of younger generations in climate change governance.

Newcastle University Students’ Union President Abbie Hutchinson is attending COP26, along with Welfare & Equality Officer, Briana Gordhan. She writes about what she hopes will come from the conference and what lessons can be enacted on campus.

Representing the Newcastle University community at COP26 

The Newcastle University Students’ Union is excited to be part of the COP26 Conference. I, as a President, and Briana Gordhan, our Welfare and Equality Officer, are delegates for the University at the Glasgow summit.

It is an honour to represent the unique priorities and perspectives of our students. The important role that younger generations play in climate change governance is increasingly recognised.

We must note that decisions made in Glasgow are paramount to all past, present and future students and staff. Our community will have to live in an increasingly destabilised climate. We'll need to build resilience to both the direct and indirect consequences of climate change.
It is not an understatement to say that our lives, our children's lives and the future of our home planet as we know it, will depend on these decisions. It is vital that we come together. We must demand action in the form of accountability and change, so that we can preserve and restore our astonishing planet.
It is also essential that we act on climate change with the knowledge that it is an intersectional issue. Climate change will widen social inequalities on our campus, like it already has begun to globally.
We can hope that urgency might kick in at COP26 for world leaders. However, for those living on the frontlines of climate change - the lack of global fulfilment of the promises of the Paris Agreement shows this is highly unlikely.

We need to take climate action now

We cannot wait for the extent of attribution and action that should have already been recognised. We have a duty not only as human beings, but as human beings working and studying within a social justice institution. We shouldn't underestimate the influence every member of our community can have on saving the planet.
Let's utilise our power as Newcastle University students and staff to mobilise climate action, not only during COP26, but most importantly beyond. We should feel empowered to pursue environmental justice, knowing that we can meaningfully tackle climate change in everyday life.
Bri and I look forward to keeping you updated on everything we get up to at COP26 as student delegates. We'll be attending from 5-7 November. We'll bring back what we learn from who we meet, from inspirational talks and from our personal reflections. We look forward to collaborating with the University, so we can all do better, and stand together for our planet.
Remember… as Greta Thunberg said, "No one is too small to make a difference".

Check our COP26 blog series to learn more about Newcastle University's research on climate change.  Alternatively, sign up for our research newsletter to get the latest stories from Newcastle University straight to your inbox.


Tags: One Planet, COP26, Research Excellence