Plant-Based Universities campaigners drop banners on 3 London universities highlighting climate crisis

Photo of protesters at UCL displaying a yellow banner with black text reading 'Meat & dairy = climate crisis'
  • At 11:40 this morning students from University College London, King’s College London, and London Metropolitan University dropped banners reading “Meat & Dairy = Climate Crisis” at important university buildings.
  • The students are campaigning for their universities to transition to 100% just and sustainable plant-based catering in cafes and restaurants by the 2023-24 academic year.
  • They are doing so in order to make universities recognise and act on the catastrophic climate impacts of industries like meat, dairy, and fishing.

Students from 3 prestigious universities have unfurled large banners and let off non-toxic smoke flares at key university locations in order to confront their institutions on their cafes and restaurant’s impacts on the climate. The students say they plan to remain in place for one hour before peacefully dispersing.

Sofia Carolina Fernandes Pontes, 25, student at London Metropolitan has said “It’s simple, universities have to act on the climate crisis and that begins with their menus. We know that industries like meat, fish, and dairy are driving climate collapse, deforestation, and ocean dead zones. This is all whilst we produce enough to feed ten billion people, yet have hundreds of millions starving all over the world because of our woefully immoral food systems. [1] Universities must transition to fully just and sustainable plant-based catering by the 2023-24 academic year in order to secure a livable world for the students they are educating.

The Plant-Based Universities campaign [2] which is active at 20+ universities across the UK aims to hold universities to account for their role in the climate crisis. As places where vast amounts of knowledge is produced, they are the institutions most aware of the changes that need to be made. One of those is undoubtedly a just and sustainable transition to fully plant-based cafes and restaurants.

The 3 universities today’s action focussed on all have clear sustainability goals relating to catering [3]. All of them hint at plant-based options being sustainable and desirable, so this begs the question: why not adopt fully just and sustainable plant-based options? In order to bring this issue into greater focus and attention within universities the student campaigners have taken nonviolent direct action. The campaigners are taking this action in solidarity with all those over the world participating in the global student strike [4]. 

The banners dropped at UCL’s Gower Street Main Campus, KCL’s Bush House, and London Metropolitan’s Holloway Campus Library are a clear message to these institutions from their students. The message is that students will not allow their universities to stand by and be complicit in the ongoing collapse of the climate, destruction of human and animal life, and destruction of their futures.

Dev Vyas, 19, student at UCL tells us “Universities have a duty of care to their students. By continuing to ignore their own studies about how unsustainable meat, fishing, and dairy industries are, they are burying their heads in the sand on this. We, students from a massive variety of backgrounds, experiences, and studies, refuse to stand by and watch our universities commit climate, social, and animal injustices. Today thousands of young people are striking for climate change and we fight alongside them for justice worldwide.”

Plant-Based Universities campaigners encourage any other interested students to fill out the interest form here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdI88OPSTQ76if-ip32HoDwVXEA1Ua3SOzZ1ztTd0w_5YwP7Q/viewform

Email: Universities@animalrebellion.org

Instagram: @plantbasedunis

Notes to editors

[1] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/241746569_We_Already_Grow_Enough_Food_for_10_Billion_People_and_Still_Can’t_End_Hunger

[2] The campaign is a nationwide initiative driven by groups of students, gaining international interest, that is supported by the movement Animal Rebellion. https://animalrebellion.org/campaigns/plant-based-universities/#:~:text=The%20Plant%2DBased%20Universities%20campaign,the%202023%2D24%20academic%20year. 

[3] University College London: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sustainable/positive-climate/sustainable-food King’s College London: https://www.kcl.ac.uk/aboutkings/strategy/sustainability/policies-strategies/food/food London Metropolitan University: https://www.londonmet.ac.uk/media/london-metropolitan-university/london-met-documents/professional-service-departments/estates/sustainability/Sustainable-and-Ethical-Food-2019—2020-SMART-Targets-.pdf

[4] https://fridaysforfuture.org/march25/

Plant-Based Universities campaigners drop banners on 3 London universities highlighting climate crisis
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