Inverness College UHI declares a climate emergency

Inverness College UHI has today formally recognised and declared a climate emergency – a commitment to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and set timescales and targets for action.

Inverness College UHI follows other organisations, including Highland Council and the Scottish Government, in prioritising its actions to tackle this significant global challenge, which is already having environmental, ecological, social and economic implications worldwide.

Professor Chris O’Neil, principal and chief executive of Inverness College UHI, made the announcement at today’s Global Strike for Climate protest in Falcon Square, Inverness, following discussions with the Highlands and Islands’ Students Association (HISA) Inverness, which has been campaigning for action (Friday 20th September).

It is widely accepted that the primary cause of climate change is extra heat trapped in the Earth, by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and Inverness College UHI has committed to immediately setting about reducing its carbon footprint.

The plan will focus on reducing energy, waste and consumption, with the College already committed to recycling 95% of its waste by the end of 2020.

The management team at Inverness College UHI has also pledged to positively support research that enables improvements in sustainable/zero carbon practices, particularly in rural communities; advocate teaching that reflects and promotes debate and development of learning around climate change; and ensure that the financial sustainability of the organisation is not at the expense of the environment.

Professor O’Neil said: “The management of Inverness College UHI takes climate change very seriously and that’s why we’re joining with our students, our communities and other organisations in recognising and declaring that we are in a state of climate emergency and we must all play a full and responsible role to devise, support and promote behaviours and actions that benefit of our planet. This global crisis is everyone’s responsibility and we must act together. Young people are driving this global movement and I am very proud to stand here today, having listened to the views of my own students, to advocate for change and a brighter future for the next generation. This is just the start for Inverness College UHI and we will continue to review and build upon our actions to ensure we make a difference. I would urge everyone to do what they can, within their own ability and means, to support this movement.”

The University of the Highlands and Islands’ marks Green Week, 23rd to 27th September, with a series of events taking place across its campuses, including Inverness.