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Environment and Ethics Officer Candidate

Merry Dickinson and Mark Matthews


  • Campaign for YUSU to declare a climate emergency. Once this is YUSU policy, pressure the university to do the same. This would then mean they would pursue concrete measures to go carbon neutral by 2025.
  • Organise a campaign divesting the university from fossil fuels (inc. direct action) as part of the declaration of a climate emergency. This continues the important work already done by previous E & E officers while escalating the campaign for divestment.
  • Mobilising student participation in wider activism. Highlight the links between social and climate justice which is done by hosting talks from a range of speakers, promoting links between student groups and the wider environmental movement.

60 second Manifesto


Who We Are

We both study International Relations and have always approached climate breakdown with an understanding of the politics involved in it. This has led to us being involved in multiple environmental and social justice groups, including being the local coordinators for Extinction Rebellion York and we have organised local and regional actions with other organisations. We’ve given talks, hosted and facilitated meetings, managed admin and social media, worked tirelessly behind the scenes to get groups up and running, been involved in numerous protests and direct actions and are willing to sacrifice our time, energy and liberty for this movement. We care deeply about this and we believe that York has the potential to lead in the fight against climate breakdown, and that as students we have a vital role to play in this. We are not afraid to challenge any bodies that may try to stop us achieving our aims, and pursue the actions necessary to achieve our goals. This is literally our future that we are fighting for, and this has to be done on every level which is why we are pushing for change throughout the university and at a wider level.


  • Declare a climate emergency - Beginning by campaigning to make this YUSU policy and then using the backing of YUSU and the wider student body to pressure the university into declaring a climate emergency. Declaring a climate emergency means the university recognises the seriousness of the crisis we are in, and that they align all university policies in line with this. This includes funding climate mitigation research, a university wide education of the climate emergency and continuing the work of previous E + E officers through the promotion of veganism, sustainable consumption and reducing plastic usage in the university.

  • Commit to going carbon neutral by 2025 - This involves investing in a variety of measures such as insulation for buildings, changing consumption and energy systems, putting funding towards departments which can create these policies and working with York City Council to create enactable policies to go carbon neutral.

  • Divestment - Leading a non-violent direct action campaign to build on previous work by E + E officers and escalating the campaign to achieve divestment by the end of the year. This will involve using tactics that have been successfully employed by other universities who have secured divestment.

  • Mobilising student participation in wider activism - Highlighting the links between social and climate justice as they are undeniably interconnected. This is done by hosting talks from a range of speakers on a range of environmental and ethical topics - such as what is climate justice, ecological economics, agroecology, the human rights impacts of climate breakdown and so forth. We also want students to be empowered, by hosting or collaborating with groups to provide workshops, training and skillshares to ensure that other students have the skills and confidence to pursue their own goals and campaigns.

  • Working with other groups on campus - We recognise that there are many groups on campus fighting for social justice, which is indivisible from climate justice and we believe we should work together to create meaningful change on campus and in wider society. This also includes working within the wider environmental and social justice movement, ensuring we as students are acting in solidarity with those fighting in the same struggles as we are.

  • Pressure the university to stop hosting and promoting corporations which not only disregard the environment and ethics but actively violate them - This includes hosting careers events for companies such as Shell and HSBC who actively disregard the future of the students they are attempting to employ through their destructive actions. If the university continues to host such events we will ensure that these companies know that their actions will not go unnoticed.