Two years of petitions, meetings, letters and lobbying from our Campaigns Forum have finally paid off: the University of Reading is now using 100 percent green electricity. We - a core group of about 15 students - identified the people in the university who had the power to make the switch, and over a long period we lobbied them in various ways.

We began with a petition, collecting more than 1,000 signatures in stalls, in halls and by staging events around the campus.   Over the next six months, we met the department's staff regularly to convince them of our case.

After extensive consultation, Reading adopted a new energy policy. This ensured that green electricity, as long as it was financially viable, would be given first preference whenever the university's energy contract came up for renewal.

Then, the university staff did their research and moved their energy contracts to 100 percent renewable sources with Scottish and Southern Energy, without any increase in cost. And thanks to our energy policy, when they renew the contract in two years' time, they will most likely stay green.

Our victory is a clear example of how students working together can make significant changes for the better. However, not content with this, we are now pressing the university on recycling and energy efficiency. We also want it to employ full-time environmental management personnel to make the whole university more environmentally friendly.

In the future, we hope the rest of the higher education sector will follow our lead. All universities should obtain quotations for the supply of green electricity and make a public commitment to switch to a green supply as soon as possible.

There is no reason to wait for a top-down solution from the Government. The time to act is now, and with green electricity becoming more and more widely available, institutions, businesses and individuals alike can easily make the switch today.


Photo:  Edward (far right), and fellow students, Ali and Tom, meet with the Vice Chancellor and the Director of Facilities Management to discuss the Campaigns Forum Green Electricity campaign.

The latest updates

 

Glacier debris surrounds our ship

Image | July 19, 2005 at 19:00

Glacier debris surrounds our ship, the Arctic Sunrise in Kangerdlussuaq fjord.

A glaciologist from the University of Maine

Image | July 18, 2005 at 19:00

A glaciologist from the University of Maine sets up monitoring equipment on the Kangerdlussuaq Glacier in Greenland to measure the rate at which the glacier is moving.

It's Time to Bury the Fossil Fuel Dinosaur

Feature story | July 11, 2005 at 18:00

We all know by now that fossil fuels are causing global warming, and that it’s time to make the switch to renewable energy and find a way out of our oil addiction. But someone forgot to share the news with ExxonMobil. When it comes to dinosaur...

Exxon is a fossil fuel dinosaur: It's time

Image | July 11, 2005 at 17:17

Exxon is a fossil fuel dinosaur: It's time to embrace clean energy technology like wind and solar.

Warmer air coming off the ocean is cooled

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:45

Warmer air coming off the ocean is cooled by the ice of the glacier, turning it into fog.

This appears to be melt water collected in

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:42

This appears to be melt water collected in a steep crevasse. Sometimes, in this way water can reach the bottom of the glacier. Bringing (relative) warmth and lubricating the glacier's flow downhill.

This stunning blue water is less reflective

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:40

This stunning blue water is less reflective, and absorbs more heat than the ice around it. Of course, dirt or dark particulate pollution can also affect the albedo (reflective properties) of ice. In fact, a layer of soot invisible to the...

These seracs (the pinnacles in this photo)

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:39

These seracs (the pinnacles in this photo) are formed when part of the glacier collapses into one of its crevasses, then the crevasse closes, pushing the ice back up above the glacier surface.

Vestfjord (West Fjord) glacier

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:36

Vestfjord (West Fjord) glacier, near the terminus (bottom).

This is likely an iceberg that has flipped

Image | July 11, 2005 at 11:35

This is likely an iceberg that has flipped over since coming off the glacier. The smooth, regular furrows look suspiciously like they were formed by the ice flowing along a glacial basin.

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