The university beef burger ban is a “defining moment” in the climate crisis fight

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Hollie Richardson
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Activist Professor Frances Corner is the new head of Goldsmiths, University of London, who has pledged action on the climate emergency – starting with the ban of beef burgers. 

As the climate crisis continues in its critical state, real action is finally being taken. Earlier this month, we learned how the 5p charge has caused a dramatic drop in the number of plastic bags being used in supermarkets. And it was also promising to hear that Boots will be banning plastic bags entirely. From choosing eco-friendly water bottles to changing the ways we buy and consume food – individuals and corporations alike are stepping in the right direction. 

But the farming of beef remains a top concern in the fight against climate change. Scientists say beef is so damaging to the environment that the number of cattle in the UK needs to be reduced by between a fifth and a half. This is because cows produce more methane and require more land and water than other livestock.

Now, a university is finally taking action on these facts…

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Goldsmiths, University of London, is tackling the eco-crisis by removing all beef products from being sold on its campuses. It is also charging a 10p levy on single-use plastic cups and bottled water. The money that is raised will be spent on the university’s allotment and plants to help absorb carbon monoxide.

The move has been made in a bid to become a greener university. Goldsmiths currently emits around 3.7 million kg of carbon each year. It is hoping to become carbon neutral by 2025 and will try to increase the number of students studying climate change.

Professor Frances Corner at Goldsmiths
Professor Frances Corner is the new head at Goldsmiths who is aiming to make the university greener.

The university’s new head, Professor Frances Corner - who is also a fashion activist - said: “The growing global call for organisations to take seriously their responsibilities for halting climate change is impossible to ignore.

“Though I have only just arrived at Goldsmiths, it is immediately obvious that our staff and students care passionately about the future of our environment and that they are determined to help deliver the step change we need to cut our carbon footprint drastically and as quickly as possible.

“Declaring a climate emergency cannot be empty words.

“I truly believe we face a defining moment in global history and Goldsmiths now stands shoulder to shoulder with other organisations willing to call the alarm and take urgent action to cut carbon use.”

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This work will build on existing initiatives, which include a wide scale recycling programme, and termly clear-outs of non-perishable food, good quality clothes, shoes and bedding from Goldsmiths’ student halls of residence. 

These goods are donated to local charities. Similarly, abandoned bicycles are given away to good homes on an annual basis.

The news also accompanies the confirmation that from 1 December 2019, Goldsmiths’ endowment fund will no longer hold investments in companies that generate more than 10% of their revenue from the extraction of fossil fuels. 

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It will be interesting to see if and how other universities follow suit in turning words into actions for a greener planet.

Images: Getty, Goldsmiths


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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…

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