By Helen March, Investigations Editor
An activist from Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol (XRYB) spray painted the phrase ‘greenwashed’ onto Senate House on Wednesday evening.
After spray painting the university building at around 9pm on Wednesday, the group shared the activity online, claiming that in spite of the University of Bristol presenting itself as a ‘green’ institution, its actions do not reflect this message.
Last night we sprayed a message onto Senate House:@BristolUni, which presents itself as 'green', has taken over £22mil in research & consultancy fees since 2017/18 from defence firms such as Boeing.— XR Youth Bristol 🌍⏳ (@XRYouthBristol) January 27, 2022
The defence industry is ecocidal - Bristol Uni are greenwashing! pic.twitter.com/cXaAmOLRq3
XRYB comment that the University of Bristol ‘has taken over £22mil in research & consultancy fees since 2017/18 from defence firms such as Boeing. The defence industry is ecocidal - Bristol Uni are greenwashing!’
The University of Bristol was the first UK university to declare its commitment to taking action on the climate crisis in April 2019. Their project, Climate Action Bristol is intended to place ‘student volunteers with local organisations to develop and implement Climate Action Plans’.
A University of Bristol spokesperson said: ‘The University Civic Engagement Committee, which includes student members, is overseeing the development of an Ethics of Partnership framework, which will guide decisions around partnerships, including with defence firms. We look forward to working with our community in developing this framework.
‘The University of Bristol plays a key role in tackling environmental change through its research, its teaching and how it operates.
‘Sustainability remains one of the central strands shaping the University's vision of the future. We were the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency in 2019 reaffirming our strong and positive commitment to take action on climate change and, a year later, in 2020 we completely divested from all investments in fossil fuel companies.
‘The Cabot Institute for the Environment is at the forefront of world-leading research into environmental challenges and our expert academics provide advice and guidance to decision-makers on an international, national and local level.’
One XRYB activist said ‘We will not accept that University of Bristol portrays itself as ‘green’ whilst still receiving money from defence corporations. The air pollution from bomb damage, species extinction, contamination of land, chemical weapons poisoning, radiation, and more caused by heavy military equipment in ecocide’.
The activist went on to say that ‘Bristol university should not be taking money and working with this industry of ecocide criminals’.
XRYB is the separately-organised wing of Extinction Rebellion in Bristol, for young people up to the age of 30.
Featured Image: Epigram | Freya Shaw
Did you see the spray painting outside Senate House?