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Teen environmentalist receives honorary doctorate from Bristol Uni just days after calling the SU 'racist'

The 17-year-old activist called out Bristol SU's attitude to BAME students in a series of tweets posted several days before the ceremony

By Ellie Brown, News Subeditor

The 17-year-old activist called out Bristol SU's attitude to BAME students in a series of tweets posted several days before the ceremony.

Mya-Rose Craig, founder of Black2Nature, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree yesterday from the University of Bristol for her advocacy of environmentalism and efforts to engage others in climate and conservation projects.

She is thought to be the youngest ever recipient of the award in the UK.

However, in a tweet published on Friday 14 February, Mya-Rose called out Bristol Students' Union for its ‘terrible racist and islamophobic behaviour.’

Another tweet, posted on Saturday 15 February, also slammed Bristol SU’s recent open letter on racism to the University, accusing the organisation of ‘stealing & putting forward [BME] ideas & solutions as their own & excluding islamophobia’.

Upon receiving her degree, Craig stressed the important of recognising 'that inequality in engagement creates inequality of opportunity'. She continued: 'an unequal world can never be a sustainable world.'

The 17 year old also called on 'everybody from every community to tackle the environmental crisis that we are finding ourselves in', commenting that 'slowly change is happening, but it needs to happen much faster'.

Black2Nature was set up in 2018 to help engage more children from minority ethnic backgrounds in conservation.

The project includes nature camps in Somerset's Chew Valley, run by Craig and her mother, for VME (Visibly Minority Ethnic) primary schoolchildren - many of whom have never been camping before.

With only 0.6 per cent of conservationists identifying as VME, the not-for-profit enterprise also aims to increase this number.

Dr Rich Pancost, Head of Earth Sciences at the University, nominated Mya-Rose for the award. Speaking of his nomination, he said: 'To bestow a comparable honour on someone who is only 17 years old is not a decision we take lightly.'

'It is reserved for those who are leading truly special projects, courageous projects, transformative projects. Mya-Rose is doing exactly that.'

In a statement, a spokesperson for Bristol SU said:

'We are working in collaboration with the University, and the Bristol SU BME Network, to create a joint action plan around racism at our University, and will be releasing a further statement soon.

'Bristol SU is committed to tackling racism in all its forms, to ensure that all of our students feel supported and have a positive university experience.'

Featured Image: University of Bristol

Do you think the SU could be doing more to reach out to BAME students? Let us know!