Candidate for the position of Environment Officer




Hi, I’m Abel, I’m a second year Global Liberal Arts student, standing to be the next Environmental Officer in our SU. I want to bring a social-ecological approach to the role, emphasising climate justice as essential to environmental matters. 

Whereas it may suit the institution of SOAS to see environment as a single issue topic with which to further their woke-washing agenda, as environmental officer I would work closely with other members of the executive on campaigns, union activities and policies, to make sure equality and liberation are centred in environmental work, and also that environmental justice is included in wider topics. 


Climate justice campaigning was an introduction to political organising for me through the climate strikes, of which I was a part during my final year of sixth form. Since then I have worked with a variety of climate campaigns and organisations, written for newspapers and blogs on the issues, and continued to organise and be part of direct actions. I would like to bring these connections to the SOAS community, and also for the SOAS community to turn outwards in its environmental work - connecting with ecological struggles throughout the global supply chains that sustain our university.


In my first year at SOAS, I was involved in the WTFees fee strike campaign, in which I advocated for a broad and liberatory vision of free education. I am also on the committee of the Uyghur Solidarity Society: last year we successfully passed a thorough motion making multiple demands on the school, and our work is now supporting similar student campaigns at other universities. Further, I am a part of the Justice 4 Workers campaign, and co-operator of Critical Youth Sound System.


 Recognising the disproportionate impact that climate breakdown is having in the Global South, an extension of colonial power dynamics in which SOAS is directly implicated, gives an environmental onus for our school to take affirmative action in terms of the research, investments, and policies that the school supports. As environmental officer, I would aim to build broad campaigns across the school to make sure the gravity of climate breakdown is taken seriously in these areas. Part of this requires us to focus particularly on, and challenge, SOAS’ long term exploitation and mistreatment of international students. Where this is enacted through fees, collusion with the UK’s border regime, and racist surveillance (to name just a few examples) we should respond with visible and active campaigns.


My priorities as environmental officer:

  • Break down the walls of the university: Connect the SOAS community to the restarting climate strike movement, campaigns around COP26, and other climate justice actions in our city

  • Hold the institution to account: Pick up on, continue, and widen the work of the Climate in the Curriculum Campaign, challenge the school’s investments and policies on ecological grounds

  • Climate justice = class struggle: Investigate ecological struggles in the SOAS’ supply chains, and work with solidarity campaigns to build support for these struggles. 

  • Support grassroots groups such as Solar SOAS to continue their important work around campus; supporting student and staff campaigns to take the lead in decarbonising the school, whilst the costs must be borne by the wealth in the institution! 

  • #FireHabib: supporting the work of the SU to hold the leadership of our university accountable to students and staff.

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