Image Credit: Caitlin Turner
Image Credit: Caitlin Turner

Caitlin Turner: “The climate crisis isn’t just a climate justice issue. It’s also a racial and social justice issue”

9 mins read

Caitlin Turner is a third year Marine Biology student running for Sustainability Officer in this year’s Union elections.

“I like the saying do what you love and love what you do. I turned my love for marine conservation into my life.”

In her interview with Brig, Caitlin’s clear passion for environmentalism shined through. As she proudly described all the work she has done to try and save the planet in her spare time. At the University she is the president and founder of the Marine conservation society but is also a member of the newly formed environmental network.

“Out of Uni most of my volunteering is with MCS UK; the UK’s biggest conservation organisation for marine conservation. I represent the charity as both as a sea champion and a beach watch volunteer… I deliver presentations at events, schools and youth groups, I conduct citizen science projects … I carryout beach cleans; I support fund-raising and support all of the MSCs campaigns. I also volunteer with sea Shepard UK. Even at my part time job I am still involved in in environmentalism, I represent the Stirling Fat Face store as their sustainability champion. I live and breathe environmentalism.”

In her campaign for Sustainability Officer, she offers three main principles: Awareness, Accessibility, and Action. Under awareness she emphasises the importance of students knowing what is going on in the University when it comes to managing their sustainability. Particularly information on recycling.

“Putting recycling information in student halls is the absolute priority, it’s where students live so that means they are most likely to generate the most waste there. I also want to increase recycling provisions themselves. I know from staying in Polworth in first year our recycling bin was just a bin bag hung off the door handle. Whereas some of my friends in the newer buildings had proper recycling bins.”

“I also want to make sure that the information is clear and concise and accessible to all such as larger texts and using braille. The more-clear the information is the better chance people have of recycling. I also want to clearly sign post the recycling bins on campus. I would like to use the media outlets in the atrium to display videos or posters that show all the recycling information. I want to use social media to share this information as well. It also means I can get out that pizza boxes are not recyclable, that’s a big point and students like our pizza!”

One of her key prioritises if elected is being transparent with students about the steps she and the university would be taking to improve their sustainability.

“I want the student body to be informed every step of the way about the steps we are going to be taking towards sustainability. I understand that for some projects information might be confidential, but I don’t want there to be this disconnect between just putting out a form, people giving their input and then nothing else is said about it because it’s all kept behind the scenes. I don’t like that I am a firm believer in the power of community when it comes to sustainability, I’ve seen that in my experience of volunteering.”

“I want to be held accountable for my role if I am elected, I want people to give me feedback and opinions. I will be fully present and give updates on social media. I will be sure to provide Student Union meeting days so people can come along and have a chat with me so I can hear what they want to see improved but also so that they can hear from me. If people don’t think I am doing enough they can challenge me on that! I want to be sure I have an online and physical presence so I can be approached to hear what people want to be improved and to share what the university is doing. I want to be fully accessible to everyone.”

Caitlin’s is also keen to provide workshops on sustainability and how to be more environmentally friendly. Which she plans to be inclusive of all students.

“I want all the workshops to be open and welcome to everyone, and I will try to strongly to encourage that people attended the workshops. Such as ones on intersectional environmentalism because I think it is absolutely crucial that everyone is aware and educated on the fact that the climate crisis isn’t just a climate justice issue. It’s also a racial and social justice issue, they are interlinked. To be effective in combatting this crisis we need to understand the intersectionality of it.”

“These workshops will be available to everyone as I want everyone to be educated on these issues and not for it to just be sectioned off into different groups. I also want to deliver workshops on how to live sustainably at a minimal cost, all students will be encouraged to attend these. I am too aware of the costs of more environmentally products, and because of these high costs it makes them pretty inaccessible. Helping low-income students live more sustainably is a personal issue for me as I myself am I low-income student and am too familiar with money struggles and that its cheaper to buy from fast fashion websites. I want to help others, I want to remove the stigma of buying second hand. I want to help guide lower income students on how to save the planet without it affecting their already low funds. I also want to have focus groups with the equalities officers and groups like the disabled student’s association to ensure steps to sustainability are fully accessible.”

It is clear Caitlin passionate about making a difference if elected as sustainability officer. Her enthusiasm for environmental change can even be seen in her day-to-day life.

She jokingly says: “I am basically a recycling demon. My flatmate walked in on my once furiously scraping the label off of a recyclable plastic tray one night. Just so the recycling wouldn’t be contaminated and since then I think she’s pretty concerned about me. I don’t eat fish and try to not eat as much meat, but unfortunately due to medical reasons cannot completely cut it out. But I make sure the meat I eat is locally sourced, I also rarely use my car. But these are just some of the things I do.”

Voting opens March 8th at 9am and closes March 9th at 6:15pm. Voting can be done on the Stirling Students Union website.

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