With the University’s Sustainable Projects Fund slated to come into effect next semester, along with plans to make campus a virtually car-free environment by the end of next year, it is clear that McGill has been making a concerted effort to brand itself as a pioneer in the green revolution.
Greenpeace McGill’s tar sands campaign – which kicked off on Wednesday last week – characterizes the University differently. The group alleges that McGill’s patronage of the Royal Bank of Canada, which is heavily invested in the Alberta tar sands project, is contributing to global warming and environmental devastation.
“As students, we have no control over where our money goes,” said Nora Hope, one of the campaign’s coordinators.
“Things like the sustainability fund are all student initiatives and student-driven things, and every step for student groups has been such a struggle against the bureacracy of McGill. But once that stuff [has been established,] McGill’s administration is happy to take credit for it,” added Hope.
She stated that the next step for the campaign will be to push a policy on ethical investment strategies that would account for the long-term environmental consequences of McGill’s financial decisions. She added that Demilitarize McGill’s campaign for a revision of the Conduct of Research policy could serve as a model for Greenpeace McGill.