Month: November 2014

Tales of an Aspiring Sustainable Citizen

[This week’s guest blog comes courtesy of Robert Zlokower, a MSc student in Sustainable Cities. The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability]
Humble beginnings

The rainy monsoon season.

This was when the ancient ‘sangha’ – as the Buddhist community was and still is called – would settle down, coming together in huts or shelters to meditate and study together.

We are like them. The rainy season marked a change in the climate. And the settlement is like our campus. But rather than paralyse from fear or deny the climate, the sangha used it as a time to grow together. The same applies to today.

Climate change is the best thing to happen to humanity.

At no other time have we had such a clear knowledge of our potential apocalypse than now. When past speculations may have been based on visions and scriptures, today’s predictions are based on scientific evidence. So we really know what we’re up against.

So too do we know the solution: a society based on sustainable principles and technology. A society based not on war, but on working together for the common good. Technology that we actually already have, but just hasn’t been diffused enough yet. The sun’s increasing UV rays are actually a golden chance for humanity to band together. In order to save ourselves, we must commit to the biggest act of selflessness – that is saving nature.

This obstacle is an opportunity.

The 1968 photo of Earth from space ignited consciousness of humanity as ‘global’ and fuelled environmental movements. For sustainability, action is taken not only on a global scale, but also at national, city, community and citizen-levels. To be completely upfront, I’m only in the humble beginnings of sustainable citizenship. My desire started out of frustration when I went to B&Q home supply a few years ago to get a solar-PV panel for my shed, and the staff replied, “a what panel?” I was working in media at the time, managing a forum for the world’s opinion-leaders to debate sustainability, climate change and dwindling resources. I wanted to put these global problems into practical on-the-ground solutions.

Much of my activity is actually daydreaming. Any D-I-Y I undertake generally results in excessive man hours made up of swearing and broken timber (both accidental and purposeful). And as an impoverished student, I can barely afford a discounted pint at the student union, let alone investment in low-carbon technologies. Still, I’ve been inspired to have a go, so at least that’s a start. Here’s what I’m personally looking into as an aspiring sustainable citizen….

The boat life

I recently moved off-grid onto a narrowboat in the canal. I cruise along the Regents Canal and Lea River.


The rooftop solar-PV array

I had the boat fitted with solar photovoltaic panels to charge my on-board batteries. This in turn powers my lights (mainly LED), water-pump and most appliances. To conserve energy, I try to keep to 12-volt appliances, and I leave my fridge off in the winter (I cool perishables either next to my water tank or on my deck). I periodically take on board drinking water from water points along the canal. I’d like to look into collecting and filtering rainwater from my roof. So with limited electric and water on board, I need to be consciously frugal with my resources. Or use my resources wisely – for example, when I cruise the boat, the engine heats the water tank, so it’s the perfect opportunity to later take a shower and wash the dishes.

My engine, apparently the same as in a London taxi, runs off of diesel. At some point, I’d like to explore an alternative fuel, for example used Cooking Oil. In the meantime, every time I run the generator for a high wattage appliance, I’m reminded by the noise and fumes that I’m sucking up fossil fuels. When you turn on your electric iron, are you aware that a power plant somewhere in the distance is guzzling up in 2 and a half minutes a finite resource that took a 2 and half million years to produce?


And the beautiful rooftop garden

For heat, I have a solid-fuel stove. I collect wood chips for kindling from the rubbish heap of a woodcutter at a local hardware store. And I saw spare wood from a local city farm in exchange for volunteering as a gardener. The volunteer work also garnered me a discount with the locally-sourced vegetable service.

I got a composting toilet fitted, so I don’t need water to flush and I can convert the waste to fertilizer. I also have bokashi bins to compost food waste. Eventually I would like to use these wastes to fertilize the canal towpath or my garden on the rooftop, where I also store my bicycle (Btw, King’s College buildings have showers, which helps after long-distance cycling!). I’d like to explore building a small chicken-coup into the front deck of the boat.

Living the canal life means I’m usually surrounded by nature – marshes, woodland, fields, swans, geese, ducks, fish. It helps me as a city-dweller appreciate planet earth. And without a TV on board, I’m no longer brainwashed from TV commercials to buy useless junk that wouldn’t even fit in my little abode anyway!

I’m interested in applying for a mooring at a sustainable narrowboat community in a basin in East London. In the meantime, due to canal regulations I must change moorings every 2 weeks, which actually pushes me to explore a different neighbourhood every time (perfect for a KCL geography student such as myself!).

My goal with this boat is to get as close as possible to being an off-grid self-sufficient microcosm. I also own a house in East London that I’m renting out, but I eventually would like to convert it into a carbon-neutral bed & breakfast – replete with solar-PV panels and batteries, rainwater collection, composting toilet and composting boxes in an urban garden and whatever else I can do to make it off-grid like the narrowboat. A friend warned me I should watch out that someone might steal my ideas. I say bless the thief! If he can kick-start some sustainability quicker than me, then my hat’s off to him!

I’m inspired by Dick & James Strawbridge’s “Practical Self Sufficiency: The Complete Guide to Sustainable Living.” But to be honest, I really could do with a bit of help! At least it’s an opportunity to make some friends and have fun getting creative.

Sitting here in the boat typing this blog post, the rain pattering my steel rooftop, I’m reminded of the sangha, settling from sweeps of rain splashing their huts. I look out my window; a swan floats along night-time waters. Does the swan think about climate change the same way I do? Does she realise it’s a chance for unselfishness, compassion, camaraderie and fun?

The swan dunks her head into the water.


– Robert Zlokower (

Let’s meet Tom, Energy Manager

So what does the Sustainability team actually do? You know we put together events like Blackout and the Sustainability Forum, and maintain this blog. But as important as these things are, they form only one part of what we’re up to. Our goal is to embed sustainability within King’s at all levels from operations and administration down to the actions of staff and students. One major focus of this work is energy, and this week we’ll meet Tom Yearley, our new Energy Manger, to gain some insight into what his role entails and what it means for everyone at King’s. So, Tom, what does the Energy Manager do?

Tom Yearley

The man himself, likely pondering how best to increase energy efficiency at King’s. Or surfing. He also likes surfing.

‘As Energy Manager at KCL and a professional environmentalist, my work involves minimising the environmental impact of the use of utilities at the University. This includes gas, water, electricity and oil. More widely the role involves influencing and reporting on the University’s carbon footprint, including broad factors such as travel, waste and procurement. Fortunately, sound environmental practice leads to financial savings and compliance with legislation which are also key deliverables for me. On a daily basis, I may have my head buried in a spreadsheet, be out and about engaging people in carbon reduction projects or completing energy surveys of buildings.

My primary challenge now is to accurately measure how and where we use utilities. This will enable us to demonstrate to staff and students exactly how great an impact they can have on not only the University’s environmental impact but also on its finances at an individual level.

I have enjoyed a varied career in the environmental sector over the past ten years. I have worked for private and publicly funded organisations including a chocolate factory, consultancies and upstream oil and gas. For the past five years I have been working in the higher education sector. Before KCL I was employed at the University of Reading. I passionately believe that the greatest contribution to a reduction in societies’ environmental impact can be made by responsible use of resources. This can be achieved in a variety of ways, including technological innovation and especially by changing the relationship individuals have with natural resources. Working at a university, I not only aim to influence our consumption directly now, but also hope to influence future leaders, providing a social norm for how business can be run with a minimal carbon impact.’

So, basically, Tom is an energy expert in a position to affect tremendous change. His top sustainability tip for everyone is to ensure that hot water temperature and timers are correctly set up at home. ‘Not only can this dramatically affect your carbon footprint,’ he explains, ‘it can also save you hundreds of pounds per year. It’s amazing how little changes that do not affect comfort levels can significantly alter energy consumption.’ And Tom knows his home energy; this year, he won an Observer Ethical Award for improving his own home’s energy efficiency. He also urges everyone to turn off unnecessary equipment that’s not in use at work (yes, he had a ridiculously fun time at Blackout).

If you’re interested in hearing more about Tom’s work and energy and sustainability at King’s, he happens to be participating in EcoSoc’s panel discussion tomorrow evening (see below for details). We hope to see you there!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

  • International Maritime Organisation adopts Arctic protection measures: Are they enough?
  • New Fairphone offers sustainable, ethical option to mobile users (so probably everybody?)
  • The importance of communicating climate science consensus (because some people still don’t get it)

Gorilla Warfare: conservation in warzones

[Our second weekly guest blog comes courtesy of Richard Milburn, a PhD student in the Department of War Studies. The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability]


Eastern Lowland Gorillas in Kahusi-Biega National Park. Picture courtesy of the Pole Pole Foundation, a Congolese charity working to protect eastern lowland gorillas in the DRC and promote the sustainable development of surrounding communities (

Many of the world’s most iconic and endangered wildlife species are affected by war: tigers by ongoing insecurities in Assam, India; snow leopards by conflict in Afghanistan; and elephants and rhinos falling victim to conflicts all over sub-Saharan Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where wars of different intensities have raged for the last two decades and which remains insecure to this day, is home to the Mountain Gorillas, the rare Okapi gazelle, the Bonobo and the world’s second largest tropical rainforest after the Amazon. Even outside of warzones, the effects or organised criminal poaching for the illegal wildlife trade is causing large losses of wildlife and creating insecurity for the people living around those animals, a situation which is perhaps best exemplified by rhino poaching in South Africa.

While war can be very damaging for wildlife and the environment as a whole, it can also be a most effective form of conservation. Areas such as the Korean Demilitarised Zone, where humans fear to tread, have become de-facto nature preserves. In such places, peace is more of a danger to the environment than war, for when peace comes intensive resource extraction often follows both to rebuild nations in the aftermath of war and to exploit previously inaccessible resources.

In spite of the many links between conservation and war, it remains an often overlooked topic. To help address this, the Marjan Centre for the Study of Conflict and Conservation was established in the War Studies Department. In addition to publishing articles and offering an MA module on this topic, the centre holds regular talks delivered by conservation and conflict experts and experienced practioners, and each year presents the Marjan-Marsh Award, in partnership with the Marsh Christian Trust, to an exceptional conservationist working in a region of armed conflict.


War-damaged gorilla statue in Bukavu, DRC. Picture courtesy of the Pole Pole Foundation

Outside of the College, November 6th has also been set aside by the UN as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict to highlight the damaging effects of war on the environment, such as: the use of the defoliant Agent Orange in Vietnam; the burning of oil wells in Iraq and Kuwait; and the ongoing impacts of war on the environment around the world, which are summarised in a very good recent article by the Guardian. Work is also underway to try to establish ‘ecocide’ as a war crime, and to generally improve the protection of the environment during times of war.

For those interested in conservation, protecting the environment during and after war is critically important. While arguments about the moral case for protecting the environment during war are often presented, these arguments regularly fall on deaf ears. Given the toll of human suffering as a result of war, arguing for the preservation of the environment can be difficult. For instance, around 5 million people have died as a result of war in the DRC over the last two decades, so dedicating resources to protecting gorillas or forests in that country might strike many people as a waste of resources. While the moral arguments for conservation are still valid, they are often not effective, and so more anthropocentric arguments need to be put forward, focusing on the importance of the environment as a threat to security and a tool for promoting post war recovery.

The loss and degradation of the environment undermines the natural resource base upon which many poor people in countries such as the DRC depend. Additionally, the sale of illegal ‘conflict-timber’ and ‘conflict-ivory’ may provide funds to actors in the conflict; Charles Taylor used conflict timber to finance the war in Sierra Leone and the illegal ivory trade has been linked to rebel and terrorist outfits such as the Lord’s Resistance Army and Al-Shabab. Further, since climate change has been identified as a ‘threat multiplier’ to international security, the preservation of large areas of forest in warzones, which act as carbon sinks, is vital.

While the exploitation and degradation of the environment may contribute towards armed conflict, it can also help to bring an end to war and support a resilient post war recovery.

‘Peace Parks’ are being established to support peacebuilding between countries previously at war. These are trans-border national parks where countries cooperate over their management and use that cooperation as a mechanism to help establish trust and create a platform for peacebuilding. Additionally, some ex-rebel soldiers are being given jobs as park rangers, helping to provide alternative jobs as part of the disarmament and reintegration process in the aftermath of war.


Sunset over Lake Kivu, DRC. Picture courtesy of the author and the Pole Pole Foundation

The environment also provides a host of economic benefits. Forests help to anchor soil and improve its fertility, and also provide an array of valuable ecosystem services to support agriculture. Additional revenue may be generated from carbon offset schemes, such as the UN’s REDD+ scheme, that can generate millions of dollars for countries that protect their forests. Tourism may also provide revenue and improve the image of a country emerging from conflict.

However, in spite of the many potential threats to security and the support for post war recovery provided by the environment, it is important to stress its limitations.

The environment is rarely, if ever, a direct cause of conflict. Environmental loss and degradation may place stress on weak institutions and increase ethnic, religious or other divisions within society, but it will not cause conflict by itself. Additionally, illegal trades in wildlife and timber are rarely the sole, or even main, source of finance for actors in conflict; resources such as diamonds, gold and coltan that are easier to extract and transport and which have a higher value will tend to be more readily exploited.

Similarly, with post war recovery, Peace Parks have been shown to offer some benefits for peacebuilding, but this has usually occurred at a low level and not translated into broad-reaching effects. The economic benefits are also often intangible and difficult to generate revenue from. Ecosystem service valuation remains fraught with difficulty and is often poorly understood by people on the ground. Tourism takes time to establish, and even a well-established industry can be destroyed by any renewed outbreak of conflict or a fear of insecurity.

Clearly, then, conservation is not the main issue in warzones. However, it is still an important component of the causes of war and the processes required to build peace. Effective conservation work can reduce the likelihood of conflict breaking out, prevent exploitation of the environment to fund conflict and help promote post war recovery. The key is to ensure that the value of the environment is realised and that it is seen as a core component of preventing war and promoting peace.

– Richard Milburn (

Big energy savings over Blackout weekend

First things first: A huge thank you to all of the student and staff volunteers that joined us for some serious energy-saving escapades (and a shout-out to those who helped by powering down their rooms as they left for the weekend). Fifteen teams of committed carbon-cutters helped cover fourteen buildings on three King’s campuses Friday evening. It couldn’t have been done without so much help, so thanks very much indeed.

So, how much energy did we manage to save?

King's Blackout results infographic


The Denmark Hill crew, questioning their own sanity after auditing 130 rooms.

Quite a lot! We switched off 508 computers, 559 monitors, 522 lights and 131 printers, among other things. Overall, Blackout made for a 12% reduction in energy use compared to an average November weekend, amounting to roughly 8 tonnes of carbon saved (and nearly £2000, if anyone is counting). As such, each participant managed to save about 130 kilos of carbon. In one evening! If we did this every weekend, King’s would save 432 tonnes of carbon (and almost £100,000!) in a year. Of course, these numbers could be significantly higher with wider participation across the university. Among buildings we covered, the Henry Wellcome building at Denmark Hill saw the greatest reduction at a massive 46%. The Strand building fared pretty well, too, with a reduction of 21%, while the Macadam saw a 20% reduction.


One of two Waterloo teams, rightly impressed with themselves after helping to switch off every classroom at FWB.

These are some pretty big numbers. But what do they mean, in everyday terms? Let’s just look at computers. If the 500 computers we switched off were left on over the weekend, they would have produced enough carbon to fill more than four London buses. That would be one stuffy commute! The 550 monitors, meanwhile, use enough energy over a weekend to microwave a little over 10,000 dinners (figures from the Carbon Trust). Of course, these are just a portion of the computers even in the limited spaces we covered. Across the five campuses, there are nearly 1300 student computing stations. That’s a lot of potential energy savings. Indeed, this weekend has clearly demonstrated what a major impact the simple actions of staff and students can have in reducing the College’s energy use. Combining those actions with the College’s own plans for increasing efficiency and reducing emissions can make a huge difference going forward.


One of many Strand teams, who appear to be having the most fun ever.

Blackout has been a major focus of ours for some time, but it’s not the only thing that Sustainability has been up to. The NUS caught up with our Sustainable Labs Project Coordinator, Martin Farley, to ask him some questions about the importance of laboratories in sustainability, and he offered some insight into what his work entails (labs, by the way, were not included in Blackout). We are all getting ready for the launch of Green Impact next month, which you will read a lot about in this space as things develop. Beginning next week we’ll be offering glimpses into some of the most sustainable minds on campus through profiles of our team members. If you’re interested in what we’re up to, be sure to stay tuned.

Until then, keep it sustainable. And thank you once more to those who helped with Blackout last week!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories

King’s College London – An Unlikely Setting for a Superhero Showdown

[Our first weekly guest blog comes courtesy of Fossil Free KCL, a student-led campaign urging King’s to divest its holdings from the fossil fuel industries. The authors are Titus Michaud, a master’s student in Public Law, and Mark Horowitz, currently pursuing a PhD in Neuroscience. The views presented do not necessarily reflect those of King’s Sustainability]

The Fossil Free movement at King’s seems to have ventured into cartoonish superhero and supervillian territory of late. It was supposed to be a cut and dry campaign, reliant on diligent spreadsheet work and rational pleas for long term prosperity and safety.

It was not to be.

The Fossil Free movement at King’s has been growing rapidly towards resolution. Our petition to demand that our university sell its shares in the biggest polluters on earth has soared to 1200 signatures, we have assembled some of the most vibrant and passionate young men and women of the university into the campaign, and together we have gathered the energy to lead our university into a sustainable 21st century.


Fossil Free handing over their petition

At its peak, however, Fossil Free ran straight into a concrete block of status quo twentieth century thinking in the form of our Vice-Principal, a man who spent thirty years of his career at British Petroleum (BP). So it was to an ex-executive of BP that we made our case for the university to sell its shares in BP. Not surprisingly, we were told that the university would not divest and were given a series of rationalisations as to why business-as-usual was the best course of action. We think this supervillian’s chief power is his ability to slow down action under the banner of ‘pragmatism’. He is global warming’s answer to Mr Freeze from Batman: locking us into business as usual trajectory to runaway climate change.

As in any good cartoon, for every supervillian there is a superhero. When it comes to Fossil Free there is one global superhero shoulders above the rest – Bill McKibben. Like Superman, he has a Clark Kent side. He began life as a journalist for the New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic and the Boston Globe, focusing on environmental issues. He wrote the first book about climate change for a popular audience in 1989, The End of Nature, and spent the next twenty years writing about threats to the environment, hoping people would be compelled by his lucid communication of the science and do something about it.

It took him two decades to admit the Clark Kent act wasn’t working. So he ditched the glasses and founded the movement, the first ever global grassroots environmental campaigning organisation. It takes its name from the concentration of carbon dioxide in the air (in parts per million) compatible with a safe environment (today the concentration is 400ppm!). If people weren’t paying attention to his books, perhaps they would pay attention to 5,200 rallies in 181 countries. This was what the organisation achieved on its first day of planned demonstrations in 2009. Since then the movement has moved from strength to strength as the pent up frustration of people around the world appalled at the lack of political action on climate change has found an emergency valve in the form of collective demonstration and direct action.

In fact, the more appropriate superhero is Captain Planet – this is very much a story of our powers combined doing far more than we could ever hope to achieve by ourselves. took on the Keystone XL pipeline, descibed as“the fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”, and has successfully prevented its completion for four years. Bill and also realised the environment would never win if they were to just play defence – protesting against every new oil pipeline and every environmentally destructive development. We would also have to play offence.

So Bill and launched the Fossil Free divestment movement – a way to bring increased awareness of the influence of the fossil fuel industry on the direction our world was travelling. It would not be able to financially bankrupt the industry – it is simply too big, too rich, and too strong. But institutional leaders around the world – including universities, churches, charities and ethically minded businesses – could vote with their investments to show that we no longer condoned what these companies are doing and their plans for the future (more – much more – of the same). Perhaps this would create a viable context for political action at a national and international level and a much needed price on carbon would be set.

It may have sounded fanciful three years ago but today no one is laughing. A paper from Oxford University released last year found that it was the fastest growing divestment movement in history. More importantly, out of the 41 divestment movements that it analysed – concerning pornography, tobacco and Apartheid in South Africa – every single divestment movement had produced the outcome it sought in the form of political action. Univerisities, churches and institutional investors around the world are divesting their shares in fossil fuel companies – totalling 50 billion dollars so far – with new commitments emerging each week . There are thousands of active campaigns across four continents. Exxon Mobil, the biggest oil and gas company in the world, is not laughing – it has just launched a public relations attack against the campaign.

Although we are but one dot in a world wide map of campaigns we were hurting a little after meeting a tentacle of BP wedged into the leadership of our university. What we needed was a little boost and out of the sky that boost came in the form of Captain Planet himself. Last Tuesday he visited King’s to lead a flash mob sit-in to stress the importance of univerisities leading the way in this important movement.


Sophocles looking particularly stoic

So we sat outside the Great Hall of the Strand Campus, decked out in festive manner with balloons, banners declaring that ‘Real Leaders Divest from Fossil Fuels’, with both Sappho and Sophocles in solidarity in their Fossil Free shirts listening to Captain Planet tell us that King’s would inevitably divest, it was only a matter of time, but that they would need a push.

He emphasised the point that as important (and necessary) are the individual actions we take to reduce our environmental footprint, ultimately what is needed is collective action to affect political change. We had an opportunity as members of a globally visible and respected university to make a change with global effects by going no further than our own campus. King’s 8 million pounds invested in BP, Shell, and Exxon Mobil might only be a drop in the bucket but its decision to divest would have a huge effect on the conversation around the world about what sort of planet we want to live on. Even our very own Mr Freeze acknowledged our campaign was pushing conversation in the right direction.

You may have seen our mildly amusing poster alluding to the strong support for the campaign by King’s most famous alumnus, Desmond Tutu. Bill McKibben made the point that the university can’t continue to ignore the voice of the man who face greets you at its front door.


Professor Planet imparting some words of wisdom

At his speech at LSE later that evening, one thing Bill said was that, as an introvert and writer, organising was not really his thing. He did not think he was good at it and had bumbled through. He had decided that the urgency of the situation demanded that he do things he wasn’t exactly comfortable with.

I think a lot of us sitting there were pleased to here this from a global superhero – actually, given his nervous, halting way of speaking and his academic bent, perhaps Professor Planet is more appropriate – that he didn’t quite know what he was doing. Because we sure as heck don’t!

However, like him, we are determined to keep bumbling along because we think the importance of dealing with climate change means that we have to do what we can, even if we are not superheroes.

We know how this comic book story ends but it seems our spreadsheet powers alone won’t do it. If you would like to help – whether superhero or not – we can be contacted on facebook at Fossil Free KCL.

– Titus Michaud and Mark Horowitz

Blackout week is here!

If you’ve been following us at all over the past few weeks you’ve probably gathered that the NUS Blackout is kind of a big deal. Well, this week it’s finally upon us as dozens of student and staff volunteers will spend their Friday evening patrolling parts of the Strand and Denmark Hill campuses, as well as the Franklin Wilkins Building at Waterloo, looking to switch off all non-essential equipment that has been left running. This will be followed, of course, by a super fun celebration.


Southampton having the time of their lives last year. This could be you on Friday!

By switching this equipment off – lights, monitors, projectors, etc. – we are aiming to demonstrate just how much energy (not to mention money) King’s can save through the simple actions of staff and students. We posted the data from our pilot shutdown of the building we work out of, Capital House, last Thursday. By switching off unused, non-essential equipment, we observed an overnight reduction of energy use by 33% compared to an average weeknight. Now imagine how much we can save across campuses! It’s remarkable what a difference turning off unused appliances can make. However, this initiative, and the day-to-day changes it will hopefully inspire, forms only one part of of a large effort to meet King’s carbon emissions reduction target (that’s a 43% reduction by 2020 from a 2005-06 baseline). We’ll write more about our goals and how we aim to achieve them here over the coming months, but Blackout is an exciting initiative that will get more people involved right away. By the way, there is still time to volunteer! Just fill out this form and get ready for the time of your life!

We’re also preparing for our second cycling event, which will take place Wednesday, 19 November from 11.00-14.30 at the Guy’s quad. For those dedicated cyclists gearing up for a wonderful winter of active transportation, this event will give you the opportunity to get some free maintenance courtesy of Dr. Bike and to register your beloved bike with the Southwark police, among other things!

We are planning our second Sustainability Forum, too. It will take place on Tuesday, 2 December at Denmark Hill on the topic of green spaces and well-being. More to come on this.

What else is the team up to? Quite a lot, actually. We’re working towards the launch of Green Impact next month (which you’ll read more about here soon) while Sunny, Tom and Martin are immersing themselves in the subcultures of waste & resources, energy and laboratories, respectively. We’ll keep you up to date on these various projects as they develop, too.

Until then, join us for Blackout and keep it sustainable!

Upcoming events

  •  Friday, 14 November, 18.30: NUS Blackout
  • Saturday, 15 November: 2071 and Day of Action at the Royal Court Theatre (2071 running each day until the 15th)
  • Wednesday, 19 November, 11.00-14.30: Cycling event at Guy’s quad

Some news and stories

The Sustainability team wants YOU


It’s an exciting time for the Sustainability team at King’s. Kat Thorne’s appointment as Head of Sustainability in the latter half of 2013 was a major boost to the university’s efforts at becoming a sustainable institution, given what she accomplished in the same role at the University of Greenwich. Over the past several months she has set about assembling a dream team of sustainable champions to help move King’s forward. As a result, the team now boasts managers of energy (Tom Yearley), waste and resources (Sunny Pawar) and sustainable labs (Martin Farley) along with three project assistants (Olivia, Sarah and Justin) – and the team is still expanding (so fast that this recent picture is already out of date)! Over the coming weeks and months this space will offer introductions to the new managers and what their work entails, providing a clearer picture of what sustainability means for King’s and the world of higher education.

There are many exciting projects and events in the works, and this space will serve to keep readers up to date on all things sustainable at King’s with new posts each week. The next major initiative, in which we want you to take part, is the NUS Blackout on Friday, 14 November. You can read more about it here. Also of particular note this week: renowned American environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of, will be speaking in a free, public event at LSE on Tuesday, 4 November (find link to details below).

We also want you to get involved with this blog! Every week, aside from the above-mentioned updates, we will be posting a contribution from a member of the King’s community – students, staff and alumni – on a sustainability topic that they are passionate about. Are you interested in contributing? Get in touch for more details – we’d love to hear from you, no matter your background or your interest.

So be sure to check back regularly to keep informed about sustainability at King’s. We’re really excited for what’s in store!

Upcoming events

Some news and stories