Month: June 2021

King’s Energy – Transport and energy: what’s the link?

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

London is famed for its red double-decker buses, but those of you with a keen eye may have noticed that some of these are turning green… According to Transport for London (TfL), London’s 9,500-strong bus fleet attracts a daily ridership of 6 million people on a weekday across 673 routes. In this blog, we explore the link between transport and energy and what is being done to reduce emissions in this area.

The relationship between transport and energy

It is simply impossible to talk about energy without mentioning transport. The transport sector was responsible for over 24% of global emissions in 2016, and this figure has been growing year on year. In the UK specifically, this number peaked in 2007 before a slight decline but has been rising again since 2013. The root cause of the problem is unquestionably road vehicles, which account for 72% of global transport emissions.

The concern with transport is not limited to vehicle emissions either. The transport sector is heavily reliant on oil as an energy source, with over 53% of global primary oil consumption in 2010 being used to meet 94% of the total transport energy demand. The good news? This reliance seems to be decreasing. Energy consumption by the transport sector has shrunk to 31% in the years since. There is, however, still a long way to go.

What is being done?

In London, the focus has very much been on targeting these road vehicles. You may have heard of certain initiatives such as the Congestion Charge Zone, the phasing out of diesel taxis or “Ultra-Low Emission Zones”. While these have had a positive impact, more action is needed, and more action has been promised.

Mayor Sadiq Kahn has committed to ensuring 80% of all Londoner’s trips be made by foot, bicycle or public transport by 2041. To achieve this, there are plans to expand the cycle network and continue to enforce “Ultra-Low Emission Zones” and building on the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge). This would include incorporating central London into a “Zero-Emission Zone” by 2025 to be expanded to a London-wide zone by 2050. Additionally, from next year all new double-decker buses will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen, while it is hoped that the entire bus fleet will be completely emission-free by 2037.

What can you do?

As a London resident, you can do your bit by avoiding driving in the city (although we’re sure not many students plan on driving around London). Of course, we would encourage walking or cycling (though always carry an umbrella!) for short distances, and public transport for longer ones.

What is King’s doing?

Tune in to our #TakeoverTuesday tomorrow (Tuesday 29 June) on the King’s Sustainability Instagram. We will be filling you in on what King’s is doing to help.

As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!

Finding your sustainable career path and practical next steps

This blog post was originally written for and posted to the King’s Careers blog. If you’re looking for more careers advice, we invite you to look at the wonderful collection of resources, blog posts, and wider services the Careers team offers. 

Young people are as passionate as ever about working in the field of sustainability. However, the field remains a difficult one to break into, and the pandemic has placed additional challenges on job seekers. This blog offers practical steps to help you reflect and consider how you can embed sustainability into your career planning.

Throughout this blog, I define a job in sustainability as a job that overlaps, in some way, with the UN Sustainable Development Goals agenda.

Defining your sustainable career path

  • What about sustainability interests you?

Originally defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”, sustainability can be understood as a framework for thinking about societal development across a wide variety of interconnected issues. As a result of this rather general definition, sustainability has become somewhat of a buzzword that means many different things to many different people.

Have a think about what sustainability means to you. You could be passionate about environmental issues, human rights, social justice, global health or food systems. And while you may be passionate about more than one specific area of sustainability, a good place to start is narrowing down what about sustainability interests you, which topic(s) drive you, what you are most knowledgeable about.

  • Who would you like to work for?

Similarly, a “job in sustainability” does not fit into one mould. Sustainability cuts across many industries. You could work in government, charity, business, finance, consulting, research, filmmaking, fashion, marketing etc. Sustainability could be the core focus of your work or simply represent a small aspect, and you could be searching for a job in sustainability because of your values or because of your knowledge base, or both. For example, you could be an administrator or accountant who aspires to work for a company or NGO that promotes sustainability in its core mission. Or you might have studied and gained experience in a related field such as geography, environmental science, biology, human rights, gender studies etc. and aspire to work in this given field.

  • What is your skill set?

While employers value passion, they’re also looking for skills. So thinking about how you fit into sustainability also means reflecting on your skills. Think about your technical skills (climate change, climate modelling, engineering, business, management, communications, knowledge of a particular industry, etc.) and soft skills (innovation, commercial/business awareness, creativity, systems-thinker, teamwork, leadership, etc.), as well as how you can develop these. With each opportunity and experience, think about what you enjoyed and what you didn’t enjoy, and reflect upon the skills you’ve learned and developed.

Thinking about how your answers to the above questions intersect will help you better define your next steps – further work experience, graduate studies, volunteering? 

Tips for building experience for a career in sustainability

If you’ve been offered an internship or entry-level job in your chosen field, congratulations! If you haven’t, that’s ok too! There are many things you can do to gain experience and further your employability in the diverse fields around sustainability. All of the below can help you build experience and should be highlighted on your CV. And, of course, you’ll also meet new people, build your network, and open up new and exciting doors for your future! 

  • Consider a skills-building job.

Getting a job in your chosen field is never easy – even more so during the pandemic. However, it’s important to remember that, for many people, career paths don’t follow a straight line. Fortunately, because sustainability links to so many different areas, finding a job that can help you develop technical skills and/or transferrable skills that all employers value will undoubtedly help you move forward in your career. Additionally, gaining industry knowledge will provide you with a greater understanding of the need for sustainability in your sector. Finally, remember that every organisation and industry can be more sustainable, so why not consider joining (or creating) a sustainability working group within your current organisation? Even if your job doesn’t naturally fall within the realms of sustainability, you can always find ways to incorporate it!

  • Develop your knowledge about sustainability.

Make sure you’re familiar with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Take an online course – Coursera, Future Learn and Open University are great places to start.

Another way to develop your knowledge and hone your analytical and communication skills is by researching and writing about sustainability – you could become a guest blogger for the King’s Sustainability blog or start a social media account about something you’re passionate about.

  • Volunteer for or join a local community organising group.

If you can, volunteering is a great way to develop skills, learn more about the sector, and network. Check out the KCLSU volunteering pages for opportunities, and follow Service at King’s on Instagram for more opportunities.

  • For the next academic year, make the most of the opportunities at King’s.

From the Sustainability Champions Scheme, King’s Climate Action Network and sustainable societies to King’s Think Tank, King’s Civic Challenge and King’s Entrepreneurship Insitute – there is always something happening at King’s. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, create it yourself with the help of the Student Opportunity Fund!

Make sure to follow the King’s Sustainability on Instagram to keep up to date with opportunities. And feel free to get in touch with us if you’re interested in learning more about opportunities to get involved.

Some recommendations for job search ideas and resources:

  • King’s Careers KEATS services.
  • The Kickstart Scheme – for those aged 18-25 on Universal Credit (many organisations and NGOs are hiring through the programme right now).
  • Charity Jobs
  • Guardians Jobs Environment
  • Environment Jobs
  • LinkedIn – set up weekly alerts for specific organisations and/or job titles (i.e. research assistant, communications intern, etc.). Many individuals also post weekly or monthly job boards… searching #jobfairies is a good place to start.
  • The Bloom send out a weekly jobs newsletter.
  • Bookmark the companies and organisations you’re interested in and keep checking their job pages!

Finally, thinking about the future during a pandemic can be difficult. Make sure to take care of yourself and your mental health, and reach out to support if you need to (you can read more about King’s mental health help here).


King’s Energy: Smart homes – how energy-saving are they?

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

I’m sure many of you have seen adverts or promotions for some form of “smart home” technology. They are becoming increasingly popular and in-demand, but is this just because they seem like a cool idea? Or do they actually save energy? We’ve done the research for you, so read on and find out!

What are smart homes?

Simply put, smart homes are residences that use internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating. Many new homes are being built with the capacity for them to become smart homes, while older homes can be retrospectively fitted with the right technology.

What makes them “smart”?

Smart homes allow you to monitor and control anything in your home which is linked to your WiFi. That may sound like you’re the smart one there, but smart homes do have some features which make them truly intelligent. For example, using sensors, they can tell when somebody is in a home or a room and control the lights or heating accordingly. They can also track your behavioural patterns to identify the perfect amounts of water or energy for certain activities. Based on these patterns, many smart homes will also offer you recommendations on saving energy every day. That’s truly smart.

Can they help save energy?

The simple answer is yes, but it depends on the individual. A smart home can only provide information and optimise with the tools at its disposal. It is up to the homeowner to give it more tools to use and a better environment to use them in. Put simply, if your water meter is not linked to your smart home, then it will have no impact on your water usage. It can take time to get everything hooked up and become comfortable with all the features.

What can be done to help my smart home?

Several things can be done to make homes more suitable for smart home technology, so these may well be worth looking out for when it comes to investing in your first home:

  • Insulation – A properly insulated home will make heating and cooling much easier and more energy-efficient, thereby making life much easier for a smart home.
  • LED bulbs – As we mention most weeks on this blog, LEDs use much less energy than most other types of lightbulbs. They are also extremely durable and can be easily connected to smart homes.
  • Solar panels – An expensive investment, we know. However, this one shows that while you can save energy, if your energy is still sourced from fossil fuels, for example, then the environmental benefits are minimal. Solar panels will also reduce reliance on grid electricity, and even more so if you also invest in a home battery which will retain and store any excess energy. So, if you are thinking of purchasing a smart home, think long-term and make sure your home is ready before making that investment.

So, there you have it, smart homes have the potential to be extremely effective in terms of saving energy, but much of that depends on how you use and complement it. If you have seen them advertised and dream of having one in your future home, then don’t worry; they can be really great for the planet, but you should ensure the correct infrastructure is in place before taking the plunge.

As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!

Refugee Week 2021 – Climate Refugees  

This blog comes from Bethan Spacey, Sustainability Engagement Assistant and BA English student. 

June 14th – June 20th is Refugee Week. This is a week that occurs annually and throughout the UK to increases awareness of the plight of refugees and the socio-political shifts that incite displacement and inspire action to help people and change systems that hinder those who have been forced to flee their homes.   

This year’s theme is ‘We Cannot Walk Alone,’ inspired by the Martin Luther King quote, “They have come to realise that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom… We cannot walk alone.” It is a theme intended to promote togetherness, with the official website proposing it as “an invitation to extend your hand to someone new”.   

The last century has seen a series of refugee crises: starting with World War II and continuing with conflicts like the Somali Civil War, the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, the Syrian Civil War, and sadly, numerous more. The UNHCR estimates that there are approximately 80 million refugees globally: that’s the equivalent of London’s entire population almost nine times. Some of the predominant factors forcing people to leave their country are persecution, war and violation of human rights.   

Unfortunately, there are even darker days on the horizon, with the worst refugee crisis we have ever seen being anticipated. Except for this time, it is not because of any war or conflict; it is because of the climate crisis.   

Experts estimate a potential 1 billion refugees by 2050, with the predominant reason shifting to the climate crisis. A staggering figure, accounting for 13% of the world’s current population. What’s more, the individuals and groups dislocated by this environmental disaster may not receive the same benefits and legal perks (that are already lacking) that refugees receive because they will not qualify as ‘legal refugees’ under current Refugee Law. This calls for a rapid expansion of the definition of refugees, with concrete legislative follow-up.  

This is not a crisis that will occur in the decades to come, but one that has already started. Between 2008 and 2016, over 20 million people per year were forced from their homes by extreme weather, such as wildfires. There are already climate refugees. There are entire countries already at risk of rising sea levels; in 2014, the President of Kiribati, an independent island in the Pacific Ocean, bought up land in Fiji in fear of the island’s submersion. Farmers in Kenya are struggling to maintain their livelihoods with volatile climate stressors, such as droughts and floods, destroying crops and killing livestock. It is an issue that disproportionately affects marginalised groups of people. 80% of people presently displaced by the climate crisis are women, and people of colour are most likely to be exposed to toxic levels of pollution and unclean water. As much as what we all have in common is the Earth, we are not in the same boat. We are in the same ocean, perhaps, but some are in cruise ships and others in splintered paddle boats.  

Acknowledging the disparities between different groups of people is key in our process of “extending a hand”. We may only practice effective altruism and successful activism after first educating ourselves on the facts and nuances of the issue. We cannot address social justice issues without addressing the climate crisis. We cannot address the climate crisis without addressing social justice issues.  

Whilst the message of community is critical, ‘We Cannot Walk Alone’ enters a whole new context when the catastrophe that looms calls not only for the unity of people but also living in respect of and in harmony with nature; we cannot walk at all without the oceans and the rainforests – our collective lungs. Our freedom is, as King expanded, inextricably linked, in this case, to the freedom of the planet: freedom from resource depletion, soaring fossil fuel emissions, and unsustainable levels of destruction. It is these things that have caused the climate crisis, and it is these things that are exacerbating the refugee crisis. Where this is not an equal fight, it is also not one of equal blame; whilst the local and generational residents of the global south remain victims of the consequences, the global north has been responsible for 92% of all emissions since 1850and just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of all emissions. Systemic change is pivotal in addressing both crises, and we will not achieve our goal without it.   

However, yes, we cannot walk alone. We must lend a hand to one another and foster our interconnected humanity. We must also lend a hand to nature: perhaps by getting our hands dirty and participating in regenerative agriculture, or perhaps by litter-picking on the beach. Overall, this year’s Refugee Week calls for the celebration of the synergy that is the foundation of life on Earth and the correlative actions and reactions of people and the planet.  


#TakeAction this Refugee Week by seeking out initiatives near you. KCL STAR is a student-led society at King’s, which hosts several voluntary projects. You can also get involved at King’s by supporting King’s Sanctuary Programme and King’s refugee sponsorship scheme


King’s Energy: Some good news – Sale of halogen bulbs to be banned in the UK

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

Okay, this story was run a few days ago so it’s technically not breaking news.

You may remember our article about lightbulbs, namely incandescent, halogen, fluorescent and light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Last week, as part of a series of climate change plans, the UK government announced that halogen bulbs will be banned in the UK from September, and fluorescent lights will follow shortly thereafter. This new ban builds upon EU-wide rules in 2018 banning old-fashioned incandescent lightbulbs.

Why are they being banned?

While halogen bulbs are one of the cheaper options on the market, costing on average £2, they do not compare favourably to other market alternatives in terms of energy. A halogen bulb uses 70W to produce 1600 lumens. That is 30W less than traditional bulbs, but around 6 times the energy usage of LEDs. Further, they have an average lifespan of just two years, so you can imagine the amount of waste generated.

Overall, halogens are no longer the most energy-efficient bulb on the market and this change will go towards helping the UK achieve its environmental goals. In fact, according to Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy, this move will cut 1.26 million tonnes of carbon emissions a year – equivalent to removing half a million cars from the UK’s roads.

What about Compact fluorescent lamps (CFL)?

CFL lighting will also be phased out in the new plans, by September 2023. While these were heralded for their energy efficiency when they were first introduced on the market (they are more energy-efficient than halogens, using just 25W for 1600 lumens), LEDs quickly swept in and took their place as most energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Keep an eye out when you return to the office as the CFL strip lighting may just have been replaced. Can you notice the difference?

How does this affect me?

The ban refers to the sale of the bulbs, not the owning of them – so don’t worry, your kitchen spotlights will not suddenly become illegal. Overall, the shift away from traditional lightbulbs will also save households across the UK money on their energy bills.

What is the alternative?

Our preferred alternative, and seemingly that of the UK Government, are LEDs. They use just 16W of energy to produce 1600 lumens, while they have a life span of 20+ years. Therefore, although the initial cost of LEDs can be high, they tend to save between £45 and £75 in energy over ten years. And if you’re saving money, using less energy and producing less waste, we at King’s Energy are happy.

As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!

The ‘why’ behind our Listening Campaign

You may have seen our recent Listening Campaign, which we launched with the help of Student Success. In this blog, we’d like to tell you a little more about why we’re running this campaign. 

First, a little about the campaign.  

The Sustainability Team are currently developing a few exciting projects including the sustainability KEATS module, the sustainability conversations initiative, King’s Climate Action Strategy, and supporting diversity further within environmental sustainability.  

While we could easily plan and develop these projects ourselves, they may not be as effective, relevant or engaging because ‘we’ (the Sustainability Team) are not representative of the entire King’s community, nor will we be as innovative as a larger and more diverse group of individuals. Rather, our aim is to ensure these projects are developed with staff and students in mind, to ensure they are co-created from start to finish. The campaign, therefore, takes the form of 30–40-minute one-to-one conversations between students/staff and a trained volunteer. 

Sustainability is a framework encompassing a wide range of interconnected issues that impact people’s everyday lives in different ways. Given the opportunity sustainability gives us to envision and build a better world for all, it is vital that any solutions, projects and initiatives be informed by an intersectional approach and that they be co-created. Community organising and one-to-ones are one way we can achieve this. 

What are one-to-ones? 

One-to-one (or relational) conversations are the cement of community organising. So, let’s take a step back and briefly discuss community organising. 

In case you did not know, King’s are institutional partners with Citizens UK (in fact, we are the first university to have a partnership of this kind). Our understanding of community organising is therefore very much aligned with Citizens UK’s definition (you can find out more about this here). The three key foundations of community organising are the following:  

  • Power – If we want to make a change, we need power. How do we divert power from traditional power structures? How do we shift from top-down power to relational power? By combining the different experiences and expertise of individuals, we build a much stronger force to create positive change.  
  • People – Centre the people impacted by the issue/topic at hand. Talk to the source of what’s going on.  
  • Leadership – Never do for others what they can do for themselves. The people closest to the problem are often the people best suited to solve the problem, so let’s empower them to become leaders.  

Thus, community organising is about realising that we have power and bringing diverse groups of people together to create the change they want to see. And the key to bringing people together is building relationships, which leads us to relational one-to-ones.  

Relational one-to-ones are intentional conversations that generally last 30-45 minutes. They are not an interview, survey or simple chit-chat. Rather, they seek to go beyond the surface and facilitate sharing from both individuals. The goal is to uncover each individual’s core values, motivations, self-interest and in doing so, find common ground. One-to-ones enable us to build rapport and trust, develop a public relationship, and ultimately, build a strong network of diverse individuals working together to create change that benefits them all.   

Join us in co-creating exciting sustainability projects by signing up for your one-to-one here. 

If you have any questions about the campaign, get in touch with us! 


King’s Energy: How to save energy at home – summer edition

This guest blog comes from Mason Cole, MA Politics and Contemporary History student and Sustainability Champion Assistant (SCA), supporting the King’s Energy Team.

As our eagle-eyed followers may recall, we provided some DIY energy-saving tips in the winter months ranging from the use of tin foil behind your radiators to clingfilm around your windows! Given that we’ve now had the hottest day of the year, it is definitely time for the summer edition, and this time there will be no tin foil or clingfilm, we promise. Read on for our 5 energy-saving ideas for the summer.

Don’t use the tumble-dryer

Let’s start off with a nice easy one. Those of you with a tumble-dryer and who pay energy bills will be aware of just how much energy they use and how expensive this can be for you. So why not give your clothes and your wallet some time off by letting them dry naturally? Invest in a washing line and let nature do its work!

Switch to LEDs

Yes, yes, we know – we are always plugging LEDs, but here it’s not only about how much energy they could save you, it’s also about heat. Traditional lighting produces large amounts of radiated heat as well as light. While LEDs do still produce heat, this is far less than regular halogen or incandescent bulbs. In short, with less heat in your house thanks to more energy-efficient bulbs, there will be less cooling (and therefore energy) required – no brainer!

Air conditioning setting

Summer days can be unbearably hot, so we fully understand using air conditioning units. However, the minimum you are recommended to set these to is 5oC lower than the outside temperature, so that is probably no more than 24oC. If you choose the lowest setting, the unit will use more energy to produce it and the difference in temperature will be very minimal.

Turn down the water heater

By no means are we advocating cold showers during these glorious few months of sunshine, but we don’t need those steaming winter showers to wake us up in the morning anymore. Therefore, if you have a manual water heater you can turn the temperature down slightly to reflect this and save both energy and money in the process.

Don’t open your windows

We’ve all been there; sweating in the sweltering heat, throwing the windows open in the desperate hope of tempting a non-existent breeze. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. When you open your curtains (or any form of window covering) and your windows, the sunlight enters your house and heats it up. In adding a few more degrees for you to wage war on, you will likely use more unnecessary energy trying to remove it through using fans or air conditioning units. It may seem depressing to keep the windows and curtains closed throughout the summer, but you only need to do it when the full sun is out. That means you can throw them open once it passes…but beware of the mosquitos.

So there you have it – our 5 DIY tips on how to save energy at home during the summer months. Thanks to these tips, you will save money and energy (and you also won’t need to awkwardly explain why you have tin foil sticking out the back of your radiator…). Tune in to this week’s #TakeoverTuesday to put what you’ve learned to the test!

As always, if you have any further questions or want to get involved with King’s Energy, get in touch!

Sustainability Stories: Emilie Vandame

Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

My name is Émilie, my pronouns are she/her and I am originally from Lyon, France. I graduated from King’s in 2020 after completing a bachelor’s in human geography. Currently, I’m doing a master’s degree in Innovation, Human Development and Sustainability at the University of Geneva, on my way to professionalize my passion for gender+ equality. Parallel to my master’s degree, I’m interning at the Women’s Human Rights and Gender Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Doing our best to fight against the exploitation of resources, people and living creatures and working towards guaranteeing human rights, equality and inclusivity for all.

Can you identify a specific moment or turning point in your life that sparked your interest in sustainability?

It’s been a long process through which I’ve learned to become more aware and critical of my surroundings, the systems we are in, and what’s going on around the world.

In high school, I started to learn to make parallels between wider global processes and the experiences of people every day and what that meant for the future. During my time at King’s I was able to learn about sustainability theoretically – specifically environmental sustainability. I was also able to conduct research on the ground and always in a very humanizing perspective which was really thought-provoking.

Though I’m still passionate about environmental sustainability today, my focus is more on social sustainability, specifically equality, inclusivity and visibility of women, non-binary persons & LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities.

In what ways did your experience at King’s and in London shape your understanding of sustainability?

Being in London was a big part of my sustainability journey. In my opinion, having the privilege of living in such a big city and studying at such a prestigious university comes with the duty of being aware and doing what you can to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. The opportunities to learn more and be more active are there, I felt like I just had to make the effort. That definitely pushed me in terms of my own behaviour and habits.

Studying geography at King’s, sustainability was always in the background of everything, if not the main topic. But I would say that the most useful skill I was able to hone was how to be critical; I’ve learned to question everything from the ways things work at different scales to the systems we are implicitly part of.

Tell us more about your master’s degree – why did you choose it? What has been your greatest learning so far?

I wanted my postgraduate studies to leave behind the theory and research that made up a lot of my undergraduate degree. I wanted to complete internships, learn skills to professionalize my knowledge and be able to get a job straight after. Though I definitely wanted a human/social focus, at that time I wasn’t set on one specific topic but wanted to work at the intersection of everything sustainability encompasses. This really reduced the number of masters I could apply to.

My master’s degree focuses on finding innovative solutions for the UN Sustainable Development Goals. It’s anchored in the International Geneva system of international organizations and partners working towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which means we have many guest speakers who share about what they do and how we can help, and we also have access to internships within this network.

The best way I’ve found to really explain what this degree is like is to say that it’s like an MBA but for sustainability and development solutions. The focus is on practical skills rather than theory. This means that there is a huge diversity of people, backgrounds and interests within it, not all from the social sciences. 98% of my assignments are group work and we learn so much from each other.

I think my greatest learning so far has been understanding that anything can be observed through the sustainability lens. Sustainability can take so many different forms and each person can contribute in their own way.

How do you take action on sustainability? How can others take action around these issues?

As a 20 and so-year old, I feel like I have a responsibility to embed sustainability in my life the best I can. I have studied it, I hope to link my career to it in some way, I let it influence the way I advance through life and my habits. Yes, sometimes it gets tiring and I feel hopeless; yes, governments and big corporations should take more radical action. But if not us, who? And if not now, when?

The most important step I’ve taken in my everyday life is trying my best to be vegan. In my opinion, it’s the step that makes the most sense in terms of environmental sustainability. Once you develop new habits and master some favourite recipes, it becomes easier. And it’s not about being perfect! Another step is to buy as little fast fashion (and from Amazon) as possible, secondhand stores and apps are the way to go! And finally, voting and attending climate protests, if you are able to.

How do you think we can bring more people together around these issues?

I actually just had a conversation about this with a friend. We were talking about the fact that in the field of sustainability, the focus is often on environmental sustainability. People often miss the human rights focus or forget people and social issues when talking about sustainability. This really makes it more difficult to promote the concept and get people on board with it, because they don’t realize how it includes so many diverse areas of life and how heavily they are linked, for example not recognizing how environmental degradation will hurt the most vulnerable or how women’s rights deeply impact every aspect of society up to environmental degradation.

Can you recommend a book, resource or activist for anyone who’d like to learn more about sustainability?

I recommend watching the mockumentary called Carnage, directed by Simon Amstell and available on the BBC website. It’s set in 2067 and looks back on today’s society from the perspective of veganism as the norm – it’s fun and thought-provoking!

Thank you, Emilie! The ‘Sustainability Stories’ series seeks to highlight the work and passion of individuals from across the King’s community. If you have a story to tell or would like to get involved, get in touch with us.