Author: Jone De Roode Jauregui (Page 1 of 8)

We need you! Making lab-based research more sustainable

This guest blog post was written by Greg Anderson – Associate Director of Research Infrastructure in the Research Management & Innovation Directorate at King’s College London.


It’s an uncomfortable truth that our lab-based research activity uses a lot of energy and so, unavoidably contributes to climate change. I think the societal impact of our research more than justifies this, but I suspect there are few among us who want us, as a community of researchers, to use less energy if we can.

Image of a group of people standing in a lab in safety clothes.

In this vein, if you work in the Health Schools, there is a strong possibility that you can help us do exactly that in a very meaningful way. Ultra Low Temperature (ULT) or -80C freezers – whatever you call them – those Goliaths that sit purring in the corner and hurt our fingers each time we go in them, are one of the most important pieces of equipment we have in our labs. They keep our valuable samples safe and ensure the data we extract from them is reliable – hence the panic when they go silent or despair when you find one sitting in a puddle of its own making. They’re also one of the most energy-hungry pieces of equipment. Each one uses about the same amount of energy as the average 3-bedroom home, and many of the older models can use twice that amount. Not only do they draw a lot of power directly, but they also require a similar amount of energy to cool the space they occupy because they throw out so much heat to function. For the record – across our campuses at King’s we have over 550 of them!

As a user of these freezers, you may be aware that some contain – let’s call it – stuff, that is perhaps less valuable than the rest of it. Maybe you know what I mean!? That box of unlabelled Eppendorf tubes left in there 6 years ago; that bag of 50ml Falcon tubes with unidentifiable bits of tissue in; dare I say it – the samples that your soon-to-retire group leader still has in there from their PhD days. What we would love your help with, as things wind down for Christmas, is to grab a coffee with your group leader and nail down what contents can go! Perhaps muster support from colleagues, don some grotesque Christmas jumpers for extra thermal protection and Maria Kondo your ULT freezers together! Even better, organise the contents and make accurate records of the samples that need keeping so that they’re easy to find.

Now on its own, this is not going to solve anything; in fact, the more space you have in your freezer, the more air that can rush in and warm up your samples each time you open the door. This request is ultimately about consolidating the samples we keep and to make this work we need you to combine your efforts across research departments, and likely your local technical team, to have the greatest impact. The technical leads in your areas are already working hard to consolidate samples and may be able to help with shared space allocation between research groups in individual freezers. Which in turn means your teams can take advantage of a King’s wide freezer replacement scheme.

King’s has initiated a £1M scheme that offers departments the opportunity to trade in any two ULT freezers that are older than 10 years old and in exchange, receive a brand new, fully racked (to your specifications) market-leading, ultra-efficient model (CryoCube F570h). So, this is your chance to help get rid of those freezers in your department that no one wants to put their samples in because they’re on their last legs (and are coincidentally the most energy inefficient). Each freezer taken away either goes to UniGreen Scheme for resale, or SLS to be dismantled for useful parts or sustainably disposed of. The fate of every freezer is tracked as part of this project so that we can be confident that no wastage occurs.

How will this make a difference? If we can collectively reduce the contents of our ULT freezers by just 10%, we can remove 50 of our least energy-efficient freezers across King’s and replace them with 25 ultra-efficient new ones, saving over 273,750 kilowatt-hours over the course of a year — enough energy to power more than 83 average UK homes. That’s a lot of energy and valuable space saved!

If you want to find out more about the scheme and the wider aims of the project, please visit our SharePoint site, where you will also find tips and tricks on how to optimise sample density.


FoDOCS students learning about the SDGs, the importance of green spaces and similarities between caring and growing

This blog post was written by Dr Flora Smyth Zahra, Clinical Senior Lecturer in Interdisciplinarity & Innovation Dental Education.


All two hundred of the new cohort of dental and hygiene therapy students at the Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences (FoDOCS) are being introduced early on to sustainable education approaches including collaborating, creative problem solving, cross-disciplinary content and critical thinking.

Within their first Clinical Humanities & Wellbeing module ‘Object Research for Beginning & Belonging’ they ‘Demonstrate through participation in all module activities a willingness to engage with new ways of looking and thinking about education and oral health care delivery with reference to the UN 2030 sustainable development goals.’ They also, ‘Relate the importance of flourishing for university learning to a commitment to life-long learning and have explored different approaches to self-care for a sustainable and healthy working life.’ (Learning outcomes taken from the Module).

As such, alongside guest speaker sessions on global oral health, cultural competency, leadership and indeed gardening and sustainability, they are also framing their learning around the SDGs and considering what they each might contribute as future change agents. Curricular time has also been given to wellbeing with students posting photographs on their KEATS discussion fora of outings across London, walking in the parks and exploring green spaces. Learning about stewardship followed by the simple activity of growing and nurturing cress seeds on their window sills and residences has struck many as a real parallel with their future roles as care givers and clinicians.

This is the first module in a yearly series of sustainable health care education over the three and five year degree programmes that is core to all undergraduate students in FoDOCS.

Vishwa's close-up picture of grass

Vishwa’s green space

Meghna's picture of sunset/sunrise by the lake

Meghna’s green space

Rita's cress picture

Rita’s cress

Nina's picture of horses

Nina’s green space

Yiran's plant growing in a bowl

Yiran’s cress

Hishaam picture of a green park

Hishaam’s green space

Hamayl's picture of information in nature

Hamayl and the Ada Salter gardens close to our Guy’s campus

Showcase your work at the London Student Sustainability Conference 2023

Calling all students at King’s College London! 

Join this unique opportunity to showcase your sustainability work in front of an inter-university audience and to network with other like-minded students.  

Group picture from LSSC 2022 showing people holding up SDG signs.

Group picture taken at LSSC 2022.

The London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) is back again in February 2023 for its fifth edition. This conference is a platform for any students at a London University to showcase their work related to the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The event welcomes students, staff, professionals, and members of the public to listen and engage with student research and projects in the field of sustainability. During the event, students exhibit their research and projects through presentations, posters and workshops, followed by an early evening networking reception. 

This year’s Conference is a collaboration between King’s and 9 other London universities: City, GCU, Imperial, Kingston, LSE, South Bank, UCL, Greenwich, and Westminster. 

This is a great opportunity to share your work with a diverse audience, practice presentation skills and network with students, staff and professionals interested in sustainability from universities across London and beyond! 

Find out how to apply here. Deadline: 4th of December. 

Registrations for tickets to attend will open in January 2023. Stay tuned by subscribing to the King’s Sustainability newsletter and following King’s Sustainability on Instagram. 

Read about LSSC 2022.  

Weathervane: We Not I 

Tuesday 15th November, 17:00-19:30, Strand Campus Great Hall

Person holding up a poster saying "13% of homes in fuel poverty" in a museumOn Tuesday 15th November King’s Culture Climate Collective is presenting Weathervane: We Not I, a joyful evening of collective artmaking and a student-led call to action from the Great Hall on Strand Campus.

As COP27 approaches and millions of young people once again hold their breath for meaningful political action, how do we create space for King’s students to share their climate hopes and fears, their dreams for a just and sustainable future?

Weathervane answers that call, featuring a range of empowering activities including:

  • The creation of We Are A Sea, a live unfolding mass artwork led by artist Beccy McCray exploring our relationship to water through the mixing of plant dyes
  • A talk from youth social justice organiser Simmone Ahiaku about how to turn climate anxiety into hope, resistance, and change
  • A showcase of specially created climate justice posters created by King’s students
  • The creation of the Climate Action Network Collective Manifesto, The Wall of Hope, a sustainable crochet masterclass and more!

Refreshments will be provided. Open to all students and stuff, however space is limited. RSVP via Eventbrite.

We want to hear from you! Have your chance to win £500 cash 

Graphic with the text "Fancy winning £500? Complete our survey by 13th November 2022 on what you're learning and the skills you're developing and it could be you! Visit https://online.snapsurveys.com/UniSkillsSurvey" and the Students Organising for Sustainability United Kingdom logo,All students at King’s College London can be in with a chance of winning £500 by completing an online confidential survey about your time at university or college and the skills you develop for getting a job. 

The short survey, which is being run in conjunction with SOS-UK, will take about 15 minutes to complete. The closing date is 13th November 2022 and students will be entered into a draw to win £500 or one of 10 £50 runner-up prizes. 

To take part in the survey log on to https://online.snapsurveys.com/UniSkillsSurvey  

Experience participating in a climate migration programme

This blog post was written by Leander Bischof, International Development student at King’s College London.


In this blog post, I am describing my experience with the Erasmus+ programme on climate migration and unaccompanied minors in Sevilla. The programme was delivered by the local partner organization INCOMA (International Consulting And Mobility Agency Sociedad De Responsabilidad Limitada).

I had a fantastic experience with the hosting organization and the facilities they used. In general, this trip was well organized from the start to the end. I first noticed this programme through an advertisement by King’s College London. Throughout the application process and afterwards, during the introduction and preparations for the training, the staff was very helpful and professional. The pick-up at the airport went smoothly and all other transportation was delivered reliably. Throughout the training, INCOMA staff members were always available to support us. The hotel accommodating us was of very high quality, which made this a very pleasant experience. Most importantly, the training was fully funded, flights, transportation, hotel, and food expenses were fully covered.

Additionally, the participants were well chosen, all were from extremely interesting backgrounds. One of my highlights during the training programme were the presentations of other training participants about their experience with climate migration since the chance to listen and have a talk with such people is usually very rare. It was particularly inspiring to listen to the participants from Laamiga, a London-based organization that supports and empowers migrant women in the UK. I am also thankful that the programme allowed me to make friends with such inspiring people and I hope to stay in contact with them. The training usually finished in the early afternoon and thus, we were given enough time to socialize and explore the city. I am sure there is excellent travel advice on the internet, so I will not go too much into detail about the location. However, I really recommend visiting the Plaza de Espana and the Alcazar, both very beautiful places. Luckily, we were provided with 25€ per day, which allowed us to visit these tourist attractions and try excellent Spanish food.

The programme itself consisted of 6 days of training. On the first day, we mostly received introductions into the training programme and the overall issue of climate migration. We talked about expectations we had for the programme and our reasons to join. The first day did not contain much training but was rather used to allow us time to familiarize ourselves with the other participants and the city of Sevilla.

On the second day we mainly focused on mental health and its importance for both migrants and people working with migrants. We learned how crucial a good mental health condition is to be able to support migrants in their struggles. The training provided many useful information on how to improve the mental wellbeing of yourself and others. Later, we listened to the presentations of other participants. The first presentation was by two social workers from Italy, the second was about volunteering experience in France and the third presentation was about immigration in the UK. My highlight of the day was surely the third presentation by one of the Laamiga members about their work and issues they and other organizations face due to UK politics.

The third day of training was about the inclusion of migrants into educational and vocational pathways. The presentations of that day focused on migration from Bangladesh and on national identities. An important learning outcome was that the domestic population often reacts very repellent and that much work needs to be done to deal with aggressions, fears, and stereotypes in the local population.

Day four included more information on mental health issues of refugees and how to help in overcoming traumas. We also heard a very impressive presentation from a Turkish reporter about illegal pushbacks by the Greek coastguard in the Mediterranean Sea. Her presentation included one of her documentaries, showing refugees on completely overcrowded rubber boats who where troubled by a large boat of the Greek coastguard. It showed the aggressive and endangering behaviour of the European Union to prevent refugees from entering their waters, which has led to so many tragedies in the Mediterranean Sea. In the afternoon, we were invited for an Erasmus+ evaluation session on the training programme.

The next day was my favourite day of the week. Since we could not visit a refugee centre in Sevilla due to Covid-19 outbreaks, we had the head of the refugee reception centres in Sevilla come to us. His presentation had a strong focus on the reception system in Spain and on the issue of climate migration. Afterwards, we listened to the presentation of a cultural mediator who works with unaccompanied minors in Italy. Hearing his presentation was very captivating and inspiring. The presenter himself came as an unaccompanied minor from Gambia to Italy, taking the backbreaking route to Europe which so many African migrants have taken, and which has costs so many lives. Through the deadly Sahara Desert to Libya, where kidnappers and modern slave traders are preying on migrants, to the Mediterranean Sea where people spend many days on overcrowded rubber boat and finally to Italy. It was very humbling to hear from such a first-hand experience about these hardships.

The programme of the final day consisted of a visit to the Bioalverde farm, an inclusion project for climate migrants in Sevilla. On this organic farm, migrants who were unable to find a job are given the chance to earn a living. Sustainability in every sense was the main maxim of the farm, greatly supported by the local population. This last day was a fantastic ending for this trip.

On the next day, early in the morning we were brought back to the airport and flew back to London. In total, I can say the training programme was an amazing experience, and I am highly recommending this to all interested students and staff members at my university.


Find out more about Kairos: http://kairoseurope.co.uk/

Find out more about the training opportunities: https://migrationresearchgroup.wordpress.com/

Join the King’s Climate Action Network Re-Launch (18th of October)

Image of a group of students sitting in front of a King's building and the text "Join the climate action network"How can King’s take a leadership role in addressing the climate crisis? Join our King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) re-launch event to find out what the CAN is, what our plans are for this year, start discussing actions, and meet each other. This year, there will be paid and volunteering opportunities, and a range of trainings and workshops.

All King’s staff, students, and alumni are welcome to attend the re-launch event on the 18th of October (4.30-6.30pm) in JCMB G. 16. Refreshments and snacks will be provided! Sign up to the CAN here, or email us if you have any questions.


The King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum which aims to bring together people from the King’s community who are passionate about sustainability and climate. 

Throughout the next year, the CAN will implement actions from the co-created Sustainability & Climate Action Plan through dedicated Take Action teams. These teams will be led by trained and paid student project managers (~8 hours per month) and will cover topics from education to food. 

The network is open to anyone at King’s – students, staff, alumni – as well as our key external partners. No prior knowledge is required. Climate action is an area the King’s community is increasingly passionate and concerned about, and we want to make sure that anyone who wants to contribute gets that chance. The next few years will be critical for climate action, and we have lots to do at King’s if we want to become net zero and ultimately absolute zero! 

Join King’s climate action movement now.

Student Review of Enrolling on and Co-Creating King’s Sustainability and Climate Change #TakeAction Module

This guest blog post was written by student and KEATS TakeAction team member Oliver Yu Hurst.


Who am I?

Hello! My name is Oliver Yu Hurst and I’m studying a part-time MSc in Climate Change: Environment, Science & Policy in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. I graduated from Queen Mary University of London in 2021 with a BSc in Geography with Business Management. I aspire to gain a career along the interface between academia and social-environmental justice working within public, social enterprise and/or non-governmental organisation (NGO) sectors.

First impressions of the pilot module?

I was pleasantly surprised to come across topics not covered in my education journey so far, which is always very refreshing! This included perception framing, digital sustainability and the various ways King’s is decarbonizing and embedding sustainability throughout its activities (with, as always, more to be done/continue doing). Seminars with professionals about, for example, the neuroscience of eco-anxiety or how to ‘bring climate change home’ by highlighting its interconnections with everyday life, are some of several events that made the module engaging.

Joining the Take Action Team

The opportunity to join the Take Action team and add/improve content, was the absolute highlight. I contributed at least 12,000 words, leading on What is Sustainability, Climate Crisis and Social Sustainability sections, whilst coming across resources to help brainstorm ideas for my MSc dissertation.

I was adamant that ‘critical lenses’ of sustainability and climate change were integrated throughout as they are often discussed/practiced through a narrow (Western, Global North) perspective. Dreaming, implementing and governing just pathways out of the climate crisis require transcending dominant narratives of development and learning/unlearning downplayed or silenced voices.

Skills & Experience Gained?

Ensuring content is understandable and accessible for all has developed my skills in science communication, adaptability, and critical thinking. I also helped organize events and create/edit audio of podcast episodes. This was a fantastic experience to interview staff from an NGO I volunteer for, the Environmental Investigation Agency. I look forward to developing public speaking skills during a Q&A event with the Collective for Climate Action (another organization I volunteer with), in February 2023 – look-out!

Greatest Challenge?

Given my passion for the topics and their infinite scope, it was difficult to avoid information-overload. Several times when I had to reflect on the bigger picture and remember key learning objectives of the module, which helped condense content. The Take Action Team’s auditing and peer-review sessions were also very useful.

Final thoughts and why you should join the module and/or Take Action team!

Joining this module will broaden your conception of sustainability and climate change and importance of understanding alternative perspectives, if we hope to transition to more just and inclusive futures for all of (non)human Nature.

The Take Action team welcomes any students, staff or alumni, to add/improve content or help with communications. You will not only gain behind-the-scenes into Keats, but also feel closer to the university by engaging with various academic and professional services staff. Finally, for anyone interested in a career in education, sustainability, climate science/action, this is an invaluable opportunity for you.


Sign up to the Sustainability & Climate Module now, launching on the 11th of October.

Welcome to King’s Sustainability: events

Are you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? This Welcome Fortnight, the Sustainability team have prepared an exciting range of events for you to learn more about climate and sustainability. Check them out below. You can also find us at various hubs and fairs – come have a chat!

Introduction to Sustainability

12/09/2022, 14:00-14:45 Online Are you passionate about sustainability and want to make a difference? Join the King’s Sustainability Team to learn more about what King’s is doing around sustainability, and how you can get involved.
Climate Action at King’s 13/09/2022, 15:00-16:00 Online What action is King’s taking on the climate crisis? How can you take individual and collective climate action while at King’s?

Join this session to find out more about King’s recently approved Climate & Sustainability Action Plan and opportunities to get involved in climate action at King’s.

Volunteering for Sustainability 14/09/2022, 14:00-15:00 Online

Passionate about sustainability and climate change? Want to do more to help local communities?

Join King’s Volunteering and King’s Sustainability to find out how you can take action for sustainability and volunteer to help meet the UN Sustainability Development Goals.

Projects include: Climate Action Network, Sustainability Champions programme, KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and education for sustainability mapping project.

You will also learn more about the King’s Volunteering platform, discover sustainability-related opportunities with our partner charities and organisations and find out how to log hours/get recognition for the volunteering work you do.

Explore sustainability at King’s and discover volunteering opportunities that are directly tied to the SDGs to kickstart your sustainability journey!

This event is for all students at King’s.

Take action on sustainability at home 15/09/2022, 15:00-16:00 Online Do you care about sustainability but not sure where to start? Join this session to hear some useful tips from the King’s Sustainability Team on how to be more sustainable (and possibly even save some money!) in the home environment.
Sustainability & Volunteering Creative Hackathon 20/09/2022, 14:00-16:00 Strand MB4.2 Join us in exploring ways to change the world during your time at King’s! We’ll be tackling the UN Sustainable Development Goals through Sustainability and Volunteering projects at King’s and in our local communities.

Let’s get creative – in this hackathon, we’ll provide a range of creative prompts and art supplies to help you create solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges. You’ll get to know other students, think about social and environmental impact, and work together to imagine the answers and shape the future direction of the Sustainability, Volunteering and Culture teams.

We’ll provide snacks, refreshments & art supplies!
This event is for all students at King’s.

Tour a sustainable lab at King’s 21/09/2022, 13:30-15:30 Guy’s campus – Guys Memorial Garden Join this session to learn more about sustainable labs at King’s!

Labs are extremely energy and resource intensive, so you’ll hear about what labs at King’s are doing on their sustainability journey. You’ll explore why lab sustainability is important, while also experiencing a guided tour of two labs to see what they’re doing.

There will be lots of space for questions with lab sustainability champions, and you’ll hear more about what you can do to get involved!

Sustainability games night 22/09/2022, 16:00-18:00 Strand MB2.2 Are you interested in learning more about sustainability? Or want to prove your sustainable knowledge? Join our quiz night that’ll be full of games, quizzes and competition! It’ll be a great session to meet like-minded students and the King’s Sustainability Team while learning more about sustainability in a fun way.
Vegan and sustainable food at King’s 23/09/2022, 15:00-17:00 Somerset Room, Strand Join this event with King’s Food and King’s Sustainability teams to find out more about vegan and sustainable food initiatives – and leave with a bag full of yummy vegan snacks!

Have a look at how you can get involved with King’s Sustainability. Make a difference during your time at King’s!

How to register

  1. You’ll need to download the Life at King’s app from the App store (you can download onto iOS and Android.)
  2. ​​​​​​You’ll need to download the Welcome to King’s Guide for all information for new students. To access this guide, you’ll need to enter our passphrase reggielion22 (no spaces)
    • The Welcome to King’s Guide will be the first stage of welcoming you into university, offering a range of information from ID card collection to new opportunities at King’s.
  3. ​​​​​When you’ve downloaded the Life at King’s app, you will need to create an account; we advise that you use your King’s email address to create an account. ​​​​​​
  4. Once you’ve set up your account, allow ‘push notifications’ on your device, so you can receive important messages.
  5. Go to Welcome Events & Workshops and scroll down to “Sustainability”
  6. Check out our events across the two weeks and register by clicking “+”

Get ready for another year of sustainability action at King’s 

Group picture at the London Student Sustainability Conference with participants holding up SDG signsAre you interested in all things sustainable and making a positive impact whilst at King’s? The Sustainability team have a range of volunteering opportunities, events, and other ways to learn more about climate and sustainability.

Enrol on the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module, volunteer in the Climate Action Network or Sustainability Champions programme, join a committee to make your residence more sustainable, or attend one of the many events throughout the year. Find out more and pick your project below! 

KEATS Sustainability Module, Seminar Series, and Take Action Team
The online module on Sustainability & Climate is an open-access and interdisciplinary module covering the biggest topics in sustainability from climate change and food to sustainable finance and social justice. It has been fully co-created by a Take Action Team which currently includes about 50 students, staff, and alumni members. It has been complemented by a Sustainability Seminar Series and other events to build a sense of community and support participants in developing transferable skills. The module and seminar series are relaunching in October 2022. Register here. 

King’s Climate Action Network
The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) is an open, interdisciplinary forum bringing together people from the King’s community who are passionate about climate action. It was created in October 2020 to co-create the university’s approach to climate action and now has more than 300 members. It focuses on solutions to reduce our carbon emissions while maximising our positive impact on climate action, through 7 themes: Zero Carbon Estate, Procurement and Waste, Travel, Responsible Investment, Students & Education, Community & Engagement, and Zero Carbon Research. Join the King’s CAN 

One of the current CAN projects is the climate listening campaign in our local communities which aims to hear first-hand about the climate and sustainability challenges they face and to identify how King’s students and staff can work with them. Get involved. 

Sustainability Champions
The university’s Sustainability Champions are staff who work on campus and in our residences to make King’s a more sustainable working environment; reducing the negative and maximising the positive social and environmental impacts. Throughout the year, Sustainability Champions work on implementing projects and actions and working toward gaining a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award. Find out more. 

Sustainability Month
King’s Sustainability Month takes place every year in February. This month is a collaboration between King’s and KCLSU that offers all those involved an opportunity to learn more about sustainability topics, collaborate and connect with others from across King’s and #TakeAction on the climate crisis. The month includes exciting events organised by people from across the King’s community focused on one or more of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Check out Sustainability Month 2022 

King’s Community Garden
Did you know King’s has a Community Garden on campus? Email kingscommunitygarden@kcl.ac.uk if you would like to contribute to this garden or get more information. Check out how to find King’s Wolfson Card Courtyard Community Garden here.

Podcast
The King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast aims to draw attention to sustainability at King’s and beyond. The goal is to get you thinking about some of the issues and challenges we face regarding climate change and the natural world by highlighting some of the excellent work surrounding sustainability happening at King’sand on a local, national and global level. Start listening here. 

Sustainable Residences
Students living in King’s Residences can participate in the Sustainable Living Community buddy scheme and join the Sustainable Living Communities Facebook group. 

 

If you want to set up your own sustainability project with friends, a society, or individually, you can also get in touch with the team for support. Any ideas, feedback, things to promote, are always welcome: sustainability@kcl.ac.uk. 

All of those who make a significant contribution to sustainability at King’s will be recognised through the Sustainability Awards and/or the King’s Experience Champion for Change Awards.

Expand your positive impact to local communities by signing up to volunteer with King’s Volunteering.  

Make a difference during your time at King’s! Group photo of Sustainability Award attendees and Senior Leaders.

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