Category: Events (Page 1 of 8)

Organise an event for Sustainability Month – February 2022

We cannot wait for this year’s Sustainability Month which will take place in February 2022. The three main themes will be: take action (on sustainable issues), sustainable education and climate justice. We also welcome a variety of sustainability-themed events – not only environmental sustainability, but social and economic sustainability-focused events too. 

If you would like to organise an event as a part of this month, you can submit your information via this form by December 16th.  The events can be either fully online or hybrid. 

Previous events have included panel discussions, DIY workshops, clothes swaps, careers events and more. You can get some inspiration from last year’s Sustainability Month here 

COP26: a climate conference dubbed the most critical one in a generation (daily updates)

COP26 has been dubbed “the world’s best last chance to get runaway climate change under control”. But what is it really? What are the hopes and expectations? And what does it all mean for King’s and yourself? 

What is COP26? 

The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, is the most critical climate conference in a generation, aiming to get international agreement and mobilise finance to secure global net zero by mid-century, adapt to protect communities and natural habitats, and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. This year’s conference is hosted by the UK in partnership with Italy and is taking place between 31 October and 12 November. 

This Conference of Parties (COP) takes place annually and previous sessions have produced some of the most critical global deals, including the Paris Climate Agreement which came out of COP21 in 2015. This saw 189 UN member states agree to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 °C. COP25 did not have significant achievements, so the pressure is on to produce tangible outcomes from COP26. 

The main discussion will centre around the following points: 

  1. Increase commitments (NDCs) to ensure 1.5 °C is credibly within reach by 2030 and global net zero by 2050. 
  2. Develop clear strategies for adaptation to protect communities and natural habitats (e.g. by restoring ecosystems and building defences). 
  3. Commit to a global finance package of $100 billion to help developing nations mitigate and adapt to climate change. 

What can we expect? 

The hopes for this conference to drive real change are high – and the urgency to do so even higher. Pope Francis called it “a real chance for change”, and Boris Johnson emphasised how COP26 must be a “turning point for humanity”. But what can we realistically expect? 

Although most world leaders have expressed the importance of this conference, the required action is lagging behind. There is a need for near-term policy action and large investments, which is where political leaders often become more hesitant. This again became clear at the recent G20 summit which saw an agreement to take “meaningful and effective” action to limit global warming but few concrete commitments. 

Throughout the conference, the finance aspect will represent one of the main challenges. The scientific community agrees that although addressing the climate emergency might seem costly, inaction will be much costlier in addition to destructive. The developed countries’ plan to deliver $100bn of global climate finance is expected to be met and exceeded from 2023 (three years late from the initial 2020 target). However, more adaptation support for the most impacted countries is required and further trillions need to be mobilised for climate transitions. The debate is largely around the question: how responsible are developed nations for the current climate crisis, and therefore, to what extent should they be obliged to pay for developing nations’ mitigation and adaptation measures?

COP26 & King’s 

This is a huge opportunity for the UK, and the education sector in particular, to show the brilliant work that education institutions are doing on this agenda, and it is also a good time to stock take and look at how institutions can do more (EAUC). 

COP26 is not only about political leaders – there is a range of non-state actors which are involved and are a key part of delivering on any climate decisions that are made, as well as of demanding more ambition. This includes civil society, businesses, financial institutions, NGOs, and also universities. Universities are in a unique position to contribute to solutions to climate change through the nature of our core work in education and research and through our ability to bring people together. And we also have the responsibility to do so.

The societal, economic, political, and technological transformations required to address climate change will be driven by world-class research. Therefore, part of our action strategy includes contributing our expertise to maximise the impact of COP26. Several of King’s climate researchers will be speaking at COP26 events. Kris De Meyer, for example, is running an online event with Chatham House on policy pathways from climate risk to policy action. Grace Souza will be in Scotland supporting indigenous delegations travelling from Brazil to Glasgow for COP26. Tamsin Edwards will be speaking at several events, including “Polar warming, global warning”, and “Inclusion is key: How gender equality improves science, tech and innovation for climate action” (streamed on the UK Gov YouTube channel).  

King’s is also actively collaborating with the wider sector through the COP26 Universities Network – a growing group of more than 80 UK-based universities and research centres working together to raise ambition for tangible outcomes from the UN COP26 Climate Change Conference. The Network will create lasting partnerships and legacies that reach beyond this single event. 

COP26 & you 

How does any of this affect you personally? COP26 might be an important conference, but the action that is taken on the ground is far more important, and that includes you. There is a range of ways you can get involved in climate action at King’s and beyond. 

  1. Join the King’s Climate Action Network to drive climate action at King’s by reducing our emissions and maximising our positive impact through education, research, and engagement.  
  2. Participate in one of King’s many sustainability projects and initiatives. 
  3. Explore King’s sustainable clubs and societies such as the Climate Action Society. 
  4. Sign petitions, write to your MP, attend climate protests… Check out this page for the 16 most effective ways to reduce your carbon pollution. 

There is no right or wrong way to take climate action. It is about finding what works for you and working on it together. Together we can change climate change.  

Useful resources & relevant events 

King’s resources 

  1. Check out COP26-specific events here, and keep an eye out for climate-related events here beyond the conference. 
  2. Listen to King’s COP26: we got this podcast. While you are at it, also check out the King’s Spotlight on Sustainability podcast – the first season of which is focused on climate change. King’s WORLD: we got this podcast also has some episodes focused on climate. 
  3. Read King’s climate scientist Tamsin Edwards’ blog post evaluating the success of COP26

General resources 

  1. Follow the following social media accounts to stay up to date throughout the conference: @cop26uk for the official news, @cop26.tv for an alternative view, @cop26coalition for a focus on climate justice, and @mockcop26 for a youth-led perspective.  
  2. The majority of public events will be streamed live on the COP26 YouTube channel. 
  3. Check out this jargon buster to make sure you understand the terminology being used at COP26. 
  4. Have a look at this infographic which summarises COP26 in an easily consumable but comprehensive way. 
  5. Check out this two-week course to explore global issues during COP26 and be part of the call for collective action: Learning for a Sustainable Future: Live at COP26. 

 

Daily updates 

Below we will include daily updates about the conference. Each day at COP26 has a specific theme that guides the conversations and events. You can find the full Presidency Programme here. 

Day 1: Procedural opening of negotiations (31 October) 

The start of COP26 follows days of tough climate negotiations among the G20 – the group of 20 major economies. Their final statement pledges “meaningful and effective” action to limit global warming, but offers few concrete commitments. The pressure is on for COP26 to produce clearer outcomes. Delegates and officials attend the Procedural Opening of the conference.

Day 2: World Leader’s Summit (1 November) 

By the end of the day, the summit’s first major deal has been struck. In this deal, more than 100 world leaders including Brazil, Russia and Indonesia promise to halt and reverse deforestation by 2030.  The signatories cover around 85% of the world’s forests.

The Indian Prime Minister also pledged to reach net zero emissions – but not until 2070. This misses a key goal of COP26 to reach global net zero by 2050.

Day 3: World Leader’s Summit (2 November) 

During the second and final day of the summit, more than 40 world leaders find agreement on a global plan to boost green technology by imposing worldwide standards and policies.

The US and EU also announce a global pledge to slash methane emissions, which more than 80 nations have signed up to.

South Africa – a major emitter of greenhouse gases – is expected to receive $8.5bn to help end its reliance on coal.

Day 4: Finance (3 November) 

The UK announces a plan to force firms to show by 2023 how they will hit net zero.

How much money should the Global North give to the Global South to take historical responsibility and support these countries’ climate transitions? Conversations address this question, but no clear answers are developed.

However, new commitments including a pledge Japan made yesterday, could speed up reaching the goal of offering $100 billion for climate finance for developing nations, paving the way to achieving it by 2022 instead of 2023.

450 organisations controlling around two-fifths of the world’s financial assets ($130 trillion dollars!) have backed a plan to support “clean” technology.

Day 5: Energy (4 November) 

This day is largely about the move away from dirty coal towards renewables. More than 40 countries have already pledged to phase out coal. However, critics say there are significant gaps with some of the most coal-dependent countries including the US, China and India not making such pledges. Another point of criticism is the silence around oil and gas.

Moreover, 20 countries including the US have pledged to end public financing for “unabated” overseas fossil fuel projects by the end of 2022.

Day 6: Youth and public empowerment (5 November) 

Marking the theme of the day, thousands of young people march through Glasgow in a mass climate protest organised by Fridays for Future Scotland. This march addresses the need for these climate discussions to move away from closed environments, making them accessible to the wider public including youth.

Nadhim Zahawi, the UK’s Education Secretary, has also mentioned changes to the primary curriculum to include a bigger emphasis on climate change and sustainability.

Day 7: Nature (6 November)  

Today is the Global Day of Action for Climate Justice. Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets to have their voices heard.

Day 8: Rest day (7 November) 

Today, events and negotiations both paused to re-energise for the second and final week of the conference.

Global Witness also shared an analysis indicating that lobbyists for big polluters have the largest delegation at COP26, “flooding the conference with corporate influence”.

Day 9: Adaptation, Loss & Damage (8 November) 

The UK has pledged £290m to help poorer countries deal with climate change. Most of this money will go to Asian and Pacific countries and is said to support climate action, conservation efforts and the promotion of low-carbon development.

Day 10: Gender and Science & Innovation (9 November) 

During today’s conversations the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and girls across the world were made central. The importance of science for efficient policies and impactful agreements was also a key focus.

The Climate Action Tracker shares its most recent analysis showing that the world is headed for global warming of 2.4C despite pledges made by several countries during COP26 – far above the 1.5C limit.

Day 11: Transport (10 November) 

Today, the first draft of the COP26 agreement was published. It calls for stronger carbon reduction targets to be confirmed by the end of 2022. Another important point is that vulnerable countries should receive more support to deal with the impacts of climate change. Negotiations will continue the next few days with the aim to publish a final agreement by the end of the day on Friday.

Day 12: Cities, Regions and Built Environment (11 November) 

A report is published estimating that the carbon footprint of COP26 is double that of COP25 in Madrid in 2019, with international flights being a significant contributor.

China and the US announce a joint pledge to speed up climate action and boost climate collaboration between the two countries.

Day 13: Closure of Negotiations (12 November) 

A second draft agreement waters down commitments to end the use of coal and other fossil fuels. The text has changed from accelerating “the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels” to accelerating “the phaseout of unabated coal power and of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels”. The inclusion of coal still represents a landmark moment. It also increases pressure as countries are asked to submit their NDCs before next year’s COP instead of the previous every 5 years. Besides, the new draft increases support for poorer countries to address climate change.

13 November: a deal is struck

The deadline to find agreement is not met, but on Saturday evening the final deal is published. This deal asks countries to resubmit their NDCs before next year’s COP with more ambitious targets to reduce emissions by 2030. The need for increased financial support (beyond the current $100bn target) from developed countries to developing countries to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change is emphasised.

A key point of criticism is the watering down of language around ending the use of coal (for the second time). After the change from phase-out of coal to the phase-out of unabated coal, it has now been changed to “phasedown” following a last minute intervention lead by India and China. The call for a phase-out of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels has remained unchanged.

Most developing countries are also not satisfied with the agreements around financial support, adaptation, and loss & damage. They argue it is not sufficient to help them address climate change – the impacts of which have already been destructive for many of them.

Although this agreement is not legally binding, it is still expected to shape global climate action over the next decades.

Explore the London Student Sustainability Conference posters

King’s Sustainability Team had the fantastic opportunity to co-host the London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) with City, University of London on Wednesday, 24th February 2021. Over 30 students presented their sustainable research and projects through presentations, posters and performances.

The posters from LSSC 2021 can be viewed here. Look out for the poster competition prize winners, including King’s students Liza Konash (BSc Nutrition) and Mia Lewis (BA International Relations) for ‘Best Overall Poster’ for the vegetable bag scheme Fetch Ur Veg.

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter.

 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #4

This blog is the fourth in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.

SWEET & SUSTAINABLE: FAIRTRADE VEGAN GLUTEN-FREE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE BAKING CLASS WITH KING’S FOOD 

Ending the month on a sweet and sustainable note, we learned how to make King’s Food’s delicious Fairtrade vegan and gluten-free brownies.  

This event, along with the Fairtrade Fortnight Launch event we hosted on 22 February,  marked the Fairtrade Fortnight festival which ran from 22 Feb to 7 March 

What is Fairtrade Fortnight? 

Fairtrade is about better prices and working conditions for producers, as well as improving local sustainability. By working with farmers, businesses and consumers, Fairtrade sets social, economic and environmental standards for food production. 

In addition to bringing awareness to the Fairtrade accreditation and its impact on producers, this year’s festival focused on ‘Climate, Fairtrade and You,’ delving into the complex links between farmers, global food productionwhat we put in our plates and the climate crisis. If you’d like to learn more about these issues, catch up on the wonderful events from this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.  

What is King’s doing to support Fairtrade?  

All teacoffee and chocolate at King’s and KCLSU is certified as Fairtrade. King’s Food has also worked to remove unsustainable brand such as Coca Colato more ethical and Fairtrade brands, such as Karma Cola. KCLSU even stocks some Fairtrade certified alcohol in the SU bars! King’s Sustainability Team, King’s Food and KCLSU run a quarterly Sustainable Food & Fairtrade Steering Group. This is open to any student or staff member at King’s to suggest sustainable ideas/projects and this is also where progress, such as King’s’ Fairtrade accreditation is reported on.  

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month 2021 – Round-Up #2

This blog is the second in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.

#TAKEACTION HACKATHON 

King’s Sustainability hosted our first-ever Sustainability Hackathon! 

Hackathons provide an opportunity for a group to work together to discuss and develop real solutions to a problem.  

We presented 4 sustainability challenges we want to tackle at King’s and attendees contributed thoughtful and insightful ways forward: 

  • How can we further support diversity within the field of sustainability (from the education of school pupils, college and university life and into careers)? 
    • Elevate and highlight sustainability role models from a diverse range of backgrounds. 
    • Recognize and discuss the interconnected roots of the climate crisis and racial and social oppression. 
    • Move beyond the over-individualistic approach to sustainability that is largely inaccessible for many, by meeting people where they are and widening the range of ways people can get involved. 
    • Seek to better understand and remove the barriers facing different people from getting involved in sustainability.  
  • What should an online open-access sustainability-focused Keats module at King’s look like? 
    • Make this module part of King’s Experience Awards or offer credit so that the module adds value to students’ educational experience. 
    • Create an interactive module with optional levels of engagement. 
    • Ensure the module includes relevant topics for students across faculties – why should students be interested? 
  • How can King’s Sustainability improve its communications to engage more students? 
    • Better communicate what King’s is already doing and achieving. 
    • Connect to students by relating sustainability to their area of study and creating easy-to-digest and engaging content. 
    • Invite students and staff to share their sustainability stories. 
    • Run campaigns, competitions and giveaways to incentivize more students to engage with sustainability. 
  • How can King’s encourage students to have more conversations about sustainability?
    • Create an environmental series of Campus Conversations, a podcast or a seminar series, open to all and covering a range of topics within sustainability. 
    • Host community get-togethers for discussion and debate around specific topics – “Sustainability Socials. 
    • Collaborate with societies and other parts of King’s to embed sustainability in campaigns and initiatives. 

Do you have any thoughts, ideas or solutions about how to tackle these challenges? Let us know! 

 

CLIMATE ACTION PANEL 

On the 26th of February, we hosted the King’s Climate Education Panel. Climate Education has been a popular topic at King’s for a while – the KCL Climate Action Society has been running an education campaign, the King’s 100 discussed it last year, and the Climate Action Network has dedicated the Students & Education sub-group to the issue.   

This panel was a chance to hear from the experts. Our panel was made up of Professor Adam Fagan, Professor of European Politics and Vice-Dean (Education) in SSPP, Dr Kate Greer, Research Associate in the School of Education, Communication and Society, Sigrið Leivsdottir, President of KCL Climate Action Society and Taimi Vilkko, Vice-President and Treasurer of the KCL Climate Action Society.   

We covered a range of interesting issues during the session: the need to go beyond teaching just knowledge about climate change and instead also teach how to take action and live with climate change, supporting staff if they are asked to embed climate into their programmes, and that we may not need everyone to be on board just yet as long as we have a group of dedicated leaders and followers. There were also a few ideas on actions King’s can take right now, such as reaffirming our commitments to climate change, and even influencing higher education policy on climate teaching as we move towards hosting COP26 in the UK later this year.   

The Students & Education group of the King’s Climate Action Network is excited to potentially take some of these suggestions forward and propose them for the King’s Climate Action Strategy.

 

Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.  

If you’d like to stay in touch, sign up for our monthly newsletter and follow us on InstagramFacebook or Twitter. 

Sustainability Month – February 2021

King’s Sustainability Month (February 2021)

Continue reading

Sustainability Awards & Launch 2020

Sustainability at King’s over the last year has seen major progress, and on the 13 October, we celebrated the efforts and achievements of everyone who has been actively involved in helping to make King’s a more sustainable university this past year.

This year, the annual ceremony took place on via a Microsoft Live Event. We celebrated the commitment and passion of the 527 Sustainability Champions.

70 Sustainability Champions Teams were awarded:

  • 21 Bronze
  • 11 Silver
  • 4 Working Towards Gold
  • 34 Gold

Office Teams:

  • The Policy Institute (Bronze)
  • Department of Geography (Gold)
  • International Development (Bronze)
  • School of Global Affairs (Silver)
  • King’s Business School (Bronze)
  • Entrepreneurship Institute (Bronze)
  • Literature & Languages (Silver)
  • Arts Cluster (Culture, media & Creative Industries, Digital Humanities, Film, Music, Liberal Arts), (Bronze)
  • Science Gallery London (Bronze)
  • Arts & Humanities Research Institute (Bronze)
  • The Dickson Poon School of Law (Gold)
  • Fundraising & Supporter Development (Gold)
  • Melbourne House (Bronze)
  • Guys & Waterloo Chaplaincies (Bronze)
  • Deans Office (Bronze)
  • Research Management & Innovation Directorate (RMID), (Bronze)
  • Kings College Students Union (KCLSU), (Gold)
  • Admissions & Student Funding (Silver)
  • King’s Worldwide (Bronze)
  • Library Services, Waterloo (Gold)
  • Library Services, Strand (Gold)
  • Library Services, Guys and St Thomas’ (Gold)
  • Library Services, Denmark Hill (Gold)
  • Social Mobility & Student Success (Gold)
  • King’s Food & Venues (Working Towards Gold)
  • King’s Sport Health & Fitness (Gold)
  • Lavington Street, Estates & Facilities (Gold)
  • Guys Operations & Hard Assett Management (Gold)
  • Strand Operations, Estates & Facilities (Gold)
  • Centre for Inflammation Biology & Cancer Immunology (CIBCI), (Bronze)
  • Division of Women & Children’s Health (Gold)
  • Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology (Gold)
  • JBC offices (Bronze)
  • IoPPN Main Building Offices (Gold)

Residence Teams:

  • Champion Hill (Silver)
  • Stamford Street Apartments (Gold)
  • Wolfson House (Silver)
  • Great Dover Street Apartments (Gold)

Labs Teams:

  • Department of Geography (Gold)
  • Chemistry Research labs, Britannia House (Gold)
  • Cardiology Labs, JBC (Gold)
  • Giacca Lab (Gold)
  • Nikon Imaging Centre (Gold)
  • Cardiovascular Research, The Rayne Institute, St Thomas’ (Working Towards Gold)
  • Division of Women & Children’s Health (Gold)
  • The Rayne Institute, Denmark Hill (Bronze)
  • Department of Twin Research & Genetic Epidemiology (Silver)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences – DNA labs (Gold)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences – Drug Control Centre (Gold)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences –3.123 (Gold)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences –4.132 (Gold)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences –4.134 (Gold)
  • Department of Analytical Environmental & Forensic Sciences –4.182 (Gold)
  • Nutrition Sciences (Silver)
  • Transplantation & Mucosal Biology (Lord Labs), (Gold)
  • Centre for Inflammation Biology & Cancer Immunology (CIBCI), (Silver)
  • Chantler Sail Centre (Bronze)
  • Guys Multi-Disciplinary Labs (Silver)
  • Diabetes Research Group (Bronze)
  • Dermatology Labs (Silver)
  • Medical & Molecular Genetics (Bronze)
  • Centre for Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine (Bronze)
  • Randall Centre for Cell & Molecular Biology (Bronze)
  • Dissecting Room (Working Towards Gold)
  • Innovation Hub, Guys Cancer Centre (Silver)
  • Centre for Host-Microbiome & Host Interactions (CHMI), Hodgkin Labs (Bronze)
  • Social Genetic & Development Psychiatry labs (Gold)
  • Wolfson CARD (Gold)
  • Basic & Clinical Neuroscience labs (Working Towards Gold)

We also celebrated specific individuals or teams in the Special Awards category, who have achieved particular success in embedding sustainability across operations, teaching and the wider King’s community.

Special Awards:

  • Oliver Austen
  • Fatima Wang
  • Richard Burgess
  • Dr Emma Tebbs, Dr Helen Adams and George Warren,
  • King’s Procurement Team
  • Beth Fuller
  • Katherine Horsham

THANK YOU!

Thank you again to everyone who has helped us make a difference here at King’s this year. The efforts of all those involved really do add up and help to achieve our university sustainability targets.

Achievements this year include:

  • 42% carbon reduction achieved (by July 2020), keeping us on track to achieve the 43% carbon reduction goal by the end of 2020.
  • Improving waste recycling rates to an overall recycling rate of 69%.
  • 53 students trained and got involved in the Sustainability Champions programme – as both Sustainability Champion Assistants (SCA’s) to staff teams and/or as IEMA Sustainability Auditors.
  • 22 events held in Sustainability Week (Feb 2020). Staff and student champions attended these events, helped to promote and event put on their own events and campaigns in this week.
  • Established the King’s Climate Action Network – a network to bring staff and students together to help shape the net-zero carbon strategy for King’s, to be achieved by 2025.
  • The third King’s Sustainability Report (2018/19) published this Summer.
  • King’s awarded 9th in the world for Social Impact in the THE Rankings.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion contact the Sustainability Team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

Join the King’s Climate Action Network

Recognising the urgency of the climate emergency, King’s set the ambitious target to be net zero carbon by 2025 in March 2017The university has made significant progress on reducing emissions so far, reducing total carbon emissions by 41% since 2005-06. This year, we are launching the King’s Climate Action Network (King’s CAN) to develop a strategy that will take us to net zero carbon 

An image of solar panels at King's, with the text "Join the King's Climate Action Network"

King’s CAN will be an open, interdisciplinary forum to bring together the skills and energy from across King’s to take climate action. The network will tackle a wide range of impact areas, including our university operations, procurement, travel, research and education.  

The aim of the network is to propose solutions to the climate crisis by minimising our negative impacts, and maximising the positive impact we can have in our role as a university. 

We are now looking for staff and students to join the King’s Climate Action Network and help us lead King’s to be net zero carbon by 2025. There will be regular events throughout the year, and you can get involved in one or more of the groups below, each looking at a different aspect of carbon and climate change: 

  • Zero carbon estate (energy and water use, sustainable construction) 
  • Procurement and waste (purchasing policies and data, waste management) 
  • Travel (flights, business travel and commuting) 
  • Responsible investment (divestment from fossil fuels, investment in socially responsible funds) 
  • Students & Education (formal and informal education on climate change and sustainability) 
  • Community & Engagement (creating a positive impact as part of our net zero carbon target) 
  • Zero carbon research  

Groups will be made up of staff, students, and members of the wider King’s community such as alumni, partner institutions and local community members. We hope that through this network, we can build meaningful positive change at King’s, and share our strategy and findings to benefit our wider community.  

We have now also opened applications for the King’s Climate Action Team, a volunteering opportunity for students who would like to get involved in the running of the network. As a volunteer, you will be supporting the Sustainability Team in running network events and sub-groups, gaining leadership skill and experience of carbon management in institutions like King’s. Applications are open until Friday, 9th October. You can find out more here. 

The official launch will take place online on the 16th October. If you would like to find out more, please contact sustainability@kcl.ac.uk or visit the sustainability webpagesTo join the network, please register your interest here. 

Sustainability Week 2020

Each year, we hold Sustainability Week to raise awareness and educate King’s staff and students about sustainability at King’s. Sustainability Week revolves around how to ‘#MakeADifference’. The Sustainability Team, alongside students, student societies, staff Sustainability Champions and charities, put on events with the aim to educate and inspire around various topics relating to sustainability (whether that be social, environmental or economic), give back to society and most of all – have fun!

We had a total of 522 people come to take part in the events throughout the week.

Here is a summary of some of the events we had throughout the week…

GEOGFEST

GeogFest’ was a charity event for King’s staff and students, organised by GeogSoc and the Geography Sustainability Champions to raise money for the International Tree Foundation.

The event took place in the KCLSU bar The Vault on Friday 7th February as an early kick of to Sustainability Week.

There was entertainment from the Worn out Shoes ceilidh band formed by academics from across the Geography department, PhD candidate George Warren and a dance materclass by UG student Pia Fletcher.

There was a live count of the money raised through the night, in total the Geography department raised £243.38 for the ITF, which will be used to help offset the flights from second year Portugal and Morocco fieldwork trips.

 

DIY lip balm & craft your own zero-waste products

Gathered in the KCLSU zero-waste store, Nought, 24 students got together to learn how to make their own zero-waste lip balms (recipe here – made without the honey) and how to crochet their own face scrubbie, instructed by King’s Energy Manager and star crafter, Julie Allen.

During sustainability week, Nought held a competition to win a zero-waste hamper for all those who spent over £10 – so this event was also a chance for the students to stock up on their essentials to be in with a chance to win!

A Green Threaded Corridor

Artist and Goldsmiths University student, Margaret Jennings came to Kings to deliver ‘A Green Threaded Corridor: Tree Art Workshop’. The workshop started with a conversation about our natural environment in the middle of Guy’s campus memorial garden and an insight into Margaret’s background and artwork. This was followed by a silent walk around the gardens, taking notice of the trees and life which surrounds them.

Natural materials from the gardens were gathered and used in the art section of the workshop. The art was inspired by our individual tree stories (e.g. a cherry tree in a grandfathers garden or the grief you feel when a tree is cut down) – the art could be painting, drawing, poems. These were passed around and altered by others – as a comment to nature and its ever evolving state.

The art and poems created in the workshop will form the body of Margaret’s research at Goldsmiths university – alongside other university and community group tree stories.

The event ended with planting a Birch sapling on Guys Campus gifted by Goldsmiths University. This will form part of a tree corridor, as King’s will be mirroring this by gifting an Alder tree to Goldsmiths University.

 

King’s Think Tank: Post-Environmental Regulations Debate

See the blog post below, for an event summary from the Director and Researcher of the King’s Think Tank Energy and Environment policy centre.

Vegan Sushi Class

King’s Vegetarian and Vegan society ran a vegan sushi class at Great Dover Street Apartments (GDSA) café. Over 30 students came to learn how to make their vegan sushi from scratch – how to cook the perfect sushi rice, prepare the vegetables, tofu or tempeh and do the perfect sushi roll.

Circular Economy Workshop with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation

On the final day in Sustainability Week, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation came to deliver a workshop on circular economy.

They gave attendees an overview of what the circular economy is, and what businesses and services using circular economy principles may look like. As it was Valentine’s Day, they tasked students with coming up with circular economy alternatives to common Valentine’s presents, including re-used cards and potted flowers.

 

 

Sustainability Week Event Review: Environmental Regulations & Policies in a Post-Brexit Era

This guest blog comes from Mathilde Funck Brentano and Irina Tabacaru who are the Director and Researcher at the King’s Think Tank Energy and Environment policy centre.

On Tuesday 11 February, the Energy and Environment Policy Centre hosted an exclusive panel event as part of King’s College London’s Sustainability Week. We welcomed Scott Ainslie (Former Green Party Member of the European Parliament), Adam Bartha (Director of EPICENTRE), and Professor Robert Lee (Director of the Centre for Legal Education and Research at the University of Birmingham) to discuss the future of environmental policies in the United Kingdom in the post-Brexit era. The three speakers answered multiple questions, notably on the strengths and weaknesses of the European Union’s environmental law, as well as more specific topics such as air pollution and energy policies. The speakers clearly expressed their perspectives and gave the audience a fascinating insight into the post-Brexit debate on environmental regulations.

The Energy & Environment policy centre began the event with an audience-directed poll, featuring the question: ‘Do you think the UK should move forward with stricter environmental regulation after Brexit?’. After some time to reflect, the majority responded in favour of stricter regulation.

Following the survey, the panel began by discussing whether the UK should uphold European environmental standards after Brexit. While the speakers displayed little confidence in the ability of the current UK government to expand environmental regulations, all three argued in favour of furthering the existing policies. Drawing from his experience as a specialist advisor in the drafting of environmental legislation in Northern Ireland and Wales, Professor Lee highlighted the importance of compromise in reaching higher-level objectives in environmental regulations. In order to enable effective policies to be successful, the accessibility of environmental regulations ought to be improved. The discussion also mentioned the importance of changes in consumption habits to match governmental policies. Mr. Bartha expressed optimism regarding the United Kingdom’s prospects after Brexit. As he noted, one of the European Union’s main weaknesses is its bureaucratic aspect, and the fact that European policies are not implemented by all member states evenly. For example, member states in Eastern Europe respond differently to environmental policies than those in Northern or Western Europe. The United Kingdom now has the possibility to expand sustainability-related regulations more freely across its territory, and avoid the European Union’s precautionary principles in the drafting of legislation, as well as the excessive allowances of the Emissions Trading System (ETS). Conversely, Mr Ainslie underlined the apparent lack of ambition demonstrated by the British government in regard to green policies, particularly when compared to European targets. The speakers also discussed the necessity of a kerosene tax, given the considerable amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by air transport.

6I1A8422

The discussion continued around the themes of Energy and Air Pollution. There was considerable disagreement between the speakers regarding the use and safety of shale gas as a potential alternative energy resource for the UK. The speakers’ views also diverged on the possibility of the UK reaching one hundred percent renewable energy use in the near future. Professor Lee also mentioned the importance of the UK finding its position concerning access to EU energy and, more importantly, pan-EU energy sources.

Our speakers expect that air quality standards will be upheld in the United Kingdom, despite its departure from the European Union. The British government has been tried several times by the European Court of Justice for failing to respect air quality standards. There is considerable public awareness on the topic, with approximately 28,000 to 36,000 pollution-related deaths in the UK every year. The necessity of tight cooperation between Westminster and local governmental bodies was put forth, as well as the urgent need for further enforcement.

Following the panelists’ discussion, the floor was opened to questions. The audience was extremely engaged in the discussion and interacted with the three panelists, raising a variety of issues, including the possibility of an EU-level meat tax. A captivating debate occurred regarding the theme of individual responsibility for climate change, as opposed to corporate and governmental responsibility. The high costs of sustainable and organic products, which represent a true burden for the average consumer, were extensively considered. The topic of waste management was also raised, following China’s decision to close its borders to foreign waste. Our panelists disagreed regarding the existence of the concept of ‘cyclical economy’, especially with reference to vehicles’ lithium ion batteries.

We would like to thank our three speakers for participating and sharing their thought-provoking insights with us. We would also like to thank the King’s Sustainability Team and KCLSU for their support in organizing our panel event. A big thank you also goes to our audience for being incredibly dynamic and engaged in the discussion. We look forward to welcoming you to King’s Think Tank events in the future!

« Older posts