Category: Events (Page 1 of 9)

Mental health and sustainability – what’s the link?

This blog post has been adapted from a post written last year by Helena Fazeli for Mental Health Awareness Week. Trigger warning – this blog discusses mental health and suicide.


Mental Health Awareness Week (9-15 May 2022) is the UK’s national week to raise awareness of mental health and mental health problems. The theme this year is loneliness and the week aims to raise awareness of the impact of loneliness on our mental health and the practical steps we can take to address it.

How do mental health and sustainability intersect?

#1 SDG 3 – Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all

One of Sustainable Development Goal Three’s (SDG 3) targets is to “reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being”. Awareness of the importance of addressing mental health has increased in recent years, and rightly so: depression represents one of the leading causes of disability, suicide is the second leading cause of death amongst 15-29-year-olds, and people with severe mental health conditions are at risk of premature death due to preventable physical conditions (WHO, 2021). Additionally, individuals with mental health conditions may face stigma, discrimination and human rights violations. 

While SDG 3 focuses explicitly on mental health, achieving this target requires progress across all 17 SDGs. Mental health and wellbeing are intricately linked to challenges such as poverty, inequality, work, education, gender, infrastructure, air pollution, access to quality green spaces, peace etc. Not only do these factors increase the risk of poor mental health, but they also impact the accessibility and quality of mental health services. 

One example is emergency contexts, including natural disasters, conflict and forced migrationduring which many individuals will face temporary distress. In the longer term, the prevalence of common mental disorders generally doubles in a humanitarian crisis due to increased poverty, lack of security, separation from family, community and home, and trauma. Overall, it has been estimated that 1 in 5 people living in an area affected by conflict will have a common mental health condition. Finally, it is important to note that climate change is expected to exacerbate many of these issues, thus causing greater and wider distress, which leads us to our next topic… 

#2 Climate change and mental health

When you think about climate change, mental health might not be the first thing that comes to mind. We often discuss climate change on a global scale, in terms of physical processes and tangible, measurable impacts. However, it both directly and indirectly impacts individuals’ and communities’ mental health and psychological well-being. 

Indeed, climate change and its associated impacts (rising sea levels, changing temperatures, extreme weather patterns, wildfires, droughts, food and water insecurity, etc.) put at risk a range of phenomena that people and communities value and rely on in their daily lives, both material and non-material, from homes, landscapes and ecosystems to cultural traditions, livelihoods, identities and social cohesion… From forced displacement to gradual changes in an environment, feelings of loss – loss of place, loss of identity, decreased sense of self – can arise. And, as mentioned above, these impacts are more acutely felt in communities and populations where climate change intersects with pre-existing health conditions, socioeconomic inequities and unequal power dynamics. 

#3 The rise of eco-anxiety 

As with many crises, the climate crisis is causing (justifiably) strong emotional responses, in people and communities around the world. Amongst inspiration and hope for change, feelings of anger, hopelessness, guilt and fear are common and natural. 

Eco-anxiety refers to the stress caused by “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold” or the “feelings of helplessness, anger, […] panic and guilt toward the climate and ecological crisis”Force of Nature has been studying the occurrence of eco-anxiety amongst youth globally. They found that amongst 500 respondents, over 70% had experienced feelings of hopelessness in the face of climate change. 

In recognition of the interconnectedness between the health of our minds, bodies and planet, last year’s Mental Health Awareness Week’s theme was indeed nature. This demonstrates how sustainability refers not only to environmental sustainability but also to social sustainability.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the immensity of the climate crisis, be kind to yourself, and connect with your loved ones and your community. However, if symptoms of anxiety are interfering with your ability to function well and feel good, we encourage you to seek professional help. Here are some ways you can find support at King’s: KCLSU’s wellbeing eventsPositive PeersCounselling and Mental Health supportBlack Students TalkOut-of-hours counselling. You can also find resources here and here

Get involved this Mental Health Awareness Week

Join the Mental Health & Climate Change seminar (13 May)

What are the links between mental health and climate change? What is eco-anxiety? And how can we go about overcoming this?

To mark the UK mental health awareness week, King’s Sustainability will be joined by neuroscientist Dr Kris De Meyer for a lean-forward seminar on mental health & climate change. According to Kris, the best way to combat eco-anxiety is opening up pathways to action, to give the sense that we are not powerless and that we can indeed do something that is meaningful and can make a difference.

Kris will briefly explain the brain basis of eco-anxiety before diving into interesting break-out room activities exploring how to cope with it. Join this interactive seminar led by an expert on eco-anxiety to build your own eco-anxiety “toolkit” by identifying what your personal pathway to action might be in a safe, positive environment.

Kris is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s Department of Neuroimaging and the Director of the UCL Climate Action Unit.

This seminar is part of a series that runs monthly between October ‘21 and June ’22 covering some of the biggest topics in sustainability. If you would like to stay in the loop about upcoming seminars, please sign up here. These seminars are linked to the KEATS Sustainability module which we are piloting this year. You can enrol on the module here.

KCLSU’s Take Time Out (3-20 May)

Take Time Out is taking place until the 20th of May and aims to encourage you to schedule in some time, away from your studies, to boost your wellbeing, take a break and connect with the King’s community. See all events here.

More opportunities at King’s

This coming week, King’s wants to focus on what we can do individually and as a community to foster connections and support each other. Access King’s gyms and BeActive programme for free and join the events on journaling, connecting with charities, a virtual coffee morning, or one of the mindfulness sessions. Find out more here.


Some further reading on the topic

Tackling social inequalities to reduce mental health problems: How everyone can flourish equally

Mental Health and our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance 

The case for systems thinking about climate change and mental health 

Caring for the environment helps to care for your mental health 

Mental health and the environment 

Mental health and wellbeing in the Sustainable Development Goals 

The Lancet Commission on global mental health and sustainable development 

This Must Be the Place: Underrepresentation of Identity and Meaning in Climate Change DecisionMaking

Place identity and climate change adaptation: a synthesis and framework for understanding

“From this place and of this place:” Climate change, sense of place, and health in Nunatsiavut, Canada

Examining relationships between climate change and mental health in the Circumpolar North 

Happy Earth Day 2022!

Happy Earth Day 2022!

This is the moment to change it all — the business climate, the political climate, and how we take action on climate. Now is the time for the unstoppable courage to preserve and protect our health, our families, and our livelihoods.

For Earth Day 2022, we need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.

EARTHDAY.ORG

Check out the images below to see how the King’s community has come together to engage with the climate crisis, developing innovative and inclusive solutions. Sign up to these initiatives here.

 

Also have a look at this recent research, co-authored by King’s Geography’s visiting professor Sampurno Bruijnzeel, which explores the importance of restoring native forests for greatest climate and environmental benefits – but this comes with trade-offs for wood production. 

Cycling in London event & survey

Two photographs showing a bike mechanic looking at a bicycle in the courtyard of Bush House.On 3rd March, a cycling event was held at Bush House as part of Sustainability Month to increase awareness and understanding of how students and staff can get started with cycling in London.

The event consisted of a “Dr Bike” session, where external bike maintenance mechanics provided free bike health checks, advice, and small fixes (fully funded by Westminster City Council).

Students were also on hand to provide information to help others get into cycling, particularly focusing on commuting to campus. They discussed where the bike lockers are on campus and how to access them, information offered by external organisations (for example, TFL cycle safety pages and relevant council pages for cycle buddy schemes), and KCL’s Cycling club.


Two photographs showing a bike mechanic looking at a bicycle in the courtyard of Bush House.

The COVID pandemic forced us to rethink how we travel to campus. Cycling was identified as being a safer, more sustainable mode of travel that also supports wellbeing. King’s is keen to support our ‘new ways of working’ so identifying where improvements to cycling provisions need to be made is central to that.

To help us identify what those improvements might be, please could you take this 5-minute survey by 17 May? Your responses will shape how we grow the estate to meet everyone’s needs. Please direct any queries to Ruonan Zhang.

The Careers & Employability Festival starts next week!

How does sustainability tie into a career in healthcare or arts & entertainment? What jobs lie in the environmental sector?

Join this Careers & Employability Festival to hear from professionals who studied subjects from clinical medicine to museum studies to geography and are now part of the Greener NHS Programme, own sustainable fashion businesses, work in climate finance, renewable energy, and more. They will be discussing how they incorporated sustainability into their careers.

Sound intriguing? Find more information and sign up here.

12 April: Be a sustainability changemaker in any and every career.
14 April: Assessing your future organisation’s commitment to sustainability.
26 April: Build your employability for a sustainability career.

New series of climate education conversations

This blog post was adapted from this King’s news article.


Science education researchers from King’s and the University of York have partnered to launch a new series of online workshops bringing together teachers, teacher educators, young people and researchers to discuss climate change and sustainability education. There will be four workshops in total and the first one on 30 March will focus on Climate Conversation Big Questions.

This initiative builds on the BERA Manifesto for Education for Environmental Sustainability, to which teachers, teacher educators and youth contributed in 2021.  Among their concerns, they identified the need to have greater opportunities to explore ideas on climate education with others.

These virtual discussions will offer a supportive space where young people (16 years +), teachers, teacher educators, educators and researchers can share ideas and perspectives focused on some of the key topics in climate change and sustainability education, thus learning from each other as individuals as well as networks.

Programme:

Register now to join the climate education conversations.

Sustainability Month 2022: a true celebration

What a month! Throughout February, we welcomed hundreds of people to more than 20 social and educational events focused on taking action around the Sustainable Development Goals. Organised by students, staff members, and alumni from across disciplines, this month was a true celebration of the breadth of sustainability and the King’s community’s involvement in it.

We learned to reflect on our stories in the climate and nature crisis and got inspired to take action in the events on volunteering, recycled glass, plant-based diets, and greener ways to grow your veg. We learned how we might address the climate crisis from a policy perspective, what digital start-ups can do to advance the SDGs, and what some of the main inequality issues are in South Korea. The interconnectedness of environmental and social sustainability was highlighted during the panel for climate justice and the event on the climate crisis and refugees, and we learned how we might go about translating that into education. The Shots for Hope exhibition and the Visions for the Future workshop series helped us to stay hopeful in the face of the climate crisis.

The month brought people together socially in events such as the sustainability quiz night, stitch and pitch, and the show the love campaign, as well as professionally in the interdisciplinary sustainability research forum and the London Student Sustainability Conference. The events on careers in sustainability helped students explore the breadth of what this means for their future.

If you missed an event, you can find the event recordings here. Not all recordings have been uploaded yet, but we aim to do so as soon as possible. We will also be posting event summaries and reflections on our blog over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for those. If you have any feedback you would like to share, please fill out this feedback form. If you would like to write a blog post on an event you organised or attended, feel free to get in touch.

Sustainability Month: Week 5

Sustainability Month is drawing to an end, so make sure to make most of these last few exciting events!

Check out the events taking place this and next week:*

Monday 28th 13:00

14:00
Proudly Lunch & Learn: Creating sex, gender and biology (LGBTQ+ History Month) This event will uncover the processes by which understandings of sex, gender and biology are constructed through investigating the relationship between what we deem ‘normal’ and ‘natural’.

 

16:00

17:00
Meet the Farmer – Bismark Kpabitey (Fairtrade Fortnight) Meet Bismark, a cocoa farmer from the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in Ghana, to learn about his life and the faces behind the Fairtrade work.

 

Tuesday 1st 12:00

13:00
Embedding Fairtrade within an Organisation Find out what an exciting career lays ahead of you should you choose sustainable and ethical companies. Hear about the challenges and rewards of embedding Fairtrade in the HE and private sector and supply chains.

 

Wednesday 2nd 13:00

14:00
Global Health and Climate Change (Sustainability Seminar Series) Is climate change the greatest global health threat facing the world in the 21st century? Join Professor Paul Ekins as he explores “the 2021 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: code red for a healthy future”.

 

14:00

15:30
Poetry Lunch & Do Session – International Women’s Day (online and in person) Have you got a vision for a more equal world? Would you like to unleash your creative side? This International Women’s Day we are looking to collect your ideas of how things would be different in a more equal world.

 

18:00

19:30
Mind the (Finance) Gap – Mitigation & Adaptation Finance (organised by Imperial and Oxford) Expert panellists will share their insights on topics such as scaling up sustainable finance for the transition to net-zero, managing risks and developing the necessary skills and technology at this inter-university event.

 

Thursday 3rd 11:00

14:00
Cycling in London Swing by the Bush House Courtyard for free bike health checks, advice and small fixes, as well as all the information you need including locating bike lockers on campus, the TfL cycle safety pages, cycle buddy schemes and the KCL Cycling Club.

 

Friday 4th 9:30

11:00
The World We Want to Create – A Vision for the Future What positive world could we create if more people addressed the climate emergency? This new, fortnightly interactive event series focuses on the possibilities of a better world to motivate climate action.

 

17:45

19:15
Book Event with Paul Mendez – Author of “Rainbow Milk” (LGBTQ+ History Month) The LGBT+ Book Club invites Paul Mendez to discuss his queer novel “Rainbow Milk” which follows nineteen-year-old Jesse McCarthy as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities against the backdrop of his Jehovah’s Witness upbringing.

 

Monday 7th 16:00

18:00
Inequality in South Korea and Squid Game This event will focus on four main issues in Korea: migrant labour and racism, labour relations and capitalism, North Korean defector, and gender Inequality and its non-awareness and invisibility. These topics feature dominantly in the popular Netflix Series “Squid Game”.

 

Tuesday 8th 12:00

13:00
International Women’s Day Elevate (King’s Staff Gender Equality Network) and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team are planning events for International Women’s Day including a poetry recital. Register your interest here to stay in the loop.

 

* Please note some events were postponed due to the strikes. You can find the most recent updates here.

Sustainability Month: Week 4

Time is flying by this Sustainability Month!

Sustainability 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.

Check out the events taking place this week (21st to 25th of February)*

Monday 11:00

12:00
Stitch and Pitch Join this new creativity and ideas session with your stitching project, or come to learn a new skill. This session’s discussion topic: SDG 11 Sustainable Cities and Communities.
14:00

15:00
QCGBF Virtual Seminar Series – The Macroeconomic Cost of Climate Volatility (by QCGBF) The Qatar Centre for Global Banking & Finance welcomes Haroon Mumtaz from Queen Mary University of London and Piergiorgio Alessandri from the Bank of Italy to discuss the impact of climate volatility on economic growth.
Tuesday 12:00

13:00
Sustainability meetup (Bush House Activity Room F, 8th floor SE wing) Meet students and societies involved in sustainability and find out how the King’s Sustainability Team can support you with promotions, support for events, and funding. Email Tasnia if you have any questions.
14:00

16:00
Achieving Education for Sustainable Development – A Panel Event Have you ever wondered what Education for Sustainable Development is and how we can incorporate it? This panel will explore how we can achieve an educational practice that encourages change in knowledge, skills, values and attitudes, to enable a more sustainable and just society for all.
18:00

19:00
How to break into sustainability – a guide for an impactful career This event will provide students with insight into sustainable careers through 3 guest speakers with different backgrounds in sustainability.
Wednesday 14:00

16:00
Fair Energy Forum In this workshop, you will learn about the issues within the energy sector and the causes and consequences of the current energy emergency. You will brainstorm solutions, redesign policies and contribute to challenging injustice through community organising.
Thursday 12:00

13:00
LGBTQ+ Allyship Leadership Class (LGBTQ+ History Month) To mark LGBTQ+ History Month, KCLSU is offering a Leadership Class helping you understand and learn how to practice allyship with the LGBTQ+ community.
12:30

17:30
London Student Sustainability Conference Join this inter-university, student-led conference to broaden your knowledge of the challenges and solutions to today’s most critical issues; network with students, academics and professionals from universities across London; and gain inspiration for your own research or dissertation projects.
15:00

16:30
Digital Sustainability – How any start-up with an online presence can deliver on the UN Sustainable Development Goals Emissions from digital industries match those of aviation and are growing. This event will explore how start-up founders with digital products and services can, and must, act on sustainability.
Friday 11:00

12:00
LGBTQ+ Inclusivity in STEM (and beyond) (LGBTQ+ History Month) This session will discuss findings from recent surveys of LGBTQ+ individuals working in STEM, and ways in which everyone can help make our university a diverse and welcoming place.
13:00

14:00
Lunch & Learn – Service at King’s & Sustainability Come along to this interactive session to discover how you can take action by volunteering for the SDGs and find out about the new and exciting volunteering service.

*Please note there might be changes due to the strikes. You can find the most recent updates here.

More things to check out throughout the month:

  • Visit our Shots for Hope exhibition in The Exchange, Bush House between 2 February and 3 March. The exhibition features photos submitted by King’s students and staff that inspired hope.
  • This month coincides with LGBTQ+ History Month – make sure to get involved in that too.
  • Join the King’s Move challenge: get active by switching up your typical commute for something more active this February.

All registration is done via Eventbrite. Don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook for updates and discussion!

Sustainability Month: Week 3

Sustainability Month is already in its third week!

Sustainability 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.

Check out the events taking place this week (14th to 18th of February)*

Monday 15:30

17:00
The World We Want to Create – A Vision for the Future

 

What positive world could we create if more people addressed the climate emergency? This new, fortnightly interactive event series focuses on the possibilities of a better world to motivate climate action. 
Tuesday 18:30

19:30
Diet and Sustainability – how to eat to fight climate change (CANCELLED) This event will discuss the close link between diet and sustainability, focusing on the benefits of a plant-based diet and its implications for sustainable food systems and the environment. 
Wednesday 13:00

14:00
Proudly King’s History Month Quiz! Lunchtime social (LGBTQ+)  This LGBTQ+ lunchtime quiz covers trailblazers, pop culture and more. Fun AND educational? Sign up. 
18:00

21:00
Seminars on environmental education debate strategies to teach for a sustainable future (Brazil Week)

 

Specialists from the UK and Brazil will lead roundtables to discuss environmental education and practical approaches to implementing it (day 1). 
18:00

20:00
Climate, environment and security in the Amazon rainforest (Brazil Week)

 

This panel aims to present multidimensional perspectives to sustainability policies, international cooperation, national security, and sovereignty in the Amazon region. 
Thursday 18:00

21:00
Seminars on environmental education debate strategies to teach for a sustainable future (Brazil Week)  Specialists from the UK and Brazil will lead roundtables to discuss environmental education and practical approaches to implementing it (day 2).

 

18:30

19:30
The Climate Crisis and Refugees

 

This event will educate King’s students and staff on migrant rights, and examine the links between climate change and migration. 
Friday 17:00

18:30
Amazon deforestation in the context of international relations of Brazil (Brazil Week)  Join forest engineer Virgilio Viana for this lecture on the deforestation of the Amazon and its effects on international relations in Brazil.

 

18:00

19:30
Careers in Sustainability Q&A Panel (w/ KCL Geography Society)

 

This event will explore environmental, economic and social careers in sustainability, and discuss networking opportunities that exist for students. 

*Please note there have been some changes due to the strikes. You can find the most recent updates here.

More things to check out throughout the month:

  • Visit our Shots for Hope exhibition in The Exchange, Bush House between 2 February and 3 March. The exhibition features photos submitted by King’s students and staff that inspired hope.
  • This month coincides with LGBTQ+ History Month – make sure to get involved in that too.
  • Join the King’s Move challenge: get active by switching up your typical commute for something more active this February.

All registration is done via Eventbrite. Don’t forget to follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook for updates and discussion!

Sustainability Month: Week 2

Sustainability Month is in full swing!

Sustainability 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.

Check out the events taking place this week (7th to 11th of February):

Monday 18:30

20:00
Addressing the Climate Crises from a Policy Perspective This event will increase awareness and understanding of how we can address climate issues through policy innovation.
Tuesday 10:00

11:00
 

King’s Climate Action Network Plenary

This plenary will offer an update on climate action progress at King’s and a discussion of some important opportunities and challenges.
13:00

15:00
Panel for Climate Justice This event aims to promote inclusion in the climate movement and avoid narratives of exclusion, which are frequently promoted by dominant climate movements.
14:00

16:00
Show the Love at Denmark Hill Attendees will participate in the Show The Love climate awareness campaign, which encourages gentle activism.
Wednesday 11:00

13:00
 

Show the Love at Waterloo

Attendees will participate in the Show The Love climate awareness campaign, which encourages gentle activism.
13:00

14:30
 

Against Gender Violence – Self-Defence and Taekwondo (CANCELLED)

In this event, a Korean martial art and Taekwondo professional will teach the importance of self-defence and demonstrate key moves.
Thursday 11:00

14:00
 

SDG Curriculum Mapping Training w/ SOS-UK

Are you interested in sustainable education and want to build some skills? Receive training from SOS-UK to help map King’s modules alongside the Sustainable Development Goals.
14:00

16:00
Show the Love at Guy’s Attendees will participate in the Show The Love climate awareness campaign, which encourages gentle activism.
Friday 12:00

12:45
 

No Dig – A Greener Easier way to Grow your veg

Interested in growing your own fruit and vegetables? Then this session will provide you with practical advice to do so in a more sustainable and less work-intensive way.
14:00

16:00
 

Show the Love at Strand

Attendees will participate in the Show The Love climate awareness campaign, which encourages gentle activism.

Throughout the month:

  • Visit our Shots for Hope exhibition in The Exchange, Bush House between 2 February and 3 March. The exhibition features photos submitted by Kings students and staff that inspired hope.
  • King’s Move challenge: get active by switching up your typical commute for something more active this February.
  • LGBTQ+ History Month is also taking place in February: a month-long annual celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual trans, and non-binary history, including the history of LGBTQ+ rights and related civil rights movements. We have included these events in the overview above.

We are excited to see you at the events! Any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at sustainability@kcl.ac.uk.

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