Category: Guest blogs (Page 1 of 9)

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

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/

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.

King’s is a finalist in the Green Gown Awards

This blog post was written by Rosa Roe Garcia, King’s Sustainability’s Digital Communications Assistant.


We are thrilled to announce that King’s has three finalists for the 2022 Green Gown Awards UK & Ireland. These awards are intended to recognise the outstanding sustainability initiatives at different universities and colleges. We are so proud of these three finalists who have worked so hard to integrate sustainability into King’s.

The King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) has been chosen as a finalist in the 2030 Climate Action Category. This category focuses on the steps that institutions are taking or plan to take in order to meet their sustainability targets. The King’s CAN is an open, interdisciplinary forum for co-creating and implementing the university’s Climate and Sustainability Action Plan.

With many sub-groups tackling a wide range of climate issues, this network always puts students and staff at the center of our approach to climate action. More than 350 students and staff have joined the King’s CAN since its beginnings in October 2020. The judges described it as innovative engagement centered on staff and students.

We have two finalists in the category of sustainability champions: a student and a staff member. This category recognises individuals who have worked incredibly hard to implement a sustainability project that has had a positive impact on their colleagues, their institution, or the local community.

Clarisse Mace is a finalist for the student sustainability champion category. She began volunteering with the King’s Sustainability Team to assist in the development of our new course, Sustainability & Climate: Learn, Discover, #TakeAction. She has covered various aspects of the climate crisis and sustainability with a diverse and growing group of students and staff. She has said “I am passionate about this project as I think that learning about climate change is the first step to taking action.”

Fatima Wang is a finalist for the staff sustainability champion. She has established nine green impact initiatives for MSc students studying sustainability in collaboration with Lambeth’s Air Quality Team and Business Improvement Districts. She also launched a new project on low traffic neighbourhoods in Lambeth to motivate residents to adopt greener modes of transport. She said “Through research, education and community engagement, universities have huge potential to have a positive impact on local communities and to forge unique collaborations.”.

Congratulations to the two individual finalists and all the members of the Climate Action Network. We are so happy all your hard work is being recognised and we look forward to the awards ceremony.

Sustainable education at King’s Academy Festival

This blog post was written by Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant.


Image of the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping posterThe King’s Academy Learning & Teaching Festival is an annual event which celebrates education and learning across King’s. I presented the education for sustainable development (ESD) work that the Sustainability team have been working on over this last year. This included our KEATS Sustainability & Climate module as well as our Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Curriculum mapping. These were both 2 workshops which linked to the key themes of the festival which were sustainable education as well as co-creation with students.  

Both workshops were taken very well. Many were impressed with our student co-creation model for the KEATS Sustainability & Climate module and how well we have done since its inception earlier this year (122 completed the module!). From the seminars organised alongside the module to the quizzes and interactive elements of the module; it showed everyone how broad and intersectional sustainability truly is.  

Staff feedback from the SDG Mapping session also showed that ESD is something that they are wanting to actively incorporate into teaching and learning within modules and the faculty. As a team we are actively looking for opportunities to help staff and students embed sustainability into their module; it’s not something that sits separately but needs to be weaved into everything. Everything can be tied to sustainability whether it is social justice, the climate crisis or looking at circular economies.  

This was followed by an in-person day with poster presentations and further workshops. I presented the key findings of the SDG Mapping which included how colleagues could look at working in ESD to their own teaching as well as wider commitments from the college. It was great seeing everyone and  being able to network with colleagues who wanted to work together to further sustainability and inclusivity.  

All this work furthers on from a previous ESD report that we did in 2014 and we have seen and made progress since then. Many students themselves have led societies with specific sustainable education areas and colleagues have been including sustainability within their curricula from English to Dentistry. We are hoping we can connect and work with more students and staff to help them embed and develop sustainability within learning.  

Smart freezer management goes a long way

This guest blog comes courtesy of Martin Farley, King’s Sustainable Research Manager.


Ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers are an essential resource in medical science, as they allow biological samples and vaccines to be preserved safely at very low temperatures. Many lifesaving vaccines, including the Pfizer (COVID-19) vaccine, require ULT freezers for storage and they are vital to research laboratories, including ours here at King’s, where we have over 550!

Like any cooling, freezers are extremely energy intensive, particularly ULT freezers. Depending on their age and model, these freezers can use the same amount of energy as the average UK home and require further energy to cool the spaces they occupy. Beyond the impact of energy consumption, cold storage devices utilise refrigerant gases, which are HFCs. While these gases are far less harmful on the environment than their predecessors (CFCs), they can still wreak havoc if released into the environment. In the UK, there are regulations in place to avoid their release, but old equipment can still lead to leakages.

So, what can we do to manage our ULT freezers sustainably?  

  1. Procure energy efficient freezers – To start, we can aim to purchase more efficient units. At King’s, we promote sustainable procurement both through our tender process and sustainable lab programme (LEAF).
  2. Manage samples efficiently – Storing our samples efficiently means we can maximise our freezer space. King’s Department of Women & Children’s Health have recently transformed their sample management system by adopting microtubes that take up less than half the space of previously used containers. This has had the dual effect of increasing the internal capacity of each freezer and reducing the volume of plastic required. Shared around the college, this practice is now being adopted by others, including groups within the School of Basic & Biomedical Sciences.
  3. Store only what we need – By removing samples that are no longer needed we can consolidate our holdings. To support this, King’s Freezer Replacement Scheme offers to pay for new, ultra-efficient, fully-racked ULT freezer if researchers can consolidate the contents of freezers in their area, so that two older freezers can be taken away in exchange for one new energy efficient one. This scheme aims to reduce carbon emissions and encourage the adoption of efficient management systems.
  4. Good housekeeping – Smart freezer management goes a long way! Our Good Practice Guide provides some great tips and tricks on maintenance such as defrosting and clearing filters.
  5. Reduce the temperature – Check what temperature the freezers are set at. While many operate at -80°C, historically they all were set to -70° That 10°C difference leads to an impressive 25-30% in energy saving, and has been implemented in some of King’s sites like the Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases.

As our research and laboratory practices grow, we must ensure that consideration is given to the impacts on the environment and integrating sustainable practices such as those listed above is crucial to delivering impactful research, while minimising our environmental impact. Whether you are directly involved in freezer management, or have a supporting role, we can all play a part in sharing this knowledge and raising awareness amongst our peers, which in turn can go a long way in creating a wider mindfulness about their environmental impact and how we can support a more sustainable infrastructure at King’s.

An update from Tasnia Yasmin, King’s Sustainability Projects Assistant

Image of TasniaHello all, 

My long-awaited blog and introduction to the team is finally here (despite me working for 10 months…). My name is Tasnia and I work as a Sustainability Project Assistant in the Sustainability team here at King’s. I mainly focus on sustainable education and looking at how we can improve access to sustainable education across the curriculum at King’s (formally and informally). I work closely with students and staff to achieve this because student co-creation is at the heart of most of our projects – we want to give opportunities to students to both get involved in making a difference at King’s, develop skills and facilitate peer-to-peer learning. 

The main project which I worked on was the Sustainable Development Goal Curriculum Mapping which mapped how education for sustainable development and SDGs sat across the curriculum at King’s. This involved over 60 students mapping ~1000 modules! This helped us develop a baseline of what and where sustainable education currently sits at King’s and how we can embed it more. I’m also working on our KEATS Climate & Sustainability module which is another opportunity for students to learn about sustainability outside of their own courses.  

I’m also an alumnus (BSc Geography, 2020) as well as a previous KCLSU Student Officer (Welfare & Community, 2020/2021). I’ve always been super keen on learning about climate, the environment and sustainability and loved my undergraduate. I was even lucky enough to do a 10 day fieldwork trip around Morocco (10 cities in 10 days!). My time as officer was also a very interesting experience – seeing how decisions get made and knowing that I am the student representative in a lot of these conversations was very empowering.  

I’ve been a student, sabbatical officer and now a staff member at King’s – I feel like I’ve seen the college from every angle you can see it from! 

Why is there a lack of renewable energy use in the UK?

This guest blog comes courtesy of Marco Hacon, the Energy Team’s Sustainability Champion Assistant. 


I recently worked with the team behind King’s sustainability module on the section on energy. 

Side note: If you haven’t heard of it, where have you been? For those of you that haven’t seen it, it’s a great open-access resource that brings interdisciplinary knowledge from both students and staff. Don’t be put off if you don’t have any understanding of sustainability, the module aims to provide something for everyone. So, even if you have a strong knowledge base, it covers a lot of areas; you’re guaranteed to learn something new. Check it out here.

Anyway, as part of my research for it, I learned that in the UK (as of December 2020), renewable production generated 40.2% of total electricity produced in the UK; around 6% of total UK energy usage. This last number surprised me. The 2020s are supposed to be the decade of green action with the UK having a strategy in place for decarbonising all sectors of the economy to meet a net-zero target by 2050. So it made me wonder: why is there a lack of renewable energy use in the UK? Well, here’s what I found out:

First, the UK has a regressive approach to funding low-carbon transitions. The energy is currently being funded by levies on the energy bills of consumers. As it stands, 27.9% of energy bills go towards the construction and maintenance of energy infrastructure. Consequently, those who spend more on energy bills relative to their income contribute more to the low-carbon transition. Let me be clear, as I’ve expressed in another blog post, this has not caused the current energy price crisis. But, as prices rise with the increased cost of living, if these bills cannot be met, the transition will be held up. There’s nothing just about that. 

As a result, the UK sector doesn’t receive enough support to produce and manage energy. According to data from the Office of National Statistics released on the week of the 14th of February, the UK’s low-carbon and renewable energy economy has failed to grow since 2014. In the same period, employment in areas such as manufacturing low-carbon technology, energy supply and construction has actually dropped by 28,000 and is currently roughly 207,800. Particularly concerning is that areas such as onshore wind and solar energy, which are essential components of a low-carbon energy mix, have been hit the hardest. It would be easy to place blame at the door of Coronavirus, but it looks like businesses in these areas were struggling in 2019. Even in relation to offshore wind, the UK’s flagship renewable source, energy production isn’t as high as might be hoped. Despite historically high energy output from wind farms in Scotland, the UK generates less than its counterparts in Europe.

Another reason that the UK is struggling to increase renewable energy’s contribution is storage. With much renewable energy being reliant on weather conditions, inter-seasonal storage remains a core challenge for the industry (and not just the UK). As such, there needs to be a lot of investment in energy storage. Lithium-ion batteries are expected to dominate the storage boom. On this front, the UK has started to invest. It has been recently announced that one of Europe’s largest battery storage facilities is set to be built in Scotland and is due to be operational in 2024. The Green Battery Complex will comprise two 400 MW facilities, each providing 800 MWhrs of energy storage capacity. However, capacity is measured in hours instead of days or weeks. As a result, looking forward, the UK would be wise to invest in other energy technologies such as green hydrogen, ‘gravity’ storage, and ‘cryogenic’ batteries.

In terms of other things the UK must consider when looking to the future, it must place localism at its heart, promoting community energy developments and supporting households. This is both in terms of reducing energy waste such as insulation as well as initiatives like solar panels that reduce the need for grid-supplied energy. 

Correction from previous blog post.

In a blog post from 2021, titled “King’s Energy: The Noor Ouarzazate Solar Complex”, the author outlined that it would take 116.5 Noor’s to supply the world with renewable energy based on 2019 demand. The actual number is 116.

Thank you to Assoc. Prof. Johan Montelius from Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) for identifying this and bringing it to our attention.


Photo of Marco HaconMarco Hacon is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Environment, Politics and Development here at King’s. Before this, he worked in a few start-ups and scale-up companies with social purposes, where he gained a basic understanding of sustainability. He is a strong believer in a just and equitable clean energy transition. He is excited to write about this as well as more King’s-related energy topics for the team’s blog. He also wants to help develop toolbox talks for King’s staff and teams that centre on how to use energy sustainably.

An update from Rachel Harrington-Abrams, King’s Climate Action Assistant

Image of RachelHello everyone!

I am a Climate Action Assistant in the Sustainability Team and have worked in this role over the past year to grow the climate research community and interdisciplinary strategy at King’s. I am also a second-year PhD student in the Department of Geography, studying multilateral governance and decision-making on adaptation policy, particularly in situations of extreme environmental change where relocation or resettlement may be utilised. As a climate researcher myself, I am personally invested in building stronger connections with researchers across disciplines and scaling our impact as a university. As a result, I have been able to identify areas for improvement based on the experiences of fellow researchers and support efforts to unite the climate research community as part of the Sustainability Team.

Prior to beginning my PhD in 2020, I spent six years working on and studying different dimensions of climate and sustainability policy. After graduating from university, I spent two years in The Climate Group’s New York office, supporting businesses and sub-national to set shared climate action goals, develop renewable and energy efficiency targets, and evaluate their own impacts and those of their value chains. I earned my MA in Environmental Policy in 2019 from Sciences Po Paris, where I continued to explore the dimensions of sustainable transitions, including financing for climate adaptation, decarbonisation of the grid, and sustainable resource governance.

Now through my PhD, I consider the high-level policy decisions that define how governments manage adaptation. As part of the Sustainability Team, I support our research community to connect, inform, and respond to these and other dimensions of the climate crisis. I contribute to the development of the university’s Climate Action Plan and the work of the Zero Carbon Research group within the Climate Action Network. I also help coordinate the Climate Hub, one of our existing interdisciplinary research centres based on SSPP and facilitate networking and interdisciplinary partnerships across departments. I am currently involved in setting up a new network for PGRs studying climate change at King’s and am contributing to the ongoing development process for the university’s climate and sustainability research strategy.

While I primarily focus on climate research, as part of the Sustainability team I have been able to engage with other areas of our Climate Action Strategy and the work of the CAN. I have explored the costs and benefits of offsetting for net-zero emissions, and the decisions made in this area by our peer institutions; I also contributed to our efforts to map our current footprint for climate and sustainability education across the university. I was also incredibly fortunate to be able to attend COP26 alongside a colleague both for my own research and as a representative of the Sustainability team. My time in Glasgow provided a unique chance to connect with climate researchers at other UK institutions and build stronger connections with other Sustainability practitioners working within universities.

Should the war in Ukraine mean the end of gas?

This guest blog comes courtesy of Marco Hacon, the Energy Team’s Sustainability Champion Assistant. 


On the 24th of February, Russian troops initiated a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. This attack has led to widespread condemnation of Putin and his crony regime. It has already caused huge amounts of deaths – much of which has been civilian – displacement and destruction of property.

In response, increasing numbers of sanctions have rightly been placed on Russia to try to undermine its war efforts. These have included excluding some banks from the SWIFT payment system and the seizing of oligarchs’ assets, such as massive yachts. One surprise reaction to Russia’s declaration of war was the decision by the new German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to halt the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. For those of you that want to impress your friends with knowledge about Nord Stream 2, it is an $11billion undersea pipeline that would allow for the direct transportation of Natural Gas from Russia to Northern Germany. While the pipeline itself had been completed, it was not active. 

It was a surprising move as Scholz had avoided saying that this was likely until the decision was announced. Yet, while it is commendable and welcome, it isn’t an end to Russian gas imports. Indeed, the activation of the pipeline has not been ruled out, it is just suspended for now. In the meantime, the EU and the UK continue to send millions of pounds a day for natural gas, which is being used to fund the invasion of Ukraine.

The war has exposed the unfortunate position that Europe finds itself in; it is dependent on Russia for the natural resources, oil and gas, that keep the lights and heating on. Now the price of these natural resources is not just the environmental damage they cause and the increased cost of living they are fuelling (as if these weren’t bad enough); they are also funding a literal war in Europe.  

There have been calls that the right response is to resume fracking with “vigour”. What a benefit of Brexit that would be; increased risk of earthquakes and flammable water! Instead, now, more than ever feels like the right time to urgently move away from these sources of energy. What’s the alternative? Well, renewable energy. Of course! It’s encouraging to see that Germany has already started down this path. Shortly after announcing the halt to Nord Stream 2, Germany outlined that it is bringing its target of 100% energy from renewable sources forward by 15 years (from 2050 to 2035). This is possibly a challenging commitment considering that it is already set to exit nuclear power in 2022 and coal-fired power by 2030. But, it is also essential for the environment, Germany’s economy and national security.

Other countries would be wise to follow suit. Here in Britain, we are set to import more than £2bn worth of Russian liquified natural gas imports this year, despite the best efforts of dockers from Kent. The recent order to ban ‘all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever’ doesn’t cover the origin of the cargo, including fossil fuels that may have been sourced from Russia. This approach must change. In dropping Russian oil and gas, the UK government must look at renewable energy sources to replace them. It can follow the example set by the Netherlands which was able to cut gas demand by 22% in two years with renewables. At the same time, the UK must roll out measures to insulate homes, install heat pumps and reduce the cost of renewable energy.


Photo of Marco HaconMarco Hacon is currently studying for a Master’s degree in Environment, Politics and Development here at King’s. Before this, he worked in a few start-ups and scale-up companies with social purposes, where he gained a basic understanding of sustainability. He is a strong believer in a just and equitable clean energy transition. He is excited to write about this as well as more King’s-related energy topics for the team’s blog. He also wants to help develop toolbox talks for King’s staff and teams that centre on how to use energy sustainably.

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