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 Fairtradevegan and gluten-free brownies.
This event, along with the Fairtrade Fortnight Launch event we hosted on 22 February, marked theFairtrade 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 production, what 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 tea, coffee and chocolate at King’s and KCLSUis certified as Fairtrade. King’s Food has also worked to remove unsustainable brand such as Coca Cola, to 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 ourKaltura.
This blog is the third in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.
LONDON STUDENT SUSTAINABILITY CONFERENCE
King’s had the wonderful opportunity to co-host this year’s London Student Sustainability Conference (LSSC) with City University. Over 30 students presented their sustainable research through presentations, posters and performances.
The diverse range of presentations coveredthe17 United NationsSustainable Development Goals, and we left the conference feeling inspired by the many students choosing to engage with the complexity of sustainability through their studies.
Here are some highlights:
‘Dust Fertilization in Terrestrial Ecosystems: The Sahara to Amazon Basin’
Globally, wind-driven dust plays a major role in biogeochemical cycles. Robyn’s presentation discussed the crucial role of Saharan dust in the Amazon Rainforest – it acts as a fertilizer and provides important nutrients that contribute to the ecosystem’s overall productivity. But how will these processes be impacted by changing weather patterns and climate change? (Robyn Lees, BSc Geography).
‘How to Promote Sustainable and Healthy Food Consumption in UniversityStudents?’
Recognizing that our dietary choices sit at the nexus of human, planetary and economic health, this student-led vegetable bag scheme explored how we can promote sustainable and healthy food consumption in university students (Fetch Ur Veg, Liza Konash, BSc Nutrition and Mia Lewis, BA International Relations).
‘Climate and Cake: What can you do?’
Climate and Cake is an education program for sustainable living. Its goal is to create a space forand support open discussions on sustainability and offer realistic ways individuals notably, students can act on climate change (Ana Oancea, BA International Development).
If this is something you’d like to get involved in next year, keep an eye out for news on LSSC 2022!
Recordings of the events can now be found on our Kaltura.
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 andinsightful 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 anddiscuss 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 incentivizemore 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 incampaigns 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, SigriðLeivsdottir, 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.
This blog is the first in a series of four posts on Sustainability Month 2021.
This year, our annual Sustainability Week becameSustainability Month. This month presented an opportunity to come together as a community, to collaborate and to build a more progressive and positive future at King’s and beyond.
Focusing on how to ‘#MakeADifference’ and ‘#TakeAction,’ a range of events were organised by theKing’s Sustainability Team in collaboration with students, societies, charities and staffSustainability Champions.
Although the format of the events was a little different due to being hosted online, we had the pleasure of welcoming a total of 898 people – new and returning – to take part in theexciting range of events. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!
Here’s a summary of some of the events we had throughout the month, along with ways you can #MakeADifference and #TakeAction…
SUSTAINABILITY AT KING’S 101
How is King’stackling climate change and embedding sustainability throughout its operations?
King’s is working on a range of sustainability goals – from enhancing biodiversity and reducing our carbon footprint to supporting sustainable transport and embedding sustainability in teaching and research.
Key achievements include:
Reduced our scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions by 54% compared to our 2005/06 baseline, exceeding our previous target to reduce emissions by 43% by 2020.
Improved waste recycling rates to70%.
70 Sustainability Champions teams submitted work to make their department more sustainable (from Social Mobility & Student Success, Cardiology Labs, Geography, Dickson Poon School of Law, to the Centre for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine).
Established the King’s Climate Action Network (CAN) – an open, interdisciplinary forum for students, staff and alumni with 7 sub-groups working towards a strategy to achieve our net–zero carbon target by 2025.
King’s was awarded 9th in the world for Social Impact in the THE Rankings.
King’s has now fully divested from fossil fuels ahead of target (target was set at 2022).
All electricity from King’s is renewable (from wind power).
There are lots of ways for you to get involved, from joiningKing’s CAN or your department’s Sustainability Champions team, to writing a piece for our blog or volunteering as a Sustainability Auditor (we’ll share more information about this opportunity in April).
GIKI ZERO: CUT A TONNE IN ‘21
Have you ever wondered what your impact on the earth is and how you can cut your carbon footprint?
At this event, we had the pleasure of welcoming Jo Hand, creator of Giki Apps. Giki – which stands for “Get Informed, Know your Impact” – have developed two wonderful tools to help individuals, like you and me, to reduce their carbon footprint.
Firstly, Giki Zero allows you to calculate your carbon footprint by measuring your everyday actions and consumption. You are then presented with accessible and doable action items – from talking about climate change with your friends and contacting your local MP to buying secondhand clothing and eating seasonal fruit and veggies – so you can cut a tonne in ’21!
The second tool is an app, Giki, that allows consumers to assess the environmental impact of a product simply by scanning its barcode. Products are assessed against 13 indicators and awarded badges based on how well they perform, helping you to navigate the overwhelming and confusing world of sustainable consumption.
Recognising the urgency of the climate emergency, King’s set the ambitious target to be net zero carbon by 2025 in March 2017. The 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.
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 youcan 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.
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 ‘#MakeADifference’. The Sustainability Team, alongside student societies and staff Sustainability Champions, put on events with the aim to educate on various areas of sustainability (social, environmental and economic), give back to society and most of all – have fun!
Here is a summary of the week…
Sustainability Pop up: This Sustainability Week we hosted an interactive stall across King’s campuses. We played lots of sustainability related games – we quizzed you on how many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs you could remember and played the washing line game, where staff & students got the chance to win a Keep Cup and a free tea/coffee if they correctly guessed how long it took seven everyday items to degrade (from tea bags, to tin cans (hint: they rust!) to plastic bags). It was great to talk with staff & students about what interests you most within sustainability and we got the chance to update staff & students on some of the sustainability projects happening at King’s – for example, the Don’t Be Trashy project and behaviour change techniques aimed to reduce waste and increase recycling rates in King’s halls of residences.
King’s VegFest: Studies show that a veganism can reduce the environmental impact that your diet has, and reducing the amount of meat and dairy we consume can positively affect climate change. We hosted this event in collaboration with the King’s Vegetarian and Vegan society. There were lots of free samples from vegan producers, including vegan cheese (thank you Tyne Chease), chocolate (thanks to Raw Halo) snacks (thank you to Purl Pops, Nim’s Fruit Crisps and Freya’s Fruit Bars), Dairy Alternatives (thank you KoKo, Rebel Mylk and to a King’s Alumni own brand: Edenera!). Students and staff also brought delicious dishes for everyone to try, we discussed the environmental impact of the food we eat and general sustainability passions!
Dr Bike: Cycling is not only an environmentally sustainable form of transportation, but one that is socially sustainable due to the value exercise has on physical health and overall well-being.
We want to encourage cycling in London and help make it as easy as possible for our staff and students. Therefore, we held four Dr Bike sessions across the King’s campuses. These Dr Bike sessions provided free bike checks to students and staff. Mechanics led the session and checked brakes, gears and chains, changed bike pads and gave advice and accurate quotes for whatever they couldn’t fix. There are many Dr Bike sessions happening across London every day, organised through Cycle Confident. To keep up to date with the latest session near you, follow Cycle Confident updates here.
Film Screening: A Northern Soul: Sustainability often gets bundled into being thought of as purely environmental, with the social and economic sides to it often neglected. This year, for our final event of the week, we chose a film which demonstrated the importance of these two, often forgotten, pillars of sustainability.A Northern Soulis a documentary set in Hull, which follows one man, Steve, a warehouse worker on his journey through Hull in 2017 during its crowing year as the ‘UK City of Culture‘. We see Steve chase his passion of bringing hip-hop to disadvantaged kids across the city, through his Beats Bus. The film raises uncomfortable truths about inequality in the UK, but does so while demonstrating the strength and charm of Hull’s residents in the face of this inequality. The film is available on BFI player.
GoodGym Run:King’s GoodGym is a community of runners that combines getting fit with doing good. For this session the runners went to Euston Food Bank. GoodGym volunteers helped to sort out the dry donations of cereal, biscuits and chocolate into sell by date to help ensure no food loss and effective allocation of items according to date. King’s GoodGym is a great way to get fit and to help the local community. To read more on GoodGym click here.
Gardening at the Maughan: The Library Services Sustainability Champions ran the gardening session at the Maughan to help nurture the 200+ trees which were planted in the garden at the start of December 2018, as part of National Tree Week and broader City of London Environment and Clean Air Strategies . Sustainability Week volunteers watered all the trees and re-taped them to ensure their visibility, helped to replant some of the crab apple trees and gave the garden a quick litter pick – all in all, the garden got a good bit of T(ree)LC.
Ethical Beauty Talk: Stephanie Green from the Modern Language Centre spoke about how sustainable shea butter can empower women. Speaking from her experience living and working in Ghana she told the story behind the TAMA brand, made from natural shea butter. Lots of the beautiful vegan friendly soaps, creams and lotions were also available for sale at the session!
Zero- Waste Beauty Workshop: 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. The UN has stated that our use of plastic is creating a ‘planetary crisis’, and by 2050, the oceans will carry more plastic than fish. Read more here.
During the week, we held two zero-waste workshop sessions, co-hosted with the King’s Beauty Society. In these sessions, students learnt more about the global plastic-problem and the individual steps we all can do to make zero-waste living that little bit more achievable. Students got to make their own zero-waste coffee body scrub (using King’s Food own used coffee grounds – which would have otherwise gone to Anaerobic Digestion), lemon lip scrub and peppermint toothpaste!
Due to the demand, The Sustainability Team plan to host more events like this throughout the year. In the meantime, a post with the zero-waste beauty recipes will follow on the blog soon.
Thank you to everyone who helped organise and took part in Sustainability Week 2019! We love meeting you all and hearing your feedback, ideas and passions. You showed King’s really can #MakeADifference!
Walking around London, we see countless advertisements for fashion retailers every single day. Especially today, on Black Friday, retailers are doing everything they can to convince us to spend more. But our love for fashion may be harming the environment: reports show that fashion is the 2nd most polluting industry in the world.
To find out more, the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), which is a parliamentary select committee made up of MPs from across the political spectrum, launched an inquiry into the Sustainability of the Fashion Industry. Last week, they held a public evidence hearing at the Victoria and Albert Museum, questioning fashion designers, upcyclers and innovators about how to fix the fashion industry’s environmental impact. We were in the audience for the hearing, and are bringing you our highlights of the morning’s discussions.
Source: Hubbub Foundation
The first thing that became evident was that there is no shortage of challenges to embedding sustainability into fashion. From ‘fast fashion’ being too fast to consider sustainable options to convincing manufacturers to return clothing scraps, fashion brands can face numerous obstacles. The good news is that there are plenty of ideas on how to change this. One interesting challenge is the scraps left over from pattern cutting. Designer Phoebe English told the audience to imagine a t-shirt, and then imagine the piece of fabric it was cut from. While the fabric offcuts used to be a resource and sold, they are now frequently discarded. But innovations are happening. In New York, non-profit organisation FabScrap collects this fabric waste and sells it to makers of all kinds (fashion students, sewists, quilters) at affordable prices. Some brands are also looking into zero-waste pattern cutting, where designs are laid out on the fabric in a way that eliminates cut-offs.
The hearing also showed that it’s not just brands who need to change, but also us consumers. The expert panel explained that even though clothes are becoming cheaper, we are spending more, as fast fashion leads us to buy larger quantities of increasingly disposable clothes. But while buying a new outfit may make us happy, the happiness from a new purchase typically wears off after three days. And if an item breaks, we often throw it away – adding to the tonnes of clothes sent to landfill in the UK every year. While some brands now offer free or paid repair services, this isn’t a widespread practice and the panel of experts felt that this was an area legislation could help push the industry in the right direction. One initiative could be making repairs VAT-free. Another idea was for the government to introduce better labelling for our clothes. In supermarkets, food is labelled with health warnings and information on its origin – but our clothes rarely contain warnings about the harmful chemicals they may have been treated with, or the environmental damage they caused.
Finally, sustainability in the fashion industry is not only about environmental sustainability. Increasingly, consumers want to know more about the social sustainability of their clothes. While the fashion industry provides employment for millions of women around the globe, the jobs are not up to scratch: pay is often poor, while working conditions are bad. Journalist Lucy Siege and founder of Eco-Age Livia Firth both pointed out that cheap clothes are only possible due to exploitation. In addition, Dr Offord MP explained that in a survey of 51 leading UK brands, 71% could not be sure that modern slavery had not occurred at some point in the supply chain. While the Modern Slavery Act was praised by the panel, many felt it does not go far enough in assigning legal responsibility. Organisations like IndustriALL Union are working to ensure garment workers everywhere in the world have the opportunity to join a union and fight for better working conditions.
With all these challenges, what can we as consumers do to make our fashion choices more sustainable?
Based on the information the panelists gave, we have put together our top tips for a more sustainable wardrobe:
Buy less, but better
Say no to fast fashion! Try to only buy what you really love and know will wear, and try to buy better quality clothes that you can love for longer. While difficult to do on a student budget, vintage shops, charity shops and resale platforms like Ebay or Depop may help you find some bargains!
Get yourself a new outfit for free
If you have some clothes you no longer want, why not try going to a clothes swap? You can usually bring clothes you no longer like, and swap them for other pre-loved items a t a clothes swap near you. If you live in King’s Residences, keep an eye out for any swaps your fellow students or the Residences Team are organising.
It’s not just Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – you can also Rent
There are lots of places where you can now rent an outfit for a special occasion rather than buying it new.
Repair and repurpose your clothes
If you can, try to repair your clothes instead of throwing them away, or alter them to give them a new look. There are more and more repair cafés popping up around the country, and some brands even offer repairs on their products.
Look behind claims on labels
During the hearing, the panel pointed out that while terms like ‘organic cotton’ are protected, claims of ‘sustainable cotton’ may not be. As consumers, we can try to find out what is behind these claims to make sure brands are sticking to what they promise.
Wednesday 15 August is Cycle to Work Day, an annual celebration of cycling. The aim is to get people to cycle to work for at least one day, and encourage people who might not have cycled before to see how brilliant it can be. Pledge to cycle to work and win prizes!
To help you on Cycle to Work day we’ve put together some helpful hints and tips:
Before you ride
Plan your route: You can download brilliant apps like CycleStreets, which have been specially designed to plan the best routes for cyclists. You can choose your route based on whether you want quick, balanced or quieter routes, and they will even tell you how much CO2 you’ve avoided. Beware of using Google Maps, it can often give you the quickest routes, but might also send you down a busy motorway!
Take a class: Your local council will normally organise free cycling skills classes from beginner skills to practising out on the road and even cycling at night.
Track your ride: There are a multitude of apps you can use to track your ride from Strava and MapMyRide which can tell you everything from how many calories you’ve burnt, to how you compare to fellow cyclists in your area. Remember to link your fitness app to King’s Move to get rewards whenever you exercise.
Have the proper gear: Make sure you are wearing a helmet and protective clothing. Have lights on the front and back of your bike, especially when cycling at night and in winter.
On the road
Follow the rules of the road – don’t be tempted to run red lights, even if there is no one there.
Keep your eyes and ear open – Look to your left and right whenever you turn. Don’t wear headphones, hearing is crucial when you’re cycling.
If there isn’t a bike lane, stick to the middle of the road – don’t be afraid to make yourself big on the road, it’s much more dangerous to be cycling in the gutter.
Be careful on turns – never undertake, especially on turns. Large vehicles won’t be able to see you.
It’s been a busy year and last week on 10 July we had the pleasure of celebrating the achievements of everyone who has been actively involved in sustainability over the past year here at King’s.
The annual King’s Sustainability Awards ceremony took place at Bush House and we celebrated the passion and commitment of the 235 Sustainability Champions who have carried out 1,950 sustainability actions, nearly 500 more than the previous year.
45 Sustainability Champion Teams were awarded: 16 Bronze, 11 Silver and 18 Gold Awards.
We also celebrated with Special Awards for other staff and students from across the university who have worked to embed sustainability across operations, teaching and the wider King’s community.
Working Towards Gold: 1st Floor James Black Center Labs
Best at Recruiting New Champions: Cardiology, Pharmacy Teaching
Outstanding Achievement: 5th Floor JCMB, The Dickson Poon School of Law
Supporting King’s Food in the Sustainable Restaurant Association: Ali Hepple & Izzy Brayshaw
Supporting the Analysis of Sustainability Data: Analytics
Commitment to Embedding Sustainability: Operational Assurance
Commitment to Sustainability: Bouygues, CIS, Procurement, Servest
Commitment to Waste Reduction and Re-Use (via Warp It): Bush House Project Team
Commitment to Sustainability as Energy Champions: Abdul Lateef, Graham Camplin, Kurosh Bastani, Nick Gouveia
Consistently Achieving Highest Monthly Recycling Rates: King’s Sport
Commitment to Sustainable Campus Refurbishment: Natalie Littleson
Working to Embed Sustainability in Capital Development: Olga Ezquieta
Commitment to Implementing Sustainable Lab Practices: Oliver Austen
Commitment to Sustainability & Wellbeing: Robert Staton
Most Improved Recycling Rates: Stamford Street Apartments
Commitment to Biodiversity: Stuart Bailey
Going Above & Beyond: Library Services
Sustainability Awards 2018 – Staff and student champions
Serve to shape and transform
We welcomed Professor Jonathan Grant, Vice President & Vice Principal (Service) who thanked all involved for being the ones to motivate others and to stand up and make a difference to the environment and our local communities around King’s. ‘Service’ is the term we adopted at King’s in our Strategic Vision 2029 to describe our commitment to society beyond the traditional roles of education and research. Professor Grant shared details of the King’s Service Strategy framework and explained that the Sustainability Champions are an integral part of the framework. The Service Strategy framework will be launched and celebrated on 19 July and all King’s staff and students are welcome to attend.
Sustainability is important to our students
As part of the event we celebrated our students who’ve been involved with a video showcasing their actions over the past year which includes working with King’s Food as Sustainable Food Assistants, auditing our Sustainability Champions teams, taking part in Student Switch Off actions and competitions in King’s Residences, working as Sustainable Food Assistants and running social enterprises such as Zest and Fetch Ur Veg- who offer weekly organic veg box deliveries.
National Sustainability Awards
We saved a surprise for Awards day and our Library Sustainability Champions teams found out that they had been nominated as finalists at the national EAUC Green Gown Awards, recognising the impact that they have had by making the libraries more sustainable for both staff and students. This year we now have 3 finalists at the Green Gown Awards, including Widening Participation’s Parent Power project and King’s Food for their work on ditching disposables.
Thank you once 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:
30% carbon reduction achieved (by July 2017) which is keeping us on track to achieve the 43% carbon reduction goal by 2020 (2017/18 figures will be shared once available)
Improving waste recycling rates by nearly 10%
Reusing furniture and equipment internally at King’s – saving it from disposal and saving £96k in 2017/18
36 events held by staff and students in Sustainability Week and Reduce Waste Week
If you would like to find out more about becoming a Sustainability Champion contact the Sustainability Team at email@example.com.
Hello from Maria from the King’s Sustainability team! For today’s blog, I wanted to share an exciting event I attended over the last three days.
This week, I attended the Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps Training. The three day event is organised by the Climate Reality Project, founded by former US Vice President Al Gore. Its aim is to train people from all over the world to be leaders in the fight against climate change, and the training events were featured in 2017’s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’.
In Berlin, over 600 new Climate Reality Leaders were trained over three days. The days included a number of presentations and panel debates on climate change and issues around it. As the first day of the training coincided with the first meeting of the German Coal Commission, coal was one of the key themes during the event. A panel on how Germany – and the rest of Europe – can leave coal behind in favour of renewables included an emotional account from a citizen whose village is due to make way for an expanding coal mine. You can read more about Germany’s disappearing villages here. Despite the need for Europe to move away from coal, another panel acknowledged the challenges countries relying on coal for energy face in their transition. Many European countries will need to look at how they can turn their economy around while ensuring former coal industry workers are ready to move into jobs in other industries.
One highlight of the training was to see Al Gore present his now famous slide deck on the climate crisis and its solutions. For over two hours, he explained the science behind climate change, the impact it has on the world right now – and will likely have in the future – and the solutions that already exist. While countless images of environmental destruction and disasters around the world may make it seem like there is no hope, recent developments in renewable energy show that it is not too late to change our path. For example, in June 2017 Scotland sourced 100% of its electricity from wind power for a whole month, and countries around the world are scaling up their solar capacity. In the UK, countless local authorities have pledged to go 100% renewable in the future. Hope was a defining theme of the training, with presenters and panellists reminding the trainees that it is possible to tackle the climate crisis.
A particularly inspiring moment showing changing attitudes was during a Q&A session on the climate crisis presentation. When the audience was asked to raise their hand if they do not own a car, the majority of the room raised their hand. You can see a picture of this moment here.
As a now newly trained Climate Reality Leader, I am excited to go out and campaign on climate change. Climate Reality Leaders are asked to complete Acts of Leadership following their training, which can include anything from giving a presentation to writing a letter to their elected representatives. The Leadership Corps is also a thriving community, with regional and local chapters organising meetings, and assisting and mentoring one another to tackle climate change together. This community element was also central to the three days of training, with each of us encouraged to meet and connect with fellow Climate Reality Leaders from around the world. It was inspiring to see so many people from different industries and all ages coming together to solve one big challenge!
If this has inspired you to become a Climate Reality Leader yourself, you can follow Climate Reality on Facebook and Twitter to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming trainings. The next one is due to take place in Los Angeles in August, with applications open now.