UWE Bristol buzzing with green initiatives for Bristol 2015

Issue date: 22 January 2015

A beekeeper managing bees

Honey bees on campus, student volunteers, music, debates, talks, conferences, and online learning are just some of the initiatives UWE Bristol is creating for Bristol 2015 as the European Green Capital.

Hundreds of students have become Green Leaders identifying, developing and supporting sustainability projects, tapping into the enthusiasm of students to create change, and offering them the opportunity to learn and develop new skills and knowledge through activities and events.

Laura-Kate Howells, Coordinator of the Green Leaders for the UWE Students' Union, says, “We now have our own bee hive with around 60,000 happy and healthy European honey bees. We are inspiring change through promoting re-useable tote bags on Campus, designed by student Maelle Falguieres, and we have successfully campaigned for a reduction in the number of disposable plastic cups used on Campus. Through our Greener Futures Certificate we are encouraging student led clubs and societies to apply sustainable principles. On Monday 26 January we are launching our new campaign, Change for Change, where students can apply for funds to start projects, ideas or events to make positive environmental or social change.”

Hundreds of students will be offering their knowledge and skills to sustainable projects in the city; some students will become Green Interns supporting businesses in Bristol and Green Ambassadors will support sustainability in partner primary schools.

UWE students will also take part in the Youth Summit (20-22 April) working towards a green manifesto for the city.

Cultural contributions reflecting upon green themes and organised by UWE's Centre for Performing Arts include a musical production, 'The Secret Garden' (11-14 March, Redgrave Theatre) based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, an orchestral and choral concert on 18 April at Bristol Cathedral and a newly commissioned work for a performance in Colston Hall on 6 December 2015.

Professor Paul Hoggett, will discuss the emotional and political dimensions of climate change denial in 'Haunted by the future: the Shadow of Climate Change' on 22 January. Professor Hoggett's talk will ask whether we are only too ready to be deceived and reassured by the interests of the fossil fuel industries and reactionary populism (Tea Party, UKIP) which tell us that climate change either doesn't exist or has been greatly exaggerated.

'The Green Economy - what it is and how we can achieve it?', is the focus of a free event on 26 March organized by Dr Andrew Mearman (Associate Professor in Economics). It will be a lively panel discussion with speakers Alan Bailey (Chair, Low Carbon South West), Griffin Carpenter (New Economics Foundation), and Professor Molly Scott Cato MEP.

As part of the Bristol Distinguished Address Series, Peter Mather, Group Regional Vice President, Europe & Head of Country, UK BP will deliver a lecture on 11 February and Angela Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Energy UK, will deliver a lecture on 25 March, at the Exhibition and Conference Centre.

Lecturers will seek to embed understanding and awareness of sustainability within the curriculum across all subjects at the University. Professor James Longhurst says, “The education of our students is the biggest opportunity we have to encourage awareness and action for a more sustainable future. We send thousands of graduates out into the world every year, and their understanding and preparation to tackle the big issues is our real legacy. We are embedding sustainability as an aspect of our teaching in all subjects.

“The Green Capital Year provides a focus for many of the sustainable initiatives within the University. It is also an opportunity for UWE to contribute to the city's environmental agenda, and to ensure a positive legacy from 2015 for the University.”

Professor Longhurst chaired the joint development group tasked with preparing national guidance on education for sustainable development. The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) and the Higher Education Academy (HEA) has recently published new guidance for universities and colleges on education for sustainable development (ESD), with the aim of equipping students with the knowledge and skills they need to work and live sustainably.

UWE Bristol was instrumental in helping the city win the successful bid for 2015, through Professor Martin Bigg (former Chair of Bristol Green Capital Partnership) andProfessor James Longhurst, UWE Assistant Vice Chancellor (Environment and Sustainability).

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