What I’ve Learned During My Time in the Environment and Sustainability Office

What I’ve Learned During My Time in the Environment and Sustainability Office

If you didn’t already know I’m Alex and I’ve been managing the sustainableDMU social media accounts since October and today is my last day!

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in the office and have learned so much about environment and sustainability. I’ve helped with the promoting of Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 & Earth Week 2017!

More info: Fairtrade Fortnight 2017 Storify Feed & Earth Week 2017 Storify Feed

I got the chance to attend the NUS Student Sustainability Summit 2016 at Newcastle University Student’s Union and learnt about divestment and how we can encourage our universities to be more sustainable.

17619362_10211193481143127_378072098_n

Attending the NUS student Sustainability Conference

17622176_10211193481103126_1775169257_o

crassulacae

Art Student, Helen Gunn’s environmental artwork.

 

K4UV8shL

Interviewing BBC Sustainability Manager, Richard Smith for #DMUearthweek.

F9JWamnE

The Estates Development Building

I’ve hugged some trees, interviewed a BBC Sustainability Manager, eaten a lot of Fairtrade chocolate, shared some gifs of really cute animals, created some polls on Twitter about bees, learned a lot about bats, watched pigeons out of the office window, stopped drinking bottled water, filmed some time lapses in the rain, learned that Karl Letten has terrible taste in films and comedy TV shows, turned off some lights, learned that we use rainwater in the Hugh Aston toilets, watched a few documentaries, tried to stop eating strawberries that have travelled all the way from Peru, written some articles for The Demon Online and made some friends.

Thank you all for having me, it’s been great!

If you’re interested in applying to be the next Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner, APPLY HERE through mygateway.

 

Alexandra Kilcran

Meat Free Monday Recipes

It can be difficult to know what to eat if you’re used to consuming meat frequently. We’ve got a couple of Meat Free Monday recipes that’ll stop you craving meat and you’ll want to eat everyday of the week!

Veggie Bolognese

16128888_10210557792811316_1125564160_n

Ingredients: 

  • 150g pasta
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • frozen veggie mince
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1tsp dried basil
  • 1tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • sprinkle of salt and pepper

Method:

  • Fry onions and garlic in oil add veggie mince
  • Add herbs and tomato puree
  • Once onions are caramelised, add tinned tomatoes.
  • Cook pasta, add bolognese, garnish with grated carrot.

Sweet Potato, Coconut & Spinach Curry

16176612_10210557794091348_896223836_n

Ingredients:

  • 1 red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1tsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 tin of coconut milk
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • 2 tsp of tomato puree
  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 2 tsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp masala curry powder
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp corn flour
  • 80g rice of choice.

Method:

  • Fry onion and garlic in oil, add spices and tomato puree
  • Add coconut milk, tinned tomatoes, par-boiled sweet potato and spinach.
  • Let simmer, then add cornflour and nutritional yeast.
  • Cook rice with double the amount of water.
  • Top with desiccated coconut. Serve curry once as thick as desired.

If you try either of these recipes, share them on twitter and tag @sustainabledmu, we’d love to see them!

– Alexandra Kilcran, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

Artwork With an Environmental Twist

Final Year Fine Art student at DMU, Helen Gunn, has been producing some very interesting work around ecology  and sustainability and we thought we should share it with everyone.

This is the piece: ‘Broken – Crassulaceae’ 

The large sculpture was exhibited indoors and then installed in the DMU car park for a day in the summer of 2016.

crassulacae

crassulaceae

The sculpture concerns a plant, ecology and migration. The form is based on a perennial sedum belonging to the Crassulaceae family which evolved 100-60 million years ago.

The eco-artist stated that the Crassulaceae ‘Is a popular ‘bought garden plant’ because it conveniently survives neglect.  By representing the flower umbel with toy vehicles I make comparisons between the plant’s longevity and the short-lived era of the automobile; between global auto trade with its brand divisions and Crassulaceae species hybridisation and global spread through natural and cultivated systems.  The reversal of car scale to plant privileges the sedum representation, disturbing typical hierarchies and honours Crassulaceae longevity, also plant capacity to absorb harmful CO2 emissions released by driven vehicles.  The sculpture is constructed from recycled woods.  By presenting it as ‘stem broken’ the perennial capacity for re-growth is acknowledged. Vehicles forming the umbel were donated by children.’

Helen also created another piece titled ‘Green House’.
14991202_709818489185667_5733159705791401270_o15137607_709818379185678_8723573921607012493_ogreen-house-2green-house

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sculpture is made from hanging panels which are ‘sacrificial boards’. Wooden panels which are sacrificed during the fabrication of other projects.

Helen’s future work will focus on the changing climate and attitudes towards nature during this period.

Special thanks to Helen Gunn, for letting us discuss her brilliant environmental and Eco-conscious sculptures!

🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱 🌱

– Alexandra Kilcran, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner

We Wish You a Sustainable Christmas and a Waste Free New Year! ♻️🎄

We Wish You a Sustainable Christmas and a Waste Free New Year! ♻️🎄

We know it can be easy to buy too much food, or waste a lot during Christmas, but by using LED lights, only buying food which you know you’ll eat and maybe a treat or two here and there, buying and using sustainable wrapping paper or just buying less overall, you can enjoy Christmas without it having a negative effect on the environment!

Here are some really useful websites with tips on how to have a more sustainable Christmas:

Friends of the Earth – 25 Eco-friendly Christmas Tips

The Guardian – 7 Tips for Smart Christmas Recycling

Recycle This – Recycling at Christmas

Recycle Now – Recycling at Christmas

The Huffington Post – Reducing Food Waste

Love Food Hate Waste – Money Saving Christmas

Leicester City Council – Christmas and New Year Recycling

Energy Saving LED Christmas Lights

The Guardian – Minimalist Christmas

One Green Planet – Upcycled Christmas Gifts

 

 

 

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone!! ♻️🎄

New Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner! 🌱

Hello! I’m Alex Kilcran and I’m the new Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner in the Estates Department of DMU. My job is to manage the Sustainable DMU social media accounts and encourage staff and students to think about their role in looking after our environment. We support a number of initiatives for students including NUS Student Switch Off and NUS Green Impact, FREE Park and Ride for staff and Dr Bike sessions held frequently.

 

15252509_1250075871702654_4316271421780633690_o

I promise we do more than just hug trees!

Here are our social media accounts and other useful links, feel free to message our FB or Twitter accounts if you have any queries or wish to get involved further!

Facebook: Sustainable DMU

Twitter: Sustainable DMU

Instagram: Sustainable DMU

NUS Student Switch Off: NUS Student Switch Off InfoDMU Student Switch Off FB

FREE Park and Ride for staff: DMU Website     

De Montfort University retains its’ Fairtrade University status!

De Montfort University became a Fairtrade University in March of 2010 and has now been a Fairtrade University for 6 years. In order to become a Fairtrade University the student union and the university had to achieve 5 goals. You can read the goals by following this link: http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/about-dmu-documents/dmu-estate/environmental/fairtradepolicydmu2.pdf

Being a Fairtrade University ultimately means that staff and students who purchase products on site are contributing to and supporting the Fairtrade movement led and co-ordinated by the Fairtrade Foundation.

The university sells a large number of Fairtrade products in shops on campus and uses Fairtrade ingredients in all food made on site; all the sugar that is used on campus for baking is Fairtrade sugar, and the coffee sold on level 1 of the campus centre is puro Fairtrade coffee. You can find these Fairtrade products sold around campus at the following sites…

  • Coffee Lab– Fletcher Building and Kimberlin Library
  • Cafe Del Marche– Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Level 1 –Campus Centre Building
  • Students Union Shop– Campus Centre Building
  • Oasis Café– Hugh Aston building

In order to show that De Montfort University is continuing to promote Fairtrade and continues to meet the 5 goals of being a Fairtrade University, the university must submit information to the Fairtrade Foundation to evidence how it is doing this.

The university has recently renewed its’ Fairtrade Status, and have just recently been re-accredited by the Fairtrade Foundation as a Fairtrade University! The university will therefore continue to support the improvement of the standards of workers around the world by using Fairtrade ingredients and raising awareness for the cause!

What Is Fairtrade?

‘There are over 1.4 million farmers and workers in 1,140 producer organisations across the Fairtrade system’ Fairtrade Foundation

Fairtrade is simply, fair trading. The Fairtrade Foundation, the organisation behind the Fairtrade Mark, focuses on social, economic and environmental development and aims to ensure growth in countries which supply Fairtrade produce and ensures that farmers are paid fairly for their work and have more control over their own lives.

The organisation was established in 1992 by CAFOD and has been going for 22 years now.

Fairtrade also works with other partner organisations to license the use of the Fairtrade mark; this mark shows that the product complies with Fairtrade standards. The basic Fairtrade key objectives of the standards are:

  • ensure that producers receive prices that cover their average costs of sustainable production;
  • provide an additional Fairtrade Premium which can be invested in projects that enhance social, economic and environmental development;
  • enable pre-financing for producers who require it;
  • facilitate long-term trading partnerships and enable greater producer control over the trading process;
  • set clear core and development criteria to ensure that the conditions of production and trade of all Fairtrade certified products are socially, economically fair and environmentally responsible.

You can find more information about Fairtrade standards by following this link: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards.html

The partners working with Fairtrade have links in the same pool but also do a lot of other great work separate to the organisation, below are just a number of the partner organisations

CAFODChristian AidOxfam,TraidcraftGlobal Justice Now, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, Banana Link.

http://www.fairtrade.net/about-fairtrade/our-partners/our-strategic-partners.html

Why is Fairtrade important

The work that the Fairtrade Foundation does puts power in the hands of people, helping to give farmers the ability to sustain themselves and their families and have food security.

If you see the Fairtrade mark, as shown above, this means it has been sourced from small scale farmers and plantations that meet the Fairtrade standards

‘The standards include protection of workers’ rights and the environment, payment of the Fairtrade Minimum Price and an additional Fairtrade Premium to invest in business or community projects.

Find out where to buy Fairtrade products by clicking here: http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/buying-fairtrade

The Fairtrade organisation has a very transparent approach to how they work. You can check out the pricing information for Fairtrade items here: http://www.fairtrade.net/standards/price-and-premium-info.html

Leicester is a Fairtrade City!

Leicester became the second Fairtrade city in Britain in 2002; a 5 year manifesto was put together to ensure standards are kept up. You can check out Leicester City’s 5 year manifesto here: https://thelivinglabiesd.files.wordpress.com/2012/10/leicester_fairtrade_5year_manifesto.pdf

The main aim was to ensure food that comes in to the city is of good standards.

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight is a campaign that runs over the course of 2 weeks annually, this 2016 it ran from the 29th February until the 13th March and engages communities and groups with the Fairtrade movement.

Although the fortnight lasts only 2 weeks, it is still important to give thought to those who produced the food that we buy and eat.

Martin Luther King famously said ‘Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world’.

Just Fairtrade

Just Fairtrade is a shop in Leicester city centre; it was originally set up by Sarah and ran as a pop up shop for 5 years until they eventually moved into a rented facility to become a permanent business. Just Fairtrade has since been up and running for 15 years and will be celebrating 20 years as an organisation in the coming year!

The shop are predominantly made up of volunteers, with only 2 or 3 people being paid a full wage, and the main organiser Sarah, working full time as a volunteer. (You can find more information about the team here: http://justfairtrade.com/what-we-do/the-team/) The main driving force for the business is not the income, but in fact raising awareness about Fairtrade, in turn Just do lots of work with schools to help raise awareness amongst young people.

The items sold at the Just store are shipped in by a family business based in Market Harborough. The majority of materials sold are from southern countries such as India and Africa.

Alongside raising awareness here, Just also do a lot of work with communities in the countries where the products are made, to teach about how to sell in countries like England and the British consumer buying needs and habits, this helps the communities to create items which can be properly directed towards their target audiences.

Many of the items sold at the shop exist as a one off, so if you find you come across something that you like, snatch up the opportunity to make it yours before someone else does, as it may not come into stock again!

Just have numerous events going on throughout the year that are open to all; during the Fairtrade Fortnight, they hosted an Olive farmer named Mohammed Hamada who spoke about his experience of fair trade in Palestine.

People of all ages who are seeking experience/ voluntary work, can get in touch with Just Fairtrade who will be happy to have the help and to help you!

See their website, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook for more information.

Website: justfairtrade.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/justfairtrade

Twitter: @JustFairtrade

Stand up for farmers when you sit down for breakfast!

 

Rebecca Mason, Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner at De Montfort University.