Meet our team: Thutchanok C.

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Hello guys! I’m Thutchanok Chirakunakorn or you can call me Nikki, a master degree student in International Business and Marketing. This academic year I will be your Sustainability Communication Frontrunner, located in DMU’s Estates Development Building.

For the past few years, I have developed my passion towards Sustainability issues due to aggravating environmental problems in my country, Thailand. Due to rapid economic growth, we are facing numerous issues, namely air pollution, declining wildlife populations, and poor resource management. Combined with increasingly popular sustainability topic integrated in my business studies, I realise that I have a keen interest in understanding how governmental bodies, private sectors, and various industries were mutually striving to improve our quality of life and environmental health.

Also, various interesting DMU initiatives have been untold as social media channels are not fully utilised. Therefore, my ultimate goal of joining Sustainable team at DMU is to improve the way how university encourages students and staffs to get involved in more sustainable practices in resource consumption. I truly believe that interactive communication, engaging content on social posts, and on-ground activities will bring people together and finally empower them to take a collective action.


		
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Meet our team: Carolina Seri

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Hello everyone! My name is Carolina, I am a second year International Relations with French student and I will be your Sustainable Development Frontrunner for this year!

As part of my role within the Estates Development department I will be taking part in two main projects to address and promote sustainable behaviour both between the student community and the university staff. This will include leading the “Responsible Futures” project run by the NUS with the aim to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) within taught curricula and participating in the “Green Impact” programme, which focuses on improving the university’s sustainable conduct within the various departments.

I have developed my passion for the United Nations’ SDG through a Global Geography course I have been taking during my exchange year in Canada and since then I have been shaping my studies with the goal to pursue a career with the sustainable development field, as I believe it to be and extremely important and fascinating subject.
I am also deeply committed to the resolution of the Climate Crisis by taking small steps to reduce my waste production and by using alternative and reusable products within my daily routine.

I will be coordinating some of the events and meetings around campus, so come find me to support our work and be part of the change!


Meet our team: Ross Kelly

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Hey there! I’m Ross Kelly your Sustainability Coordinator, located in DMU’s Estates Development Building. My role is to help coordinate events while continuing to push existing, and pursue new sustainability initiatives for the University, embedding them into DMU’s Student and Staff culture.

This role is part of my courses sandwich year placement, in which I study Product and Furniture Design. Wanting to specialise in sustainable / green design. Being a current student allows me to better understand Leicester’s student community because of the common ground we share. Identifying what works well for students and what steps we can make together to make DMU an even more sustainable and progressive organisation to be a part of.

Some of the projects that I will be involved in are: the Carbon Literacy project; where we are perusing the goal of becoming a carbon neutral organisation, sustainable futures, Green impact, education for sustainable development (ESD) and travel initiatives.

My goal for the next 12 months is to really engage with students and ensure what our sustainability team are doing at DMU is widely known by both staff and students through multimedia platforms. Furthermore I want to help develop a Carbon Literacy training course which will be tailored towards DMU’s staff and students. With the hope of passing this knowledge on to peers, friends, family and other organisations about reducing not only their own but also an organisations carbon footprint.


			

DMU and the Climate Emergency

On 30th May 2019, dozens of concerned DMU folk dedicated a couple of hours to pondering DMU’s role within the Climate Emergency. In response to an open invitation for ideas and input, they assembled in the atrium of the Campus Centre.

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Participants voting on whether they feel DMU should publicly acknowledge the Climate Emergency

The gathering began with some short presentations. First up – Dr Andrew Reeves from DMU’s Institute of Energy and Sustainable Development, took the group through the recommendations for how Higher Education Institutions should respond to the Climate Emergency, as endorsed by the EAUC (Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education). This was followed by an illuminating presentation from Karl Letten – DMU’s Environment and Sustainability Officer – explaining DMU’s current performance against existing sustainability targets including those under its direct and indirect control and influence.

The main event involved an invitation to participants to contribute to 5 themes that had been identified as a result of participants’ input before the event. These were: ‘DMU takes action’; ‘Personal Action’; ‘Collaboration’ and ‘Pushing the Boundaries’. The ‘law of two feet principle’ was encouraged to ensure the widest range of views and inputs on all the themes. Each theme table fed back, a small number of priorities or ‘favourites’ of the ideas put forward, to the whole group at the end, resulting in a whiteboard full of inspiration.

The organisers will now look to use the ideas to propose to the University Management that they acknowledge the Climate Emergency and take appropriate action.  The support of the participants for DMU to declare a Climate Emergency and, crucially, to ensure that this is accompanied with real action, resonated throughout the event. There were some particularly passionate and poignant points shared on the declaration support sign up, photographed below.

I support DMU Climate Emergency Declaration signatories & comments

 

 

 

Environmental Auditing Opportunity

Work experience opportunity – Wednesday 5th June!
·         Want to find out more about sustainability issues?
·         Want to gain the skills and knowledge associated with auditing?
·         Want to make a positive impact?
·         Want to improve your CV and gain valuable employability skills?
·         Want to do a course that is IEMA[1] approved?
·         Want to have a fun day learning practical skills?
 
 
Green Impact at Charnwood Borough Council (Loughborough)
Green Impact is a sustainability action and awards programme, designed to encourage, support and celebrate people in making environmental improvements. Interested staff volunteered as teams to participate in the programme and received a toolkit outlining achievable environmental changes.
 
Depending on the number of actions teams carry out, they can achieve either: a working towards accreditation, Bronze, Silver or Gold awards. All departments participating in Green Impact will need an audit to verify their level of achievement… and this is where you come in!
 
 
Auditing
We are looking for volunteer auditors to visit the departments at Charnwood Borough Council, in Loughborough, and conduct audits. Each volunteer auditor will be fully trained on the actions and what they need to do in order to audit through a half-day training. In pairs auditors will then complete one or more audit. An audit should take around an hour to complete depending on the size of the department.
 
 
What skills do I need?
No technical knowledge is needed! Full training will be provided. All you need is an interest in environmental issues and access to your own laptop/tablet to bring on the day, which can use Excel files.
We welcome and are committed to the inclusion and recognition of all regardless of race, age, culture, ability, ethnicity or nationality, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, marital status, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status.
 
Travel to and from Loughborough will be paid for by Green Impact. The audits take part within the staff departments across the small council campus, so there will be some walking involved. However we can match you up with more local teams should you require.
 
 
What’s the next stage?
1. Ensure you are free all day (9.30-am – 5pm) on Wednesday 5th June.
2. Fill in this online https://forms.gle/EKLY9PWMUh4WHDnH8  By Friday 24th May to tell us more about you, and any additional requirements you may have. Spaces are limited, so apply soon!
3. You will be contacted by Wednesday 29th May if you have been successful in your application.
If you have any questions about taking part, please email Jo Kemp on jo.kemp@nus.org.uk

 

Our time as Sustainability Frontrunners

As some of you may know, my name is Molly and I have been a Green Behaviour Change frontrunner this academic year! I have been in charge of all things social media and it has been a great experience. It has allowed me to gain experience in an office environment, earn a decent wage throughout my final year of university and has slowly introduced me into a working environment for life post-graduation. But most importantly, I have learnt so much about environmental sustainability that I shall use for the rest of my life. It is an invigorating department to work in because everything you write about or research is so relevant to your day to day life. It has made a real impact on the way I look at society and how I act!

This year I have been involved with #FairtradeFortnight, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals in teaching, writing about DMU’s herb garden and the impact gardening can have on the environment and SO much more. From writing blogs to running DMU Sustainable stalls around campus to interviewing staff, it has truly been a memorable experience and a great venture for my final year at university.

Charlotte has really enjoyed being a Green Behaviour Change Frontrunner for DMU’s Sustainability Team for 2018/19. She came into the role with an interest in sustainability that has only grown and grown. She has loved being a part of both big projects such as Responsible Futures and smaller daily jobs such as writing for blog posts like this!

This position has worked fantastically alongside Charlottes degree; she has learnt practical media and PR skills in a new sector from social media usage through to leaflet and poster creation. All with the luxury of flexible working hours!

Her role has also led her towards paths she never could have imagined, such as being invited to speak at 2 separate sustainability events and an ever growing passion for sustainability. Charlotte is elated that she will be leaving this position as a much more enriched person, with a lot more hope of her future after graduation.

It has been a pleasure working in the office alongside a great team, and we are both sad to be going! We wish the best of luck to the new intern, and hope they have just as much fun as we did.

Extinction Rebellion

Currently protesting in full force, the Extinction Rebellion are an organisation determined to persuade the UK government (and governments around the world) to declare a ‘climate emergency’. Keeping global temperatures under 1.5 degrees is essential for the safety of the planet’s future; at the end of 2018 the UN Secretary General warned that humanity and life on earth faces serious threats, and people around the world are demanding change in our government to reflect the seriousness of this devastation. It is no longer a threat, but a new reality. The Extinction Rebellion were therefore created as a reaction to the lack of action that has been taken by our Government to act on the current climate crisis. If the climate and ecological emergency is not immediately addressed by our government, then in the next decade issues such as an increase in sea level, desertification, wildfires, water shortages, crop failure, extreme weather, millions of people displaced from their homes, disease from poverty, an increased risk of wars and conflicts and more will become our harsh reality.

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Photo taken from Fox News

It is believed by the Extinction Rebellion that our system of governance is compromised by a focus on profits and economic growth. Politicians can be influenced by lobbies of powerful corporations and the media are hampered by vested interest of corporate advertisers undermining our democratic values. The rebellion want to break through to the government by demonstrating just how many people care about global warming.

Here are some staggering facts about climate change taken from the Extinction Rebellion website which are a FEW examples of why the marches are taking place;

  • Globally species are going extinct at rates up to 1,000 times the background rates typical of Earth’s past due to habitat change, overexploitation etc.
  • The latest Living Planet Index shows an average decline of 60% in population sizes of thousands of vertebrate species around the world between 1970 and 2014.
  • Rising temperatures will melt at least one-third of the Himalayas’ glaciers by the end of the century even if we limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C. Melting glaciers in both the Andes and the Himalayas threatens the water supplies of hundreds of millions people living downstream.
  • As sea level rises higher over the next 15 to 30 years, tidal flooding is expected to occur much more often, causing severe disruption to coastal communities, and even rendering some areas unusable — all within the time frame of a typical home mortgage.
  • All forms of pollution were responsible in 2015 for an estimated 9 million premature deaths—16% of all deaths worldwide—as well as for 268 million disability-adjusted life-years. Pollution is thus the world’s largest environmental cause of disease and premature death
  • 50% of the planet’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years, leading to increased pollution, flooding and desertification. Desertification itself currently affects more than 2.7 billion people

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Image from the Independent

Extinction Rebellion, beginning in London, has reached over 35 countries, and has used social media to create a week of ‘international civil disobedience’ this April, having commenced on the 15th April and lasting until the 29th April. This event is not a one off march; it is a continuous march, which day by day shall reach the attention of the government. They ask everyone around the world to protest for our leaders to be heard, and for them to call for a climate emergency.

There is no singular definition of what it means for the government to call a ‘climate emergency’, however it is generally defined as the government calling the climate situation an emergency, and doing everything within their power to prevent the catastrophic consequences that could come from climate change. The UN have stated we have just 12 years left to limit devastating climate change effects. This can only happen when the government understand that they must push for a more sustainable future in their policies. Many city councils have already called a climate emergency, such as Leicester council, London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Leicester City Council have had their declaration of climate emergency approved this February, with aims to reduce carbon emissions in the city. They are reviewing and updating the council’s climate targets in light of the climate emergency, and with incentives such as Extinction Rebellion putting pressure on the government and councils this is a great, and necessary, step in the right direction from Leicester City Council. Extinction Rebellion have been protesting in Leicester this month with a ‘die-in’ at the train station; 18 protestors put on face masks and lay on their backs on the station floor with signs stating that global warming will kill. Other protestors stood around the group claiming that “global warming is propelling us towards hot-house Earth and we only have 11 years to prevent this. Join us now against government inaction.” Despite Leicester City Council calling a climate emergency, protestors must continue in order to make change in the houses of parliament.

It is the belief that climate needs to be a much bigger discussion in everyone’s day to day lives, and the rally’s and protests created by Extinction Rebellion hope to force the government into ensuring it is a priority in parliament for the sake of the future of humans, animals, and