The 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Games are here (although you may have missed it due to the high profile talks between North and South Korea!) and I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that sustainability is on the Games’ agenda!
Part of the sustainability vision for this year’s Games is to go beyond what has been done in past Olympic and international events. To help them meet this ambitious aim, the PyeongChang Organizing Committee has established a sustainability plan for before, during and after the Games.
The event’s sustainability performance is linked to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and monitored under the following 5 categories: Low Carbon Green Olympics, Stewardship of the Nature, Good Life, Proud People with Tradition and Culture, and Globalizing PyeongChang: Opening to the world.
Whilst the Games have been giving out medals, they have received an award of their own as the first Winter Olympic Games to achieve ISO20121 certification. The certification is an internationally recognised standard to improve the sustainability of events.
The sustainability achievements of the team behind this year’s Games haven’t stopped there. So far, they have:
- Reduced 400 thousand tonnes and offset 930 tonnes of Greenhouse Gas emissions
- Secured enough wind power to fuel the entire length of the Games and more
- Ensured all newly built venues meet green-building certifications. The venues consume less energy and reduce pollution rather than emit pollution than conventional builds.
- Reduced impact on local forests and habitation by combining the Ladies and Men’s ski slopes together
- Built new and improved existing local restaurants
- Created 9 trekking routes to mark the Olympic’s legacy
- Restored a landfill site to create the Gangneung Olympic Park
- Installed a rainwater harvesting system, solar and geothermal energy generating technologies and ecological ponds
- Had 1919 young people from countries without snow participate in the Dream Programme to experience Korean culture and winter sports
- Provided 229 transportation vehicles with wheelchair access
- Educated 5001 business owners and government employees on impairment and accessibility awareness
- Had 26601 students participate in the School Visit programme on Olympic values and winter sports
Their future plans include:
- Restoring 200% of the total forestation that has been lost to construction
- Preserving and promoting biodiversity including the repopulation and restoration of 4 species
- Creation of tourist centres promoting sports, culture and arts
DMU will be holding a workshop on how we can link the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into our courses. The workshop will take place in Queens 0.11 from 2pm to 3.30pm and is open to all staff and students.
In a recent NUS survey, 82% of DMU students were found to agree that sustainable development should be part of and promoted within all courses across the university. This workshop gives you a fantastic opportunity to put forward your ideas on how we do this.
The event is part of the NUS SDG Teach-in week which will run from 19th – 23rd February. The week aims to raise awareness amongst students of the 17 SDGs shown below to create a force for transforming the world for good. DMU is taking part in NUS’ pledge for UK universities and colleges to include the United Nation’s SDGs in their teaching and learning throughout the Teach-in week. However, here at DMU we want to do more and make sustainability a permanent feature on all of our courses – the workshop is just the beginning so stay tuned!
The 17 SDGs were established by 193 countries in 2015. The goals have been adopted by countries to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all with a set of targets to be achieved by 2030. See the UN website for more information on each of the goals.
As well as the upcoming workshop, DMU also has an Education for Sustainable Development Forum (ESD). The forum meets on a regular basis to discuss new initiatives on incorporating sustainable development skills across the teaching curriculum. Click here to find out more about the ESD Forum and how you can get involved.
Be sure to keep Wednesday 21st February in your diary and start your journey towards transforming your education for the better!
Staff and students can now make use of DMU’s brand new Cycle Store. The indoor space has two separate storage rooms, one for students and one for staff. Both rooms require secure access and are equipped with two-tier storage racks which can hold up to 68 bikes in each room. The new facility is also home to a bike pump and repair station so you can get back on your two wheels whenever you need to. Shower facilities can also be accessed nearby in the Vijay Patel building.
For all of you budding cyclists and those of you who want to get ahead on your healthy New Year resolutions, the brand new facilities offer a fantastic opportunity to take up cycling to the campus. Cycling not only helps to cut calories but also your carbon footprint if you usually rely on a car or public transport to get around.
As well as the onsite bike pump and repair station, the DMU Sustainability are also able to offer free inner tubes, puncture repair kits, high vis jackets and to all staff and students. Students can also receive a free D-lock to keep your bike secure and a loan system is in place for staff. Lights are also available for staff.
Drop us an email email@example.com to register your access to the Cycle Store and to request any of the cycle equipment listed above. Spaces and equipment are limited and access will be provided on a first come first served basis.
Last Thursday marked the beginning of DMU’s #LoveInternational vigil with a focus on Article 1 of the United National Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
The 24 hour long vigil saw the coming together of students, staff and human rights activists across many areas. As a student, I feel privileged to have been given the opportunity to put forward my own thoughts on what human rights means to me. Watch my speech here.
I wanted to convey the importance of human rights in every corner of the world. Part of my speech touched on The Universal Declaration of Human Rights as an achievement in itself but how the ongoing conflict in parts of the Middle East and the refugee crisis makes it clear that we need to be doing more.
I also spoke about the great work DMU does to promote equality and diversity and how this was the reason I chose DMU. The ability to meet people from all over the world has shown me many different perspectives. It’s also taught me not to take for granted the rights I’ve been given just because I’ve been lucky enough to be brought up in the UK.
I really wanted to emphasise the importance of businesses and human rights. In the face of big business and their mighty global brands, we can sometimes forget that humans make the decisions behind them. Many human rights violations have been the result of businesses exploiting local communities leaving people in poverty, destitution and in some cases, the loss of life. The more these businesses promote human rights, the better our world will become.
Most importantly, I believe that human rights not only means dignity and respect towards others, it is also about respecting our natural environment. We’ve seen how the effects of climate change have displaced families and destroyed lives across the world. And so my final point, called on the joining of people to create a sustainable planet for our future generations so that they won’t have to experience such devastating disasters like we have.
Speaking at the vigil was my first go at public speaking. It certainly took me out of my comfort zone and so too did talking about human rights. I’ve never had to question my own human rights and taking time out to really think about this topic made me consider those people who have been forced to question theirs.
DMU has been ranked #13 by People and Planet for their environmental and ethical performance and this makes me proud to be a DMU student.
People and Planet score every University in the UK on their environmental and ethical performance. These results are compared in an annual league table. This year, we scored a total of 64.5% based on 13 performance indicators ranging from Environmental Policy to Sustainable Food. DMU’s work is truly sustainable as we’ve managed to stay in the First Class category for the 6th year running.
Here’s a snapshot on how we’ve done it:
We’ve done exceptionally well in our Environmental Policy, Education, Carbon Management and Auditing & EMS. However, our weaknesses lie in our Energy Sources, Workers’ Rights, Sustainable Food and Engagement – we need to be doing more to achieve 100% in all 13 areas.
Our poor performance in areas like Workers’ Rights, Sustainable Food, Engagement and Ethical Investment shows that DMU needs to be addressing the social aspects of sustainability which can sometimes be forgotten about.
As People and Planet’s aim is to drive environmental and ethical performance in universities they provide a number of helpful tips to help universities build on the great work already being done.
Who knows, if DMU takes up some of People and Planet’s suggestions we could become the leaders in next year’s table.
As part of my Frontrunner internship at DMU’s Estates and Development Team I had the pleasure of attending NUS’ annual Student Sustainability Summit last week. The conference is aimed at equipping students with ideas to help promote sustainability at their university and ensure it remains at the top of the agenda. As long as you’re a student – you’re invited so keep a look out for next years!
It was great to be surrounded by so many likeminded people and I really enjoyed the range of workshops on offer, especially the fact that I could choose which ones interested me the most.
My day began with an insight on how to run an effective campaign where I learned about campaign successes at other universities and ended with a call from Electronics Watch for action from universities to ensure any electronics purchased are not made in poor working environments.
All of the workshops inspired me to think about what I can do to improve sustainability at DMU but the most engaging of them all was the midday workshop on Climate Change, the Refugee Crisis and Ice Cream. I had no idea that the on-going Refugee Crisis could be linked to Climate Change and of the great work Ben and Jerry’s is doing to bring the issue to the attention of governments. Who would have thought that every purchase of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream contributes towards the fulfilment of their social activist work?!
Overall I came away with some new friends, a stomach full of delicious vegan lunch and a free Ben and Jerry’s ice cream but more importantly with lots of ideas on how we at DMU can continue the great work we’re doing in sustainability!
Thank you NUS for a great day!
Last week, we were joined by youngsters from the Gandhi Ashram children’s home in Ahmedabad, India. The Gandhi Ashram is home to 120 children and DMU Square Mile India is working to help keep the children safe, fed, clothed and educated. DMU Square Mile India regularly send DMU staff and students out to Ahmedabad in India to support their mission and arrange for some of the children to visit the UK giving them the opportunity to explore the university and a new culture.
In keeping with our sustainable ethos we showed our guests how to make their very own DIY recycled bags and wallets. We all had lots of fun and of course we wouldn’t want you to miss out so here’s a step by step guide on how you can make your very own: