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Warwick Sustainability Summit 2018 - A Review

On Thursday 18th October we welcomed staff, students and visitors from across the University and beyond to our third Sustainability Summit to celebrate our achievements and share knowledge on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030 with the aim to leave no one behind.

A major highlight of the evening was a talk by our Keynote Speaker, Farooq Ullah. Farooq is the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development and a Director of Stakeholder Forum, which is an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) advancing sustainable development through good governance and participatory decision-making at all levels. He got everyone thinking about the SDGs and the balancing act between environmental limits and social justice. He also provided an overview of a recent project that assessed how the UK is performing on the Goals.

The call for action was noticeable to all – there is still a significant amount of work that needs to be done in order to achieve the Goals and that universities and individuals have an important role to play. At present there is limited research on how not achieving the SDGs will impact on the economy, society and the environment and a question put to staff and students was: What role can the University of Warwick play?

The Environmental Sustainability Team are looking to work with the Global Sustainable Development degree to assess out current initiatives and impact against the SDGs and to identify opportunities for improvement. The Summit also asked individuals what they can do both on a large scale and on an individual basis.

Attendees also learnt about the important work of the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) society, the Warwick Climate Reality Campus Corps Society and the Warwick Behaviour Insights Team (WBIT).

GSD delved into what makes the GSD degree so different from your normal degree and elaborated on the topics they cover. They also spoke on the society itself and how people can become more involved. The society is open to all.

Climate Reality used slides from a recent event held by Al Gore to highlight the environmental effects of climate change and some of the positive examples of reality, for example ‘wind could supply worldwide electricity consumption 40 times over.’ Climate Reality has a number of events coming up over this term.

The W-BIT detailed their initiatives around nudging behaviour change and the positive effects this has and continue to have. You get get involved with W-BIT by attending their meetings in Oculus OC0.05 Mondays at 5pm.

Event announcements included the Engineering Society's Conference Journey to a Sustainable Future on 7th Nov, Warwick Blackout event in the evening on 15th Nov and the Climate Reality '24 Hours of Reality' which should be taking place on 4th December on the Piazza

The evening finished with everyone enjoying a selection of pizzas delivered from Cafe Library; many of these were vegan and all of which were gluten free.

Student feedback:

'The Sustainability Summit was educational and provoked food for thought on topics surrounding Environmental Sustainability. The key note speakers were incredibly engaging and interesting. Overall, the summit was a very positive experience!' Leila Fuerst, Student

Slides from the event can be found here