Last weekend (13-14 May 2017) we got one step closer to our vision of a carbon neutral university.
You ask how?
We organised a workshop we called ‘Changing Systems: Not just Lightbulbs’
and invited sustainability professionals and visionaries from universities to learn together how to make changes – System Changes.
What can be effective in building pathways to zero carbon in a university or college? How can we engage people, sustain the momentum, produce results? We focussed our conversations onto “What Works”, and we will produce a guide covering what emerged. Our expert speakers provided stories of what, in their experience, really does work.
We invited people who have already set off on zero carbon journeys and asked them to tell us their stories of change.
And they came.
Our main speakers
Paul Allen, the project coordinator for the Centre for Alternative Technology’s Zero Carbon Britain (ZCB), presented recent findings and striking examples which show us how a zero carbon Britain is possible – with existing technologies – by 2030.
David Somervell, previously sustainability adviser for the University of Edinburgh talked us through their ‘Zero by 2040’ vision. For us Sheffielders, this is fascinating - a fellow Russell Group university with an ambitious goal and a detailed strategy to realise it.
Finally, our CNU event lead and MSc student at the Centre for Alternative Technology, Adam Howard, presented ‘Theory U’. This model proposes that certain key stages underlie effective change initiatives. Complex systems, it urges, require us to listen first – and then to “lead from the emerging future”.
Besides our four main speakers, we had an excellent team of workshop participants from all over the country - SOAS University of London, the University of Warwick, Sheffield Hallam University and even international attendees from as far as Australia. Several of them gave short TED-style talks on their own projects and experiences, bringing an additional depth of experience to the table.
After a lively weekend we have loads of new ideas, motivation, and notes from our sessions, which we are going to pull together over the coming weeks.
We will make all resources available in the near future and we have also set ourselves a goal - to create a guide to ‘What Works’ that can help universities and other similar organisations in building zero carbon pathways.
- Short interview videos with our main speakers online;
- Full length lectures and summary blog posts online;
- The initial draft guide to ‘What Works’ will be opened up for review by participants. The goal is to publish by the end of June.
This whole event, and what we are now building from it, is the work of volunteers. (No-one has been paid a penny, apart from expenses.) We are enjoying ourselves as a team! Please get in touch if you want to help make it happen.
Your CNU event coordinators
Adam Howard, Stephen Folkes, Dan Olner, Aaron Thierry