Younger generations are taking climate change by the horns. But climate anxiety is troubling many young people, as ecosystems continue to be threatened. The education sector has a vital role to play in tackling these worries.
Climate concerns have been increasing over the past few years. As countries around the world experience significant weather abnormalities, more people are reporting feelings of climate anxiety. Young adults in universities around the UK are now coming together to protest and look for solutions to the growing climate crisis. But it is also up to universities to do their part to reduce emissions and calm the worries of their students.
The UK government announced its Clean Growth Strategy in 2017, setting out a roadmap to decarbonise the public and higher education sectors over the next decade. But how can universities address climate change and encourage collective action amongst students?
Set up environmental societies
Setting up collective societies brings together like-minded people, providing a forum to discuss further developments. These platforms allow young people to organise and take urgent action to combat climate change: in the form of panels, internships, research teams and socials.
Universities and students can set up eco-friendly events, which can be engaging and fun to participate in. Clothes swaps, second-hand sales and sustainable cooking days are all great ways for students to get involved and do their bit to help the environment.
Offer sustainable transport
Transport is the most polluting sector in the UK representing roughly 27% of the country’s total greenhouse gases. So, it is important to tackle the harmful effects of transport, when considering ways to make the UK more sustainable.
Universities across the UK often generate a substantial demand for travel. This can be due to students driving from their homes to lectures, and international students flying to and from their countries. As a result, several universities have introduced sustainable transport options.
Some universities have installed e-scooter and city bikes around campuses. Others have set up car clubs, with students joining together to carpool and reduce their carbon footprint.
Focus on zero waste
Reducing your waste is essential, as we strive to becoming sustainable. And universities are the ideal place to integrate zero waste living. As young adults start their lives in new cities and develop lifestyle preferences, it is the perfect time to put sustainable routines into practice.
While zero waste may seem ambitious, you can work towards this gradually and implement simple initiatives. Such as adding more recycling bins around campus, cutting out single-use plastic and offering reusable bottles and food containers to students.
Reduce energy consumption
Schools and universities generate more than 2% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions and 15% of the country’s total public sector emissions. Becoming energy efficient through using less energy is the most effective way to reduce carbon emissions and put your students’ minds at ease.
As the climate crisis continues to accelerate, there has been a growing focus on renewable energy. While this is a crucial aspect, it is equally important that we manage our existing energy supplies sustainably. Technology like IoT allows universities to get to grips with new ways of generating energy, whilst also reducing waste and cutting unnecessary costs.
How can Monarch help?
Ensuring that education institutions reach their sustainability goals can seem like a daunting task. But every small step towards energy efficiency is also one step closer to a greener future.
At Monarch, we aim to help all our clients to progress towards energy efficiency. Our expert team is on hand to find you the right contract and supplier for your energy needs. Through our comprehensive auditing and assessments, we can determine the best solution for your business.
Download our Greener Future for Education guide today and kickstart your university’s sustainability journey.