Sustainable universities — living in harmony with the nature
Even though we’re currently living through an unseen drop in carbon output, and many scientists confirmed the coronavirus pandemic had and will continue to have a positive impact on the environment, long term projections are not so positive. Every crisis so far that resulted in carbon output dropout, was followed by an even bigger rise in subsequent years. So, now we’re travelling less and less buildings are being constantly heated which means that some big cities such as Paris have seen a CO2 drop of 72% (+/-15%) in the month of March compared to normal. But long term — an action is needed to change the way people live and perceive sustainability and environment.
Some universities act as a great example of how to be kind to the environment and how to encourage students to adopt life-long habits of living sustainably. These are the universities who had the best sustainability score in 2019:
- University of Gloucestershire — 80.6%
- Manchester Metropolitan University — 79.9%
- Nottingham Trent University — 75.2%
- Northumbria University — 66.6%
- City, University of London — 66.4%
- University of Worcester — 66.4%
- Coventry University — 65.9%
- University of Bedfordshire — 65.3%
- Aston University — 63%
- Swansea University — 63%
The total score is calculated based on universities’ performance in 13 categories: Environmental policy and strategy, Human resources for sustainability, Environmental auditing and management systems, Ethical investment, Carbon management, Workers’ rights, Sustainable food, Staff and student engagement, Education for sustainable development, Energy sources, Waste and recycling, Carbon reduction and Water reduction. These rankings were compiled by People & Planet university league and included 154 universities across the UK.
The most successful university, the University of Gloucestershire, has been in the top 10 since the start of the league. The University encourages students to get involved with the university culture of sustainability through projects and opportunities linked to university life, courses, and careers, such as the Live Smart project. The university has also set a number of targets to manage its waste and water to improve environmental performance, and has already decreased the amount of waste going to landfill by 98 percent since 2009, with 71 percent of waste being recycled.
This is what they said about their success:
“So for our university, as one of the original pace-setters, to still be able to compete with the larger players, is a great credit to the commitment and the results that we’ve achieved, which are now led by students, staff and partners across the university.” — Dr Alex Ryan (Director of Sustainability) and Miriam Webb (Sustainability Engagement Manager) source: Save the student
If living green is one of your priorities, you might want to check the above mentioned list before sending your university application. It is important that you spend the next 3 or 5 years living comfortably and knowing that your university and the community you live in are doing their best in promoting sustainability and are shown as an example to other universities and students across the UK.