Progress with the Environmental Sustainability agenda in FBMH
Welcome to this second FBMH Environmental Sustainability (ES) Good Newsletter. The 1st edition was posted in May 2023 and you can read it on our document centre.
As you know, the call for climate action is urgent. Whilst the weather was dull in the UK this summer, many countries have experienced extreme weather events and some still are. The good news is that we know what needs to be done: several decarbonising technologies are available and must be deployed at scale and pace, whilst others are coming through the pipeline. Collectively, we must also become more sustainable in our personal and student/work life.
Whilst it is unsettling to hear the current UK government throwing uncertainties towards its climate target commitments, our University (along with many organisations and businesses) is determined to meet its targets, go through necessary existential transformations, and influence those within its reach to do the same.
The University has now published its ES strategy Our Sustainable Future and redesigned the sustainability webpage to provide clarity on our targets and actions, and reorganise information, resources and suggestions to get involved.
We also have made good progress in FBMH this summer towards our strategic plan:
Engaging all Faculty laboratories with tools focusing on reducing consumption and waste, sharing resources more effectively and developing more sustainable protocols: LEAF (Laboratory Efficiency Assessment Framework) and 6R (Review, Reduce, Reuse Refill, Replace, Recycle).
- 41% of PIs now have a LEAF champion, and we are discussing with local hospital trusts and research institutes how we can help each other becoming more sustainable.
- 13% of PIs have a LEAF award so far. We are hoping for fast progress with the support of our monthly training workshop (open to all) and our sustainable lab network which provides resources, lab visits, progress meetings, and working groups on recycling, procurement, ULT, greening techniques and soon impact. Three blogs are exploring all aspects of LEAF and training.
- Findings from two SBS final year project students are being implemented to improve the sustainability of our practical classes (See blog on SBS-ESP).
Engaging staff and students with sustainable actions on campus to reach our University targets:
- Limit annual air travel emissions to 50% of our 2018/19 level. We are nearly there for 2022-23 as both the University and Faculty have halved their air miles (47% and 44% respectively). The air travel carbon coefficient provided by the government has increased recently due to lower occupancy on planes, so our Carbon emissions are more than 50%. This is nonetheless good progress and we need to maintain this. Several policies are supporting this target: The travel decision tree, the top fund policy, our video conferences facilities. We also have two staff courses promoting various ways to publicise your work beyond conferences: Using Social Media for Impact workshop, and How to Communicate your Research (which includes blogging and various dissemination means). I would like to hear from those who have changed their organisation or habits to reduce air travel and share their tips in the next newsletters.
- Recycle 45% of waste produced through our operations by 2025.
- Food on campus is becoming more sustainable and food waste collection has increased; most staff now have a food bin in their kitchen area and students will benefit from clearer instructions for waste disposal in food halls, produced by an SBS ES Project student (See blog on SBS-ESP). UoM also strives to limit food waste for catered events [check instructions carefully when ordering] and the Student Union is running a community fridge on the first floor.
- FBMH has run two successful stationery rehoming events in welcome week: one in the Jean McFarlane Building with 15 staff and saving students and staff an estimate of ~£2000 [see blog in SHS newsletter] and one in the Stopford run by 19 UG 6R champions. Big thanks to all the volunteers and for all donations. The leftover stationary was taken by the Furniture4Reuse store, which is open to staff, students and local organisation and charities.
- An ES induction was launched in for Y1 UG and Master students and included guidance to recycling on campus, a link the wonderful and very complete Easy Eco for all booklet produced by Harriet Bickley in SHS and the 6R home and campus booklet with a new section on microplastics created by an SBS ES project student.
Disseminating UoM research on climate change, climate solution and resilience.
- The UoM Sustainable Future seminar series is starting again. The website also regularly publish exciting news and opportunities for training or funding.
- The climate network newsletter lists all the climate action events happening at UoM and in Manchester.
Supporting green spaces on campus (e.g., Smith quad) that promote biodiversity whilst offering enjoyment and opportunities for nature-based learning or well-being activities.
- Lily and Issy are the Smith quad garden managers. They coordinate the volunteer gardeners and will start organising nature-related activities (see quad blog).
- We want to engage staff and students with nature on campus using apps, such as iNaturalist. We launched this initiative in the Smith quad at the FBMH ES showcase in June 2023 and took part in the iNat Eurobioblitz on Sep 29th with SBS UG volunteers. Several SBS ES project students will develop this initiative further this year.
- Here are some useful maps to help explore the campus (possibly with iNat): Green spaces on campus, Interactive Tree Trail on campus, the Sustainability map (select living campus features).
Embedding sustainability in our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes.
- Our strategy aims to deliver an introduction/induction to ES for all our UG and PG programme in Y1 and make space for ES-related projects in our existing portfolio. I’m thrilled to report that SBS, Medicine, Dentistry, Psychology, and Pharmacy have made a start or are about to (see 3 blogs on SBS ESP, Pharmacy Yr1, 1 in 5 Project). I’ll soon be in touch with the other schools.
- The Department of Public Health, based in the School of Health Sciences has developed a series of open-access courses on public health and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and will start to run climate cafes (see blog)
Promoting sustainable actions in our wider community (schools, community, organisations, businesses – local or afar) with the help of trained students.
- We started collaborating with the Manchester Environmental Education Network and UG 6R champions campaigned at a Youth Sustainability Conference hosted at Connell College in July. We want to further this relationship and develop activities around 6R and biodiversity for primary schools with two ES project students.
Educating and exciting those we can reach about existing and future solutions to tackle the climate crisis.
- The FBMH ES Good Newsletter is our tool for this priority. We disseminate it externally via various social media platform and I hope you find the articles written by our UG students exciting (Bamboo is better!, AI to the Rescue: Sorting and Recycling Plastic Made Easy)
To find out more about Environmental Sustainability: visit the Faculty’s intranet page, website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Environmental Sustainability at the University watch this short film or visit their website.