Student blogs: Tami shares her involvement with sustainability at the university

tamifinal

“Hi,I’m Tami Pein a first year Environment and Business student. I chose to study at Leeds because of the fantastic Earth and Environment Department and all the great opportunities to get involved in environmental ventures at the University. My first year so far has definitely exceeded all expectations. I was voted Course Rep and Green Coordinator of my residences, Central Village. As Green Coordinator I am able to implement ‘sustainability initiatives’ such as promoting new compost schemes, encouraging recycling and running my own healthy lifestyle events.

Event organising has been a great way to promote greener, healthier lifestyles for students; yoga and raw vegan cooking classes to name just a few! I volunteer with Green Action Society; working in their food coop eco-shop in the union and weather permitting, gardening in their allotments in Woodhouse Moor. Bardon Grange has been a fantastic platform for me to get involved in green activities on campus! Recently I ran a seed bomb making workshop with Bardon Grange project to sustainably recycle old seeds. It was fun, messy and hands on, I really enjoyed running the workshop and I hope to do more in the future. After Easter I plan to run more yoga events, healthy cooking classes, natural art workshops and get involved with the University of Leeds Sustainability Service!”

Sustainable Labs Working Group Returns!

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After a longer than average summer break the Sustainable Laboratories Working Group has made a comeback! Albeit with a less than impressive tan.

Chaired by Associate Professor Louise Jennings, the group brings together researchers, technicians, and services from across the university to discuss options to reduce the negative environmental, economic, and social impacts laboratories impose on both a local and national scale.

Previous successes to arise from the meetings include the Reuse@Leeds:labs network, allowing lab users to share chemicals, glassware and electrical equipment. They have have also enabled the refurbishment of 64 fume cupboards in the Priestly Chemistry Lab which saved 511 tonnes of carbon emissions over a 6 month period between 2013/14.

On Tuesday 23rd February the group congregated for the first time this year to share updates, both positive and negative, on sustainable working practices across laboratory spaces. We discussed management systems for chemical storage, such as LabCup, and how to achieve more effective equipment sharing and procurement strategies. We also looked at energy efficient practices for ultra-cold storage, water use, and fume cupboards. These will be some of the key issues as we try to create a more sustainable laboratory network.

Think about it, in an average week how much waste have you produced? Was it recyclable? How much energy did you use? Could you have used less? Have you shared any pieces of equipment?What equipment could you have shared?

The Working Group would like to engage as many lab users as possible in the sustainable laboratory network. Joshua West (Sustainability Service Projects Assistant) is on the lookout for enthusiastic technicians looking to bolster their public speaking skills and share their sustainable working practices at this spring’s Sustainability Forum (date TBC).

If this opportunity catches you eye or if you have any questions about the working group or the Sustainability Service in general then please contact Josh at j.west1@leeds.ac.uk

Creative Climate runner up – Caitlin Gautrey – ‘Climate Change’

This article was submitted by Caitlin Gautrey, a Year 8 student from John Smeaton Academy.

 

The effects of changing climate have had a huge impact on peoples livelihoods as well as wildlife and environment all around the world. Climate change has affected me because I wouldn’t know what could happen, you don’t know if it could be raining sunny or even snowy. Forest fires, also known as wildfire, continue to threaten already endangered species, such as Pikas, Tufted Puffins, green sea turtles and polar bears. Polar bears could disappear in the wild unless the pace of global warming slows down. Depending on sea ice, the animal uses it to float along the water to catch their prey, people believe that their ice caps are melting at a rate of 9% per decade, this is endangering the polar bears existence and is getting them closer to extinction. The Kynsa seahorse is extremely vulnerable to increases in water temperatures; in 1991, over 3,000 were found dead after heavy rainfall resulted in higher than normal temperatures. Increased flooding also puts the seahorses at risk. In 2003, the number of sea horses declined by about 85 percent, but there is anecdotal evidence that some populations are increasing. The Kaputar pink slug is only found on a specific mountain in Australia. Climate change is a major threat to it because increased temperatures will further restrict the slugs already small sub-alpine habitat. Having even a small increase in temperature could lead to a 55 percent habitat reduction. Several of Australia’s marsupials are at threatened by climate change. The Northern Hairy-Nose Wombats small population size makes random changes in climate or severe weather events a threat to them. Increased droughts can also hurt the wombats, since they lead to a competition with domesticated animals for food. Like the wombat, the Banded Hair wallaby faces threats from droughts; two reintroduction attempts failed due to droughts. In general, s rise in extreme weather events could harm the population, as they are located in a single bay in western Australia. Both whooping cranes are several types of Ibis are being threatened by climate change. A drought in 2009, which hurt the availability of several key food items for the crane, caused mortality rates to the double, it lowered breeding success by 50 percent. Mosquitoes carrying avian malaria are a major threat to the Akikiki, while they cannot currently survive in the equivalent as to where the Akikikis live, scientists are worried that rising temperatures could allow mosquitoes to thrive in Akikiki and pass on avain malaria. Forest fires/wildfire is where the forest is that dry from the sun, that every little spark can cause huge fires amongst the forest, this shows that the forest is totally dry because it hasn’t rained in that area for a while.

Climate change would cause regions to either become wetter, and others warmer. Sea levels will rise as glaciers melt, while some regions will be more at risk of heat waves, drought, flooding and natural disasters. Climate change could ruin food chains and ecosystems, putting whole species at risk of extinction.