University of Northampton to mirror COP26 climate change summit
The University of Northampton will be mirroring the COP26 climate change summit with a week of environmental action on campus.
The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), which takes place in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November, will see world leaders come together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The University will host a COP26 companion programme of events during the week beginning Monday 1 November, which will see students, University staff and industry discuss climate change.
The five-day event will have a different theme each day: transport and mobility; resource management, specifically water and waste at home; nature-based solutions to environmental issues; energy and emissions and combating climate change using circular economy solutions.
Event organiser and University Energy Officer, Danielle Bird, pictured above, said: “We felt COP26 was a really good opportunity for the University to promote the issues around climate change and sustainability for both our students and staff.
Making climate change relatable to Northampton
“I know most people are aware of climate change, but what we really want to do is to make it more relatable to people here in Northampton.
“So, we are putting the focus on the local area, by having local organisations and businesses taking part, to showcase what is being done in the area.”
Danielle added: “It’s quite easy to disconnect from climate change, especially here in the UK, in the Midlands, because everything you see via the media is doom and gloom and major disasters happening elsewhere in the world.
“Sometimes you might feel overwhelmed by it all and think there’s nothing we can do about it, or that it’s not affecting us here. But, actually, climate change is affected by everything everybody is doing around the world, so we can play our own part and be a bit more sustainable and more positive.
“We want students to go away knowing that they can do something to help. You don’t have to do something huge to make a difference. It could just be thinking about the way that you shop, the food that you eat, the way you travel. And if we can make small changes to our behaviours in these areas, we will have made a meaningful difference.”
Senior Lecturer in Environmental Sciences, Dr Janet Jackson, came up with the idea of the University’s own COP26 event.
She said: “After teaching for a very long time around the environment and sustainability, I would like our COP26 week to encourage all staff and students to think about how climate change relates to them and their area of study or research, and discuss ideas in their classrooms around problem solving and finding solutions.
“I also wanted to promote the how the design and construction of Waterside campus is helping us towards the University’s goal of zero carbon by 2030. Increasingly, other Universities and businesses are taking environmental credentials seriously, particularly now that the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are being used to set targets and compare corporate environmental success. We have some fantastic environmental management systems designed into Waterside that save energy and water, uses biomass, green roofs, and we have a landscape that was designed and planted to attract wildlife and improve local biodiversity and reduce additional flood risk.”
UON COP26 is not all about doom and gloom
She added: “Now we need students and staff to come onboard and support our week of events. We will also be promoting staff and postgraduate student research that relates to climate change with a series of recorded seminars. UON COP26 week is not intended to be doom and gloom and complaining about politicians in Glasgow. It is about positive behavioural change, resilience, adaptation and a celebration of education.”
Organisations which will be represented at the event include environmental groups Climate Action West Northamptonshire (CAWN) and Northampton Litter Wombles; Anglian Water; construction firm Travis Perkins; power generation business Drax; The Woodland Trust; the RSPB and analytical and life sciences instrumentation company, Horiba.
Visitors will also be able to find out about the University’s sustainability programme, including travel and energy generation, and the University backed Up for the Cup recycling campaign
University academics will also be presenting at the event, including Law lecturers Simon Sneddon and Ebenezer Laryea who will be talking about climate justice and legal deterrents to prevent ecocide, respectively.
The University is taking practical steps to tackle climate change. In February, it reaffirmed its commitment to combating climate change by pledging to becoming net zero carbon by 2030. Click the link below for details.
And this month, the institution confirmed it will enter The Race to Zero, a UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors – including companies, cities, regions, financial and educational institutions – to take rigorous and immediate action to halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a healthier, fairer zero carbon world in time.
The University is accepting applications for its Climate Change degree, for the 2022-23 academic year – click the link below for details.