Sustainable actions taken by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) have been highlighted as good examples in a global conference on climate action.
Staff and students from the university joined hundreds of people from around the world for the annual European meeting for Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) in Education for Sustainable Development
It was the first time the event has been held online and organisers estimated the move to have saved over 150 tonnes of carbon emissions from delegate travel by doing so.
The event was organised online by the East Midlands RCE including members from DMU, University of Leicester, Leicester City Council, SustEd and a range of other charities and independent educators, avoiding any mass travel.
During the event some of DMU’s own practice was highlighted, including efforts by the school of Fashion and Textiles to embed sustainability in their taught courses and the collaboration between DMU, University of Leicester and Leicester City Council to educate students and school pupils on how to take action to combat the climate emergency.
Known as the European meeting for Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) in Education for Sustainable Development, the annual event focuses on local and regional efforts to address the climate emergency and educate on sustainability issues.
Over 300 participants from over 40 countries took part over two days, with sessions addressing issues such as nature education, carbon literacy training and collaborations across Europe between localities to promote climate action.
The global RCE network, co-ordinated by the United Nations University (UNU), aims to support local action to address the global sustainability agenda embodied by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
DMU has strong commitments to sustainability and the SDGs, including acting as a Global Hub for SDG16 which calls for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
The university recently acknowledged its commitments in the light of the climate emergency in its Carbon Management plan, including aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions through energy on campus and transport in DMU vehicles by 2032.
Andrew Reeves, DMU’s Academic Lead for Education for Sustainable Development said: “Having the chance to host this event was the result of a strong collaborative proposal, which meant that the European meeting has been hosted in the UK for the first time in many years.
“It has been a great experience working with organisations across Leicester and the UK to design an engaging online conference.
“Although Covid-19 forced us to make this an online event, our intention was always to creatively find ways for online participation to yield as much learning, networking and serendipitous encounters as through a face-to-face event.”
In addition, Hannah Sellers, Academic Engagement Officer at the University of Leicester said: “We have estimated that going online has saved over 150 tonnes of CO2 due to avoiding delegates’ travel, making this an excellent model for future sustainability conferences.
“It has been great to connect and share experiences with people from across the world which is so important in these times.”
Pre-recorded short talks and workshop recordings from the conference are available on the DMU Education for Sustainable Development website.
Organisations in Leicester and across the East Midlands are encouraged to get involved in the East Midlands RCE to work together on sustainability and climate change. Get involved here.
Posted on Thursday 10th December 2020