Greta Thunberg started a whole new round of climate change protests, and Extinction Rebellion have continued from where she left off. With climate change topping the list of worries for many young people, it is important to know whether your higher education institute is taking the issue seriously.
One of the main ways to check if your university is taking climate change seriously is how they address the issue in the curriculum. Wits University in South Africa is holding an event later on in 2020 which will enable members of the university to showcase how they think the university can help resolve the environmental and climate crisis, and what they are actually doing to address this issue. Additionally various departments at Wits are carrying out their own research and teaching in relation to the climate crisis and the effects of alternative energy resources. Is your university doing something similar?
Another way that Wits is also leading the way in taking the climate crisis seriously is through examining how waste material produced in South Africa can be converted into biofuels and what they can be used for, to ensure a cleaner and healthier environment. Given the vast amount of waste that is produced in the UK alone, it would be helpful for potential or current students to know how their own universities are looking to convert waste into reusable material.
If your university is providing food and drink on campus that is locally sourced, that is another way to know that it is taking the climate crisis seriously. Why? Because the closer to the university the food and drink comes from, and the way in which the producers of this content make their food/drink all has an influence on the footprint that gets put out into the world. Ensuring that the university is taking this into consideration is important.
If you are in a university like Durham where there are lots of open fields/university allotments, it is important to note whether your university has dedicated gardens and allotments to allow for produce to be grown on campus. Whilst this of course depends on the climate in your locality, going green like this enables students to learn a bit more about the benefits planting, trees, flowers and plants can have on the environment, especially if students are encouraged to plant their own.
There are other ways in which a student or prospective student can see if their university is taking climate change seriously, but if you are based in the UK, the four ways mentioned above are perhaps the key pillars to identifying this.