Edinburgh's Dual Challenge
23 Nov 2009
Transition Edinburgh University is a brand new initiative aimed at enabling the move towards a low carbon lifestyle throughout the university community.
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Transition Edinburgh University is a brand new initiative aimed at enabling the move towards a low carbon lifestyle throughout the university community. Faced with the dual challenge of Peak Oil and climate change, the Transition model involves raising awareness and concentrating on a grassroots effort to cut emissions.
As part of a carbon crash’ plan, over the next 18 months, students and staff will be carrying out creative and practical schemes to reduce their carbon footprint. A Green Dragons Den’ will take place, mimicking the television series, where business ideas are pitched to investors. Students and staff will be invited to offer carbon-saving ideas to a panel of experts, with the successful projects being implemented.
Launched by students in the autumn and involving staff and academics, the initiative has seen the creation of biweekly planning meetings, as well as several working groups’. These focus on certain areas, such as food production and improvements to university buildings. A research team is establishing a baseline carbon footprint for the entire university. The working groups are encouraging members of the community to become more involved in aspects and issues which affect them personally, or where they might have a special interest.
Transition Edinburgh University currently employs a number of interns who work in the institution’s Energy and Sustainability Office. Most of these are recent Edinburgh graduates, like Tom McGrath. ‘The possibilities for making this a sustainable University are really inspiring,’ he says. ‘We’ve had input and enthusiasm from the whole university community. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone’s ideas and involvement shape the future of Edinburgh’s green transition.’
Following a renewal of their funding from the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Fund, the initiative will hire six new interns for the next 18 month period. Since starting, Transition Edinburgh University has grown dramatically, with an official launch in the autumn proving hugely successful. A large attendance from throughout the university community revealed that Edinburgh is set to become a leading light in the drive towards sustainability in the educational sector.
Tom sees a promising future: ‘There exists a huge potential for universities to be leaders in the field of carbon reduction. Everyone is really excited about just how much we could achieve here.’
Transition Edinburgh University team during
an Away Day’ at the Craigencalt
Ecology Centre ñ a haven for natural
wildlife overlooking Kinghorn Loch, Fife
Photo: © Ric Lander
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