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Welcome to the Sustainability Service’s 
newsletter, a condensed look at sustainability at the University of Leeds.

Welcome to the January newsletter! January is the time for making new resolutions and coming up with ideas on how we can become our best selves in the New Year. Aligning with our ‘Being a Positive Partner in Society’ strategic theme, this month’s newsletter focuses on ideas on how to achieve this goal and help your local community! Here are some tips on how to be more sustainable in 2016:

  • Encourage sustainable transport methods: Instead of travelling to work or school every day by car, why not consider walking or cycling? As the weather is getting a bit warmer it’s a great opportunity to get more active and reduce your carbon footprint! The Bike Hub on campus allows University of Leeds students and staff members to hire a bike for 3 months at a time for only £10. For more information visit our website.

  • Get more involved with sustainability on campus: Apart from our regular events, such as the Coffee Break on the last Friday of each month, there will be additional events held over the next few months. Keep an eye out on our Events page to find out more! These events are a great way to get to the Sustainability Service team as well as finding out ways to get involved with sustainability. Volunteering opportunities are also advertised on our social media occasionally. Make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep up to date with what’s going on.

  • Have a ‘buy nothing’ day: Buying absolutely nothing for a day would not only save you money, it would also help the environment! Challenge yourself, your family and friends to buy nothing and look to make a longer term lifestyle change by reducing your consumption altogether this year!
  • Mentor a community organisation: University of Leeds staff members and PhD students now have the opportunity to mentor a third-sector organisation through the Community Mentoring Scheme. To sign up to be a community mentor and for more information click here or contact Amanda Jackson.
  • Join a new society: For students, societies are a great way to get to know more like-minded people and socialise. Leeds University Union offers hundreds of societies to join, many of which are involved with volunteering or environmental conservation. To find one that might be if interest for you, click here.
  • Go meat-free for a day: Eating less meat does not only contribute to a healthier, more balanced diet, it’s also better for our planet and helps to create a fairer food system. If 10 million people would go meat-free for just one day, it could reduce water usage by 13 million tonnes (! Check out the refurbished Refectory which offers new vegan and vegetarian options on its menu. You could start off with trying it for just a day and maybe even challenge and set up a competition with your friends to see how long you can last without eating meat. 

  • Recycle more: As one of your resolutions for 2016, you could consider recycling more to help our planet. To find our new recycling guide, click here.
  • Take a sustainability Discovery Theme module: You could enrol in one of the hundreds of courses under the ‘Creating Sustainable Futures’ Discovery Theme to broaden your knowledge of sustainability - these modules are available for most students. You might also be considering a sustainability related dissertation - for guidance check the Sustainability Service's website.

To help achieve your goals in 2016, you could set yourself targets, such as ‘I will reduce my water consumption by 10%’/’I will dedicate 2 hours to volunteering every month.’ Apps, such as and Lift are also available to help you keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep going.

Welcoming a new team member
The Sustainability Service would like to welcome Josh West to our team! Josh is a Sustainability Projects Assistant - his role focuses on supporting the Education for Sustainable Development Network and the Sustainable-labs working group initiative. Josh graduated from Plymouth University with a degree in Conservation Biology in 2014 and has since volunteered for charities such as The Carbon Literacy Project and the RSPB. Keep an eye out on our website for Josh’s introductory blog post.
Creative Climate Writing Competition results 
The Sustainability Service’s ‘Creative Climate’ writing competition is now closed for submissions. We received an overwhelming number of stories and articles from the Leeds community of personal experiences of climate change and how it has affected people’s lives. We were especially delighted to see how varied the submissions were – many written by students in the local Leeds area as well as staff and students from the University. Thank you to everyone who has submitted an article!

Many thanks to Vivien Jones (Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of English) and Emily Diamand (Royal Literary Fellow in the School of Earth and Environment) for judging the entries!
Massive Congratulations to the winners Isabelle Ward (University of Leeds) and Matthew Marshall (Year 8 student, John Smeaton Academy, Leeds) for their exemplary articles. Please visit the Sustainability Service’s blog to find the two winning articles!

Well done to Afolakemi Ogunnubi, Jenny Barlow and Lauren Quinnell (University of Leeds), and Emily Ambrose, Libby heap and Caitlin Gautrey (John Smeaton Academy) who all received Highly Commended for their well-rounded, interesting and personal accounts of their experiences of climate change.
EMS training

The online training module for staff members on EMS is being launched on the VLE over the next 2 weeks! The training provides more detail about the Environmental Management System (EMS) and how staff members can contribute to its success. The System will play a key role in helping the Sustainability Service deliver many of the environmental objectives within our Strategy and provides us with a systematic approach to managing – and minimising – the impact that our activities have on the environment.

Summary of COP21

So after two intense weeks of negotiations, the final text of the Paris Accord was agreed! The delegates and media have been broadly positive, and have lauded the negotiations a success, whereas civil society and action groups have been slightly more reserved with their celebrations. However, it should be celebrated as a success for its achievement in getting a reasonably ambitious text agreed and committed to by nearly 200 countries. There was some discontent among various countries, primarily those who were aiming for a more stringent figure of 1.5 degree temperature rise, and members of the ‘High-Ambition Coalition’.

The situation could have arisen where the disagreement between 2 degrees or 1.5 stalled the negotiations or even caused collapse, but it is testament to the French presidency of the negotiations that this was prevented. Something that was noticed widely during these negotiations was the voice of small island states and developing nations. The usual powerful players (the EU, USA, Russia etc.) were clearly still loud voices, but were matched by the sheer number of developing countries who are already being affected by climate change. Some of the not-so-positive elements of the text include the exclusion of shipping and air travel and the removal of ‘loss and damage’ clauses which developing nations were hoping would be included. Nevertheless, the text indicates that Intended Nationally Distributed Contributions will be reviewed every 5 years to check on progress, and that these must be increasingly ambitious. This is a key element, as it should insure against countries greenwashing their industries initially, and then reverting back to fossil fuel consuming ways, and also gives certainty to businesses and economies, showing that the global economy must shift to a low carbon model to achieve these aims.

Campus Development

The University of Leeds has recently launched the new Campus Masterplan to support its vision for campus developments. £500M will be invested in these developments over the next 5 years in order to be able to increase knowledge and opportunity, focus on world-leading research and to further enhance the student experience. 19 new development sites have been identified; projects include the refurbishment of Leeds University Union, the Edward Boyle Library and building a multi-storey car park. To read more about the projects, please click here and sign up for the newsletter to keep up-to-date with the projects.
Environmental Physics Essay Competition
The Environmental Physics Group has launched an essay writing competition. The competition is open to all (members and non-members of the Institute of Physics) with entries from students particularly welcome.  Essays must be original and will be judged on writing quality and content. Please email your entries and enquiries by 28th February 2016.

Dates for your diary 
  • 26th January: Net Impact Event, ‘What is the role of company values and how can they support business sustainability?’ - The Net Impact topic questions the role of company values and how can they support business sustainability. This session questions why leaders are prepared to make this commitment; what roles do values actually play in an organisation. Sarah Lund, the Head of Strategy, Risk and Assurance at Yorkshire Water will lead the session (held in the Business School), for more information visit:
  • 27th January: Millennials on the move: Life transitions and Australian millennials - In this presentation Dr Alexa Delbosc (Lecturer at Monash University, Australia) will provide an overview of the relationship between life stage and automobility among Australian millennials and explore implications for future research, land-use and transport policy. The event will take place in room G.23, Institute for Transport Studies, between 1.30pm and 2.25pm.
  • 27th January: Public Art Workshop - Join The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery for an afternoon of presentations about the recent developments in the Public Art Project and plans for a Textile theme for campus during 2016 by Professor Ann Sumner, followed by discussion and debate chaired by Dr Martin Zebracki at Worsley building between 2pm and 4pm.
  • 27th January: Tell me the good news about the apocalypse: Reflections on transitioning from climate change academia to climate change consultancy – Come along to this Sustainability Seminar event, hosted by SRI between 4pm and 5.15pm; speaker: Dr Nick Brookes.
  • 28th January; 8th February; 23rd February: Green Impact drop in session – Casual drop in sessions for anybody interested in, or already involved in Green Impact. Come along if you’ve got any questions – please see our Events page for locations.
  • 29th January: BIG Campus Bird Watch 2016 – The sixth annual BIG Campus Bird Watch is being held on Friday, 29th January, starting at the Sustainable Garden. Two walks have been arranged for the day (at 12pm and 1pm) which link directly with RSPB’s national BIG Garden Birdwatch. Members from RSPB will also be assisting students and staff who decide to help to record the bird species on campus. Please email in advance to register your interest for the walks as places are limited. For more information visit
  • 29th January: TEDx University of Leeds, Eye of the Beholder - TEDx University of Leeds are excited to announce an extraordinary line up of speakers, from a huge range of backgrounds and professions. All the speakers will be presenting their original ideas, based on the theme of perception and subjectivity. For more information and to book tickets, see their Facebook event.
  • 1st February: StreetLeeds Launch Event – Between 5.45pm and 7.30pm, StreetLeeds is hosting their official launch event, a public legal education programme for the people of Leeds, delivered by the Leeds’ legal community. They would like the Leeds community - including their community partners, legal partners and student volunteers - to join them for a drinks reception in the grand surroundings of the Civil Hall, to celebrate this unique collaboration and mark the delivery of the first Streetleeds session in the city.
  • 3rd February: Unpacking the Paris Agreement: Is it enough to limit dangerous climate change? - This event will host a number of experts in the field of climate change science and policy in a panel debate to discuss what the historic Paris agreement means and how we now proceed in order to achieve the ambitious 1.5C target. Please register your interest here.