Lucy’s Green Aspirations

by Cat Darsley on 25 January 2019

I worked in university sustainability for the last 10 years, first at Cambridge and then at the University of East Anglia, before deciding that I’d been challenged enough by bins and bikes and that a PhD sounded entertaining. It’s been fantastic seeing how the dialogue around environmental and social issues has evolved even in that time, leading here to Cambridge’s first collective Green Week (20-27 January, 2019).

When we think about ‘green’ issues, even within a university (or College) context, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of things that could be improved. Something that keeps me excited is that there is a huge amount of positive energy to draw on if you get frustrated, and if you ever get bored then there are other themes that you can turn your attention to – if bins and waste segregation for recycling aren’t your thing, how about sustainable fashion or ethical finance? If water saving and biodegradable cleaning products switch you off then how about the wellbeing benefits of getting outside for a cycle, or to appreciate the various species visible in the College gardens?

The fact is that we face a global crisis. Climate change is a social justice issue, a public health issue and a developing catastrophe for biodiversity. Whatever your field of study or personal interests, it will (and may already) impact on them – from seeking alternative energy sources to fossil fuels to drawing on understanding how societies in history dealt with environmental change; from changes to global weather systems changing growing patterns and raising food prices, to water insecurity impacting on lives and resource availability around the world, to climate refugees forced to leave their homes due to environmental changes or disasters. Our purchasing decisions have whole-life costs that we don’t often consider (where materials come from and the treatment of those involved, how items reach us, how much energy they use in their lifetime, how we dispose of them). The interlocking crises of environmental, economic and social areas of concern are considered by many to require interconnected and transdisciplinary approaches to resolve them.

This can get depressing. So, how about some of that positive energy I mentioned?

There are so many organisations and individuals out there who are fighting for climate hope, for climate justice and by using the interdisciplinary and systems approaches that we need. The programme for this week’s Green Week highlight some – see the Ethical Affairs in Cambridge Facebook page. There’s an annual Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum event, tickets just released here. My top recommendations for films to watch in that elusive free time include ‘Before the Flood’, ‘Racing Extinction’ and ‘This Changes Everything’.

Lucy Cavendish is taking part in the international Green Impact Awards programme to make a difference and be part of Cambridge’s fight for a sustainable future. Actions range from improving recycling and cutting single-use plastics to putting sustainability strategies and policies in place, from catering and grounds to College administration. Staff from across the College have signed up, and students can find out more this week.

Join me at Lucy's Green Impact student launch – Friday 25 January, 5.15-6pm in the Paul Paget Room!

Here’s to a year of Green Impact actions and being able to showcase our work with other College and department teams at the end of the programme. Come along to the meeting to hear more, and to share any ideas that you’ve had. If they’re not able to be picked up by Green Impact then we can make a note for next year, or for the SU!

Contact Catrin if you have any questions: or @c_darsley on Twitter.

In this section

Blog Authors

Agata Kurczynska

Alexandra Alridge

Alice Middleton

Aline Maalouf

Alison Russell

Anna Svegborn

Anna Wong

Annalisa Occhipinti

Annika Brouwer

Anthea Bain

April Bowman

Ateka Tarajia

Barbara Bollig

Barbara Wittman

Bea Aldrich

Bethany Howarth & Ida Svenonius

Bonnie Samuyiwa

Carol Atack

Caroline Sier

Caroline Vinall

Cat Darsley

Catherine Palmer

Charlotte Fiehn

Cherish Watton

Christine Pungong

Clarissa Hjalmarsson

Connie Buettner

Dame Anne Owers

Disha Patel

Donna Baillie

Dorothy Heeneman

Dr Angela Morecroft

Dr Barbara Wittman

Dr Bryanna Fox

Dr Emanuela Orlando

Dr Henriette Hendriks and Dr Isobel Maddison

Dr Isobel Maddison

Dr Jo Johnson

Dr Louise Foxcroft

Dr Sarah Morgan

Dr Yvonne Zivkovic

Elinor George, LCCBC President

Elizabeth Forbes

Elizabeth Jurd

Ellen Gage

Ellen Verde

Eva Simmons

Florence Hazrat

Gem Duncan

Gemma Maitland

Georgia Good

Georgia Hume

Gill Heyworth

Hannah Hutchings-Georgiou

Helen Gibson

Hollie Wells

Ingrid Dixon

Isabel Clare

Jean Cosslett

Jeanette Ariano, Marketing Manager

Jen Aggleton

Jennifer Ellis

Jessica Henry

Jessica Lim

Jessica Phillips

Jessie Ingle

Jillinda Tiley

Jo Harcus

Joanna Walker

Jothi Reddy

Joy Haughton

Judith Roberts

Julia Hayes

Julia Nielsen

Kate Coghlan

Katerina Georgopoulou

Kathryn Handley

Ketaki Patel

Kyaelim Kwon

Laura Shepperson-Smith

Laura Tan

Leona Awoyele

Lindsay Malone

Lizzie Moore

Lottie Greenhaf

Lucia Linares

Mara González Souto

Marianna Kopsida

Marion Beauchamp

Mathilde Whitburn

Michelle Baikie

Molly Yarn

Myriam Goudet

Ning Sang Jessica Tan

Novriana Sumarti

Patricia Vazquez Rodriguez

Poly Frangou, Women's Captain

Raisa Ostapenko

Ruth Haynes

Salma Elnagar

Sarah Godlee

Sheelagh Drudy

Sheila Russell

Shoko Hirosue

Sofia Maroudia

Stephanie Ma

Sulema Jahangir

Susy Jepson

Suzanne Tonkin

Sylvia Lynn-Meaden

Tanya Brown

Teresa Ma

Tianqi Dong

Tilda Bowden

Tim Arnold

Tom Hawker-Dawson

Wai Wan (Vivian) SZE-TO

Wendy Pollard

Yun Chiang