Nursing and Midwifery
The introduction to the first handbook I read on Environmental Issues states: “In the education sector there is no shortage of lofty aspirations about the need to save the planet for future generations. The problem is that we are short of the kind of action that will deliver at the scale required” (UCU Environmental Reps Handbook pg 2). I couldn’t agree more. Working in higher education, alongside knowledgeable students and colleagues who have awareness, debate, who desire change, and yet are faced with how to implement and sustain environmental change, illustrates the challenges. In Spring 2014 I agreed to the role of UCU Green Rep and was faced with such a test. How do I raise the profile of environmental issues at my own HEI? The UCU, as an organisation, has gone some considerable distance in managing a process of change for a sustainable future, based on fairness and equity and is guided by five principles: Consultation; Investing Government-led investments in education/training and skills programmes; Democratic decision-making; Strengthening worker information, consultation and participation rights to matters concerning sustainable development; and Transitioning sensibly to a low carbon economy. It is those five principles that led to some affiliation with the Student Union and Green Impact.
The Green Impact initiative provided opportunity for me as a UCU rep to work alongside our student fraternity and share consultation in education, training and skills; we are a small team of five and have worked democratically in terms of decision making and have each participated in finding ways to improve our local environment concerning sustainable development. The building we focused on is on the Allerton Campus – Mary Seacole which houses nursing, midwifery and has clinical skills and simulation labs for the sports and allied health care students.
What the Green Impact provided for me as a neophyte rep was a structure in which to place the five principles and implement concrete tasks to complete. The problem, as stated above, is that we are short of certain kinds of action to ensure delivery. With Green Impact we were able to find practical ways to work with such challenges to implement eighteen initiatives (B001 – B005) Energy; (B006 – B007) Travel; (B008 – B011) Waste & Recycling; (B012 – B012) Water; (B013 – B014) Procurement; (B015 – B015) Greening teams, action plans and communications; (B016 – B018) Embedding & Communication.
Now we are at the end of this years’ simple but effective cycle, and have worked as a student/academic union team and focused on providing simple actions, supporting people to make the changes and disseminating our efforts. Waiting to see if we are to be awarded Bronze….
As part of Green Impact commitment, we have discussed how we can reduce our rubbish waste, especially coffee cups.
We want to promote the deconstruction of the cup so it can be put into three different bins appropriately.
Starbucks cups have a coating which makes it difficult to be recycled so the cup itself needs to go into general waste bin.
The plastic lids and the cardboard sleeve can be recycled so these can be taken off the cup and put into the corresponding plastics and paper/cardboard bins.