What's on during the Bristol SU's Sustainability Month?


By Maya Ellwood, 1st Year Sociology and Philosophy & Feature Writer

Bristol has been an epicentre of environmental awareness over the last few years, home to climate strikes, talks from Greta Thunberg and, last year, the University of Bristol became the first university to announce a climate emergency. February is Bristol SU’s sustainability month, and the strive for climate justice continues.

This year will not be marked people gathering on College Green, but worry not for Bristol SU has many online events that mean the endeavour for climate justice can continue. This year, the Sustainability Month will build up to Bristol SU’s first Climate Emergency Day of Action on 26th February. This day has been scheduled into the University calendar as taking precedence over usual educational activities to emphasise the importance of the Climate Emergency.

Virtual events including panel discussions, teach-outs, a People’s Assembly and keynote speakers have been timetabled throughout the day to encourage both students and staff to participate, in order to increase awareness of the challenges currently facing the environmental crisis.

Some exciting speakers have been confirmed which include the likes of Ed Miliband, Environmental campaigner Tony Jupiter and Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees. The SU have said the Day of Action was a priority for the year, which builds on the years of work they’ve already committed towards greater sustainability.

Ruth Day, Bristol SU Student Living officer states: ‘This is the single biggest issue that our generation is facing and it’s important that everyone is able to access the education and skills they need to help tackle it. I’m really pleased that we’ve been able to work with university on this at it demonstrates their commitment to tackling the climate emergency.’

Below is just a small section of what the SU have on for the next month, and summaries of what have already happened:

Why a balanced, omnivorous diet could help us save planet earth

Zoom: Wednesday 24-02-2021 - 18:00 until Wednesday 24-02-2021 - 19:00

This is for those of you who vowed to complete Veganuary this year but didn't quite make it, or those who can't comprehend a plant-based diet but like the idea of food that doesn't harm the planet. Professor Michael Lee, an expert in sustainable livestock systems, is holding a Zoom conference on why a balanced, omnivorous diet could help us save Earth. Tickets are free, so grab them for what promises to be a thought-provoking lecture.

Things you can do for the climate during the pandemic

Zoom: Thursday 25-02-2021 - 18:00 until Thursday 25-02-2021 - 19:00

This event rightly highlights the pandemic, in halting our efforts to bring about climate justice, has been detrimental to the environment. It has also left those of us who feel passionately about the planet feeling frustrated and helpless. This session will teach you about ways you can act, even during lockdown, to help the climate. From political action to personal deeds, you can help slow climate change and support green organisations. They are also offering a platform for you to share your own ideas, so if lockdown has allowed you time to focus and contemplate green strategies -  why not spread the climate love!

Climate Emergency Day of Action

Zoom: Friday 26-02-2021

The aforementioned landmark Day of Action, with hugely influential speakers. An unmissable event.

What has already happened this month?

Have Your Say: Integrating Sustainability and the Climate Emergency into Education

Last Wednesday 17-02-2021

Professor Chris Priest, the Academic Head of Sustainability, led this discussion on why and how the University of Bristol has committed to its strategy to integrate sustainability into the educational experience of every student.Questions emerged on this commitment, like what barriers and obstructions does the initiative face? What educational experiences should students have? How can this ambition be fulfilled? This was a really interesting watch.

Sending less to the landfill

Last Saturday 20-02-2021

This presentation on how to personally create less waste discussed ways to reduce supermarket plastic packaging and how to compost better. It was followed by a group discussion of how people are trying to reduce unnecessary waste.

All events and more similar ones are available to book on the SU website.

Featured Image: Epigram / Lucas Arthur