Canterbury Christ Church University marked its commitment to sustainability with a day of events focused on social and environmental justice.
The Social and Environmental Justice for a Sustainable Future event welcomed staff, students and the wider community, to explore and analyse various aspects of social and environmental justice with workshops, interactive activities, and talks from University lecturers and external speakers.
Dr Stephen Scoffham, Reader in Sustainability and Education at the University, and speaker at the event, explained what Social and Environmental Justice means for him.
“It is so important,” he said. “Unless we have a reasonable measure of equality between different people and communities; and unless there is a reasonable level of intergenerational equity, we are not going to be able to move forward on solving and addressing the environmental crisis which we know is such an important issue.”
Simon Hood, Research Analyst at Runnymede Trust, the UK’s leading independent race equality think tank, opened the event with a keynote speech and Q&A on ‘Race and the Environmental Emergency.’
Students and staff got involved in workshops and activities throughout the day and there was a range of stalls from campaigners and activist organisations, student societies and community groups.
Students led an ‘anti fast fashion awareness’ workshop to encourage more sustainable thinking in fashion and buying clothes, to avoid negative environmental impacts.
Talks included ‘Indigenous peoples and climate change from Alex Ntung, a talk around climate science denial and ‘vulnerability to eco-facism’ from Heather Luna, the former Education for Sustainable Development Project Coordinator for the Higher Education Academy.
Other themes discussed throughout the day included sustainable human development, geographical maps for social and environmental justice, religion, sustainability and the common good, science, religion and sustainability in schools and sustainable media production practices and content creation.
Dr Adriana Consorte-McCrea, Education for Sustainable Futures Lead, gave her view on environmental and social justice.
Environmental justice for me has two sides – one is our connection with everything that is alive and is part of the same system so one part is always connected to the other in what it does and what comes out of it – and the other part is how people fit in with this greater scheme of things: in the same way that the environment has been exploited, a lot of people have been exploited with the same mentality of use, rather than care and without consideration for their own value so I think that environmental justice is very much related to social justice – Dr Adriana Consorte-McCrea, Education for Sustainable Futures Lead.
The conference was organised by the Academy for Sustainable Futures in partnership with Closing our Gap, BH365, Equality, Diversion and Inclusion team, LTE, Global Majority Network, Interdisciplinary Research Network, International Office and Christ Church Students’ Union.
The Academy for Sustainable Futures is based on ten years of pioneering work in sustainability and has been created to enable the University to make a step-change in its drive towards educating, advocating, and influencing our collective sustainable futures. In responding to the climate crisis, the Academy will drive forward the academic elements of the strategy, leveraging the University’s wider influence and civic duty. Its priorities are:
- to provide evidence through undertaking and sharing sustainability research;
- embed education for sustainability within all learning and teaching;
- exemplify sustainable practices through University operations; and
- build relationships for change through engagement with the University and local communities, and with national and international policy and policymakers.
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