UN SDG 13: Climate action
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
The University is proud to be partner in the African Research Universities Alliance - Cluster: Africa-Europe CoRE for Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.
Professor Fabrice Renaud, Head of the School of Social & Environmental Sustainability, is a core partner on this Africa-Europe CoRE. Co-led by the Universities of Cape Town and Stellenbosch in South Africa, and the University of Bologna, Italy, this cluster will build a multidisciplinary research network between European and African institutions, in order to urgently tackle the impact of climate change on both continents.
The cluster will respond to the fact that both Africa and Europe are highly vulnerable to climate variability and change, with human and wildlife consequences ranging from heat-related mortality and biodiversity loss, to reduced food production and water scarcity. To tackle these urgent issues the research team plans to establish a climate service hub for Africa and a nature-based solutions innovation hub, as well as focusing implementing innovative measures to combat climate change. To this end, the cluster aims to open up new dialogues with policymakers and funders in both Europe and Africa, to identify ground-breaking solutions and create opportunities for investment in societal transformation.
The University’s Cycle to Work scheme has encouraged hundreds of employees to ditch the car for their commute.
Learning & teaching
The SDGs play a central role in the design of courses on the Environmental Science & Sustainability programme at the University. Three new core courses starting in 2023 introduce, explore and address SDGs through a range of themes.
“The interlinked nature of environmental problems is complex and often difficult to address, but solutions are possible if we have a good understanding of these complexities and make positive changes. Our new courses contribute to a portfolio of SDG-focused courses aiming to expose students to the challenge but also the solutions to a more sustainable pathway” Dr Steven Gillespie, Head of Subject, Environmental Science & Sustainability.
The new courses are offered to all students on the Dumfries Campus, therefore students taking non-environmental degree programmes can engage in the key SDG themes and carry this knowledge into their own professions.
Our Centre for Sustainable Solutions has also launched a Sustainability in Learning & Teaching Community of Practice. This community of practice builds on the centre’s definition of sustainability, which is fundamentally the safeguarding of the natural environment while progressing towards equitable and just conditions for current and future generations. It aims to be a hub of multi-disciplinary connections that lead to learning and teaching collaboration for developing activities and practice that transforms the University from the inside out. The community of practice has held numerous successful events including seminars on climate literacy and climate action, and workshops on students leading staff for sustainability and ‘greenifying’ your course.
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The Glasgow University Environmental Sustainability Team (GUEST) again played a leading role in the Glasgow Goes Green festival, with this year’s theme being ‘Let Glasgow Flourish’. Events included walking tours, promotion of the University’s Cycle to Work scheme, getting active with UofG Sport and other practical events to raise awareness of how to live a less car-dependent life.
GUEST also ran several successful circular economy events, including homeware swaps where items were dropped off by students moving out or decluttering, and swap shops held for other students to come along and collect them. Items were collected from student accommodation and from individual students, and several hundred items were saved from going to landfill. Similar swap shops were also run for clothing and have been a great success.
An ambitious new project, led jointly by UofG and Heriot-Watt University, is focused on ways in which digital technologies can accelerate the decarbonisation of transport to help the nation achieve its net-zero commitments.
The Twinning for Decarbonising Project, or TransiT, has received the backing of the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council to scope the potential of digital capabilities and strategies to manage the reduction of carbon emissions from transport across the country.
Currently, around a third of the UK’s total carbon emissions come from transport, making it a key priority for rapid decarbonisation.
The TransiT award highlights how vital digital technology will be to help the UK to reach its decarbonisation targets. The initial funding will support an extensive consultation to explore the potential of digital technology to decarbonise, with the support of industry, policymakers, and other stakeholders. This involves creating a digital twin that encompasses the entirety of the UK transport infrastructure, providing a data-driven foundation for the urgent decarbonisation that the country requires to reach net zero.