A GREEN CLEAN FUTURE
“How can we have international
opportunities for students without actually
flying them overseas?
Beyond considering curtailing or dovetailing trips abroad
and attending conferences via hologram (early development
into this technique is underway at Imperial College Business
School), there are more structural ways to move the dial into
an institutional footprint in terms of impact.
Employees at institutions have become more vocal in
recent years about investments – calling their institutions
out on their fossil fuel investment, or expressing their unease
with the state of the sector, first privately and then publicly.
For example, one professor quit his tenured role at Canada’s
McGill University for its refusal to divest in fossil fuels in
January this year.
“Shifting the money is hugely important,” states Lamont.
Divesting from fossil fuels, ensuring institutions use renewa-ble
energy, and even thinking about who they bank with, are
all strong ideas, she highlights.
Those are some “more impactful things” universities
could do that don’t necessarily cost them anything, she says.
When the University of California divested from fossil fuels,
it was because they recognised a “financial mistake to stay
invested in that”, advises Lamont.
42 | THE PIE REVIEW | ISSUE #25
Ring-fenced recruitment targets
Increasing international student numbers and cutting emis-sions
may be two incompatible targets, says Robin Shields,
professor of education at the University of Bristol in the UK.
“Or it requires at least some further thinking that hasn’t been
done,” he tells The PIE Review.
And some institutions may echo that sentiment: KTH Roy-al
Institute of Technology in Sweden’s capital Stockholm,
for example, does “not compare the recruitment targets with
their environmental impact,” according to its sustainability
strategist Erica-Dawn Egan.
“We can say that at this time, there is no ambition to
increase international recruitment from current levels. Here
there is potential to minimise impacts through active recru-itment
within strategic educational areas directly connected
to sustainability,” she says bluntly.
However, this will not be the same for institutions that are
seeking to boost their international student numbers. With
no alternative for long haul travel at this stage, “the ques-tion
for us, as educators, is what can we do?” says Shields.
And the answer is focusing on climate change in curricula
to create graduates who “go into their future careers with a
very strong climate focus in their work,” he says.
Or… teaching for tomorrow - climate literacy
Embedding climate literacy in the curriculum has been a
core of international education for years. Fostering “global
citizens” via studying abroad, students learn that the world’s
biggest challenges are joint problems. For younger learners,
United World Colleges has focused on the environment
within its classes, while the Green School International,
based in Bali but building two new ‘green’ campuses in New
Zealand and Mexico, not only teaches sustainability but
ensures that its school buildings are sustainable too.
Like the Green School and KTH in Stockholm, some uni-versities
have been making strides to create carbon-neutral
campuses. Ubiquitous environmental or sustainability strate-gies
have been rolled out by respective sustainability offices.
PHOTO: UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE
Institutions are offering more social activities,
especially those designed to support cultural