university of Sheffield
Image: Pomdu/ Wikimedia Commons

University of Sheffield introduces compulsory classes on climate change

Every student at the University of Sheffield will attend compulsory lectures on climate change to ensure students learn to live in a “sustainable” way, the university has announced.

According to the university, the new sustainable development course “encourages a holistic approach to sustainability knowledge that goes beyond ‘being green’”.

The plans were announced by vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts on Friday after hundreds of students at the university participated in the global youth climate strike.

He said that the lectures have been launched in a bid to address the current “climate emergency”.

At the climate strike, Mr Lamberts said: “We are embedding education for sustainable development into the curriculum of every single course.

“There is a reason for doing this: whether our students go on to become engineers, doctors, linguists or historians, it doesn’t matter.

“We want every single one of them to be equipped with the education, the knowledge, the skills, the values and the attributes that they need to work and live in a sustainable way.”

 Mr Lamberts stated that the classes will involve “finding solutions to the environmental, economic and social challenges that we face.”


We are embedding education for sustainable development into the curriculum of every single course

– Koen Lamberts

The Educational for Sustainable Development (ESD) course originated as a United Nations programme. The course was developed in a bid to encourage a change towards students’ sustainability knowledge, skills, values and attitudes.

Sheffield Students’ Union and course representatives will introduce the course in every faculty over the next five years. It is yet to be revealed how frequent the classes will be, or how they will be funded.

According to a 2018 survey by the NUS, approximately 80% of students want their institution to be doing more on sustainable development, and around 60% want to learn more about sustainability.

Mr Lamberts also said that an “action plan for becoming carbon neutral” was underway, and will be unveiled this autumn.

Management at the university have pledged to go fully carbon neutral, meaning that the institution will remove as much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it produces.

The University of Sheffield has taken several steps to make its campus and operations more sustainable.

Emissions by the University of Sheffield have been reduced by over 30% since 2005 and are on track to meet a target reduction of 43% by 2020. The university has also completed its divestment from fossil fuels earlier this year.



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