UWE – Our Green City: Global Challenges, Bristol Solutions
At the University of West England we are enjoying Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. It not only provides us with an opportunity to drive our sustainability agenda and engage with our staff but provides us with the chance to showcase the research and teaching we do in this area. Across Bristol we are celebrating innovation that will not only create a happier, healthier city but also provide opportunities for investment; Bristol now joins Stockholm, Copenhagen and Hamburg as leading global hubs for sustainability.
The business benefits of developing sustainable business are well documented: the opportunity to reduce costs, drive brand equity, compete for government contracts and retain staff are becoming so well embedded in strategic planning that sustainability is championed across most boardrooms and senior leadership teams.
However, leading this agenda is not an undertaking for a small group of people at the top of the organisation, or an interested sub-culture within it. No matter how we tailor our messages, people will still ask ‘what is there that I can learn’, ‘what is a ‘Green City’ and ‘why is all of this important anyway?’
The legacy for Bristol’s year as European Green Capital 2015 starts with ensuring that as many people have access to information and education on the benefits of ‘Going Green’. Linking closely with the key Bristol 2015 themes of nature, transport, food, energy and resources, we have developed a free, online public education resource.
Our course has been developed as an open and accessible resource and takes its inspiration from our roots in Bristol; we have entwined stories from across the world with inspiring case studies of local leadership and innovation from Bristol, hence ‘Global Challenges, Bristol Solutions’. We are showcasing work from urban agriculture projects such as ‘Grow-it, Cook-it, Eat-it’ from Trinity Arts, food recycling projects from Resources Futures, The Easton Energy Project, self-build housing projects from Eco-Motive and many more.
Learning will take place over 6 weeks through video presentations, quizzes, additional reading and taking part in online discussions with other likeminded people. We have not prescribed how much time people will need to spend on the course (we think between 1 – 3 hours per week) and do not expect anyone to have an environmental science degree, just the interest and passion to engage. Our aim is to develop both an understanding of sustainability and, through exposing learners to real, grassroots innovation, equip people with the capability to lead change in their own communities.
Our Green City is an ideal resource for businesses to promote to their staff to both generate a further understanding of city challenges and the advantages of sustainability but most importantly to provide them with inspiration to own understand how they can shape this agenda. Our Green City is now part of the tools that you can use within the Go Green Business Tool under the section for ‘Happy and Healthy’ so promoting it to your staff can be part of your broader action plan.
Enrolment for Our Green City is now open and the first course starts on 14 September 2015 and will run again in January 2016. For more information please see http://tiny.cc/ourgreencity and follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/Our_Green_City.
A full media pack is available to support you promote Our Green City to your staff; please contact Simon Bates, project manager for more information. Simon2.email@example.com
Our Green City is funded by Bristol 2015, Bristol City Council and The Department for Energy and Climate Change. It would not have been possible without the brokerage and advocacy of The Bristol Green Capital Partnership.