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School of Geography

What we're Doing

Reduce where we can

Our school is currently undertaking an environmental audit to ascertain how we can reduce our energy usage and carbon consumption through initiatives like improved heating efficiency. This is being done in parallel with encouraging individuals to take individual responsibility for reducing their ‘environmental footprint’ – this includes things like: turning off computer screens and base units overnight/when not in use, switching off lights when they don’t need to be on, using the department bike to get to meetings, local field sites etc. In addition, we are part of broader schemes on transport and energy within the University.

Offset where we can't

Our school has a 2-pronged strategy for offsetting our carbon emissions:

Carbon emissions from our buildings: local reforestation

We calculate the carbon emissions from our buildings (primarily gas heating) on an annual basis and work with a local tree-planting organisation called ‘Treesponsibility’ in Calderdale near Hebden Bridge. We are part of Treesponsibility’s ‘CO2mmitment’ which is a partnership of local businesses and community enterprises who are committed to action on climate change. We have pledged to take action to cut emissions (see ‘reduce where we can’ above), whilst also funding enough trees to reabsorb the carbon emissions from our buildings. While there is still some debate about the efficiency of trees in the temperate areas in reducing climate change in the long-term, such trees provide a short-term 'carbon sink', and additionally help to reduce run-off and flash-flooding in Calderdale, which will assist the valley to adapt to a warming world. They are positioned for aesthetic appeal and so they build up viable wildlife corridors and ecosystems.

Our tree-planting day happened on March 18th when troops of Geography students and staff made their way to Calderdale and spent the day in wellies wielding shovels to plant the trees. This is a participatory and fun way of getting us all locally involved in our efforts to manage climate change. In subsequent years we are also planning to give students the opportunity to do assessed project work around Treesponsibility.