One Planet Week kicks off sustainability focus

THE UNIVERSITY IS hosting its second annual ‘One Planet Week’, featuring a series of talks and activities designed to inspire York’s students to make small changes in order to lead a more sustainable lifestyle. The ‘One Planet’ project takes its name from the fact that if everyone in the world consumed as many natural resources as the average person in western Europe, we would need three planets to support us.

One Planet Week aims to encourage students to make pledges to make lifestyle choices that are environmentally sustainable in order to reduce waste, decrease their individual carbon footprint, and even help their local communities. These pledges include resolutions to: cycle to campus, save water by turning off the tap while brushing teeth, choose reusable bags for grocery shopping, eat less meat, printing double-sided whenever possible, buy fresh produce from local farmers rather than the supermarket, and volunteer in local community events.

The week’s myriad of environmentally-focused events includes allotment planting, a quiz night, Green Chemistry talk by Dr Avtar Matharu, the Zero Waste Challenge, the YES waste symposium, workshops on upcycling and guitar repair, and debates. There are also a host of food events to tempt students, such as the ethical food fair, which includes stalls from vegan caterers Once Upon A Garden and VegSoc, and vegan bake-off planned this week.

The week kicked off with a karaoke night in Courtyard in aid of Toilet Twinning on Sunday, and wraps up with a sustainability themed pub quiz on Friday.

And, a prospect that may seem more and more appealing as your student loan begins to dwindle, the Biology department offers the intriguing opportunity for students to try edible insects as they learn about sustainable farming.

YUSU President Alex Urquhart, when asked to comment on the importance of One Planet Week in promoting sustainability on campus, responded that “Anything that builds upon YUSU’s Green Impact award, on our ethical and environmental officers’ ambitions, and on improving the York and wider global environment is well worth trying. The One Planet Week programme looks pretty eclectic with ethical food fairs and a fairtrade pancake night plus loads more – I hope it’s successful!”

A University spokesman told Nouse: “The University is focused on promoting and facilitating sustainability across its campus and activities, as evidenced by its world-leading research and commitment to student health and well-being. The importance the University places on sustainability is evident in the University’s sustainability champions, Jo Horsburgh (Registrar and Secretary) and Professor Deborah Smith (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research) also being on the University Executive Board.”

More information on the week’s activities can be found at: or facebook @UoYSustainability and twitter @UoYSustain or the hashtag #OPW18