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Plymouth Marjon University sets its agenda on the climate emergency

Released: 15.11.19

Plymouth Marjon University held a Climate Emergency Forum last week, which saw students, staff and guests converge to talk about how the University will respond to the Climate Emergency.

The news follows Plymouth City Council’s decision to declare a climate emergency earlier this year and acts off the back of an international aim to keep global temperature rises below 1.5°C. In order to achieve that, global carbon emissions have to halve by 2030 and by 2050 the planet needs to be actively taking carbon out of the atmosphere.

Speaking at the forum was Cal Major, founder of Paddle Against Plastic, who recently received an honorary degree from Marjon in recognition of her environmental efforts. Cal is an ocean advocate, world record stand-up paddle boarder (sup) and veterinary surgeon. Cal founded Paddle Against Plastic in 2016 to bring a positive message to the plastic pollution crisis, and to inspire and empower positive change through stand-up paddle boarding adventures. She said:

“There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for these crises that we face. We all need to look at the whole picture and see what the best approach is, and see what we can do individually and collectively to make a big difference. We all need to change our attitudes around how we live. I interpret that as a mass reconnection to nature and to the understanding of how important it is to protect our planet, and to make the right choices to achieve this.”

The Climate Emergency Forum at Marjon was host to a plethora of speakers, of which included Paul Elliot - Low Carbon Delivery Officer with Plymouth City Council, SCOFF – an aquaponics farm in Modbury that has a fresh, sustainable approach to farming, Architype – who spoke about sustainable Campus Development plans, and finally Plymotion, a PCC initiative to encourage and enable people to choose green transport methods.

Professor Rob Warner, Vice-Chancellor at Plymouth Marjon spoke about how the University can work collectively to become more sustainable. “None of us, regardless of age, should be shrugging our shoulders when future generations ask us what we did when the climate emergency was declared. My hope is that we can all work together at Marjon, and be the eco-community of the future, today.”

Graduate Sustainability Officer at Marjon, Matthew Tosdevin, planned and hosted the event, as well as eagerly planting the Magnolia tree that commemorates Marjon’s declaration of a climate emergency.

“The climate emergency forum was a great success. Our group workshops have given the Marjon community a say in how we tackle the climate emergency, focusing on topics such as green transport, waste, and campus energy. We finished the event by planting a tree as a symbol of hope; by the time it reaches maturity, we should be able to reflect back on our success as a community in this moment in making a commitment for a sustainable future. We’re now using the ideas from the event to influence our policies and actions moving forward to reach a zero-carbon target by 2030” said Matthew.

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