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Taking action in higher education

Lecturers back college call for 'greening' of the curriculum

10 August 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

Amid growing concern about climate change, UCU today endorsed a call by colleges for more environmental education in the college curriculum.

UCU was responding to the results of a survey by the Association of Colleges (AoC) which revealed that 88% of colleges believe sustainability should feature in all curriculum areas. In a related report, the AoC also highlighted the growth and variety of environment related courses.

UCU, which represents lecturers in colleges and universities, and researchers and academic related staff in universities, welcomed the findings and said it would be seeking ways of working with colleges and universities to promote greater understanding of environmental concerns such as climate change.

At UCU's founding congress in May this year, the union adopted - with unanimous support - a policy calling on it to promote sustainable workplace practices and to 'green the curriculum'. The policy was praised by Sir David King, the government's chief scientific advisor, who addressed the congress on the threat of climate change.

UCU also committed itself to exploring ways of reducing its own 'carbon footprint'. Other unions are also developing such policies.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'Lecturers will welcome the AoC's efforts to improve sustainability awareness and environmental skills. Many of our members already teach environment related courses in colleges and universities and the growth of such studies is encouraging. However, the implications of climate change are so challenging that they must be understood by people studying everything from Advertising to Zoology. Environmental awareness should permeate all education, whether in courses for scientists or for secretaries.

'UCU will be encouraging members to look for opportunities to integrate sustainability into their teaching. We will also try to cooperate with employers in colleges and universities on other green initiatives. Climate change requires new ways of working and living and lecturers are well placed to contribute to solutions.'

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