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University stakes its commitment to sustainability ahead of G7


Prof Shirley Congdon taking part in a tree planting on campus

Symbolic tree planting shows renewed commitment to global cause

As world leaders gather in Cornwall for the G7 Summit and with environmental issues at the top of the agenda, the University of Bradford recently marked Sustainability Day (June 7) with a symbolic tree planting.

Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Shirley Congdon took part in the planting of an apple tree near the tree that commemorates Nobel Peace Prize winner Wngari Maathai in the Peace Garden on campus.

The event comes as the University recently announced a new Chair of Sustainability, Prof Don Lloyd, who will work to embed the culture across departments.

'Green concrete'

The University is also involved in award-winning research to help combat global climate change, including the development of so-called ‘green concrete’, which recycles building waste and creates far less carbon dioxide.

Professor Prathivadi Anand, Professor-Public Policy & Sustainability, said: “At the University of Bradford sustainability is one of our core values. As a pioneer university in advancing education for sustainable development we became an 'ecoversity' long before this was fashionable. However, the climate and environment crises require urgent action from all of us.

“With the UK hosting the G7 and later this year the COP26 summits, climate and sustainability issues are receiving much priority right now. We at the University of Bradford are very proud of the passion and commitment of our students and staff to sustainable development.”

He added: “For most of the year, students and staff have been mainly interacting online only. As the University is now open, a face-to-face on-campus event was planned. What better way to re-dedicate ourselves to sustainability than planting a tree and who better to do it than our Vice-Chancellor.”

Long term

Wangari Maathai (1940-2011), the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, inspired thousands of young people in Africa and elsewhere to plant millions of trees in the Green Belt Movement.

Professor PB Anand said the tree planting represented a real and long term commitment to sustainability and also a hope and optimism for the future.

The University also held the third in a series of Ambassador Talks events, this time hosting Ms Shoko Noda, Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Programme in New Delhi, India in conversation with Vice-Chancellor Prof Congdon.

First class

The event began with a brief introduction to the World Environment Day by student Zunaira Sikander and an introduction of Ms Noda by student Osama Beshry. Ms Noda reflected on her career journey including her UN positions at Tajikistan, Mongolia, Nepal, Maldives and then India and later answered questions from students.

An afternoon webinar panel on the theme 'Sustainable Development Goals and You' began with opening remarks by Professor John Bridgeman, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Knowledge Transfer, who summarised how innovation underpins the University of Bradford throughout its journey even as the Mechanics Institute established in 1832. He highlighted that the University is already a first-class holder in the People and Planet league taking 24th Rank.