Staff and students from DMU collaborated to co-host a major annual sustainability conference this month, the European meeting for Regional Centres of Expertise (RCEs) in Education for Sustainable Development.
The global RCE network, co-ordinated by the United Nations University (UNU), aims to support local action to address the global sustainability agenda embodied by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The annual event took place online on Tuesday 24th and Wednesday 25th of November, with a focus on local and regional collaborative efforts to address the climate emergency and educate on sustainability issues. Over 230 participants from over 40 countries took part over two days, with sessions addressing issues such as nature education, carbon literacy training and collaborations across Europe between localities to promote climate action.
Some of DMU’s own practice was highlighted including efforts by the school of Fashion and Textiles to embed sustainability in their taught courses, and a collaboration between DMU, Leicester University and Leicester City Council to educate students and school pupils about how to take action to combat climate. DMU has strong commitments to sustainability and the SDGs, including acting as a Global Hub for SDG16 which calls for Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. DMU recently acknowledged its commitments in the light of the climate emergency in its Carbon Management plan, including aiming to achieve net zero carbon emissions through energy on campus and transport in DMU vehicles by 2032.
The event was organised by the East Midlands RCE, which is chaired by De Montfort University, and whose members include the University of Leicester, Leicester City Council, SustEd and a range of other charities and independent educators.
Andrew Reeves, DMU’s Academic Lead for Education for Sustainable Development said “Having the chance to host this event was the result of a strong collaborative proposal, which meant that the European meeting has been hosted in the UK for the first time in many years. It has been a great experience working with organisations across Leicester and the UK to design an engaging online conference. Although Covid-19 forced us to make this an online event, our intention was always to creatively find ways for online participation to yield as much learning, networking and serendipitous encounters as through a face-to-face event.”
Hannah Sellers, Academic Engagement Officer at the University of Leicester said, “We have estimated that going online has saved over 150 tonnes of CO2 due to avoiding delegates’ travel, making this an excellent model for future sustainability conferences. It has been great to connect and share experiences with people from across the world which is so important in these times.”
Pre-recorded short talks and workshop recordings from the conference will be available online after the event on the DMU Education for Sustainable Development website, https://esdg.our.dmu.ac.uk.
Organisations in Leicester and across the East Midlands are encouraged to get involved in the East Midlands RCE to work together on sustainability and climate change – more information is online here: https://esdg.our.dmu.ac.uk/projects/rce-em/