This blog was written by veterinary students Hannah and Elspeth. They have successfully campaigned for the University to adopt Ecosia as our default search engine on all open access computers across campus.
During a time when it is essential to make changes towards a more sustainable lifestyle, we knew the University of Bristol needed to switch to Ecosia, so our campaign started. With the University declaring a climate emergency in 2019, and committing to carbon neutrality, the move to Ecosia fits with becoming a more sustainable campus.
Ecosia is a search engine, which uses its revenue to fund tree planting in twenty different projects across the world, where trees are needed most. This not only has huge environmental benefits but also social impact for the surrounding communities. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, preventing excess greenhouse gases building up in our atmosphere, they also…
Improve soil health helping farmers produce food.
Provide an income for communities improving access to education and healthcare.
Maintain habitats for endangered species, especially when planted in biodiversity hotspots.
We have been using Ecosia on our own devices and feel it is an effortless way for the student body and staff members at the University of to make a worldwide contribution to improving the environment. Having gained support from students and passing our motion at the SU annual members meeting, we felt motivated to make our idea a reality. We are both incredibly excited for this change, especially for it to be launched alongside Sustainability Month at the University.
We’ve recently celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the Green Impact Awards, a University of Bristol-born environmental initiative, which has gone on to have national impact. It has been adopted by over 400 UK organisations such as University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, North Bristol NHS Trust and 50 universities across the country.
The Green Impact Scheme challenges staff to implement several actions within their departments to help the environment: things like saving energy, volunteering, using more sustainable transport and recycling. The more actions teams complete, the more points are scored, leading to a Bronze, Bronze Plus, Silver, Gold or Platinum Award. Students can volunteer as Green Impact Project Assistants or Green Impact Auditors.
Green Impact Project Assistants: students receive certified NUS training and then use their new skills to help Green Impact teams complete their workbooks by improving the sustainability of their workplaces. This usually begins shortly after the launch of the scheme, and ends just before it closes. Green Impact Project Assistants provide ongoing assistance to teams during this period.
Green Impact Auditors: students receive certified NUS training to carry out the official end-of-scheme audits of Green Impact teams and their workplaces to make sure teams have completed all actions logged in their submitted workbooks. Training and audits usually take place in one day following the close of the scheme.
“The Green Impact Awards are a fantastic testament to how the efforts of individuals and teams can combine to achieve instrumental positive effects on our environment. We’re immensely proud to have created a scheme that has gone on to be adopted across the country and of all of our staff and students whose work has contributed positively on our environment.”
Martin Wiles, University of Bristol Head of Sustainability.
For 2019, the Sustainability Team are busy planning how the Green Impact Awards will work alongside other sustainability schemes at the University. Keep an eye on the Green University pages for further updates.