A place of mind

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates

I've long viewed the University of British Columbia as the place to emulate and learn from when it comes to an all-round approach to sustainability, albeit with a critical eye on what they've not managed to do yet.

They have just produced a report on their activities (UBC100) which is the most comprehensive I've come across.  The fast fact part of the website is a good place to start.

I was struck by the 18% growth in students at the Vancouver campus, and the 1% drop in 'staff and faculty' employed, since 2007.  That looks more like cost-efficiency than sustainability, and it doesn't say what proportion of this is academic staff (faculty).  That said, most of the sustainability measurements seem to be heading in the right direction which is a necessary but not sufficient condition of progress.

The student engagement section has detail on what students can get up to within and outwith their courses, 646 of which, amongst the 48 "sustainability-related programmes", are "sustainability-related".

Under the heading: Faculty Engagement, the website says:

"We are building the capacity of our teaching community to develop and deliver outstanding learning opportunities and support a diverse community of sustainability researchers.  In class, in campus plans, in community development, and in partnerships both local and global, UBC strives to ensure that we leave behind a legacy of environmental and human wellbeing for generations to come."

The picture is a glowing one, and I don't wish to seem at all doubtful, but it remains the case that it would take a prolonged period at the campus to see the detail of what is sketched out here, and to come to a measured view of how effective it all is on the ground – and once a student has left to work and live.

Posted in: Comment, New Publications, News and Updates


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