Celebrating World Environment Day 2011

June 11 / 62

Suggestions for ways to make the University more sustainable, from staff and students who attended the World Environment Day lunch
Suggestions for ways to make the University more sustainable, from staff and students who attended the World Environment Day lunch

The Office for Environmental Programs and the Sustainability Unit at Property and Campus Services hosted a lunch to celebrate World Environment Day last Friday.

About 80 staff and students enjoyed a free lunch, and were invited to enter the draw to win a door prize (a book on Australia’s forests) by writing suggestions for ways to make the campus more sustainable.

After lunch, a series of University staff spoke about different aspects of the University’s research, teaching and programs in keeping with the theme of World Environment Day 2011, the International Year of Forests. 

Provost Professor John Dewar delivered the Keynote speech, and presentations were made by Acting Director of the Office for Environmental Programs Dr Natalie Jamieson, Associate Professor Stefan Arndt (Forestry), and Executive Director of Property and Campus Services Mr Chris White.   

Dr Jamieson spoke about the challenge of achieving sustainability, using the rich and diverse stories that could be told about forests, using the South Australian Mallee as an example.

Associate Professor Arndt demonstrated the relationship between forests and climate change, showing in addition to playing a potential mitigation role, forests are under threat by a changing global climate.   

Professor Dewar spoke about sustainability at the University.  

“Some causes capture the mood of the times better than others. In 2011, I think no cause captures the mood of the times better than the cause of sustainability,” he said. 

“As members of a University community, we are privileged to be in a position to play a constructive role for society on this issue.

“The University has a five-point strategy for sustainability, involving teaching, research, engagement, operations and community leadership. Teaching and learning is perhaps the area that affects people here most of all.” 

Mr White spoke about the ways in which the University is working to achieve operational sustainability.

“We need the whole University community to think, talk and act on environmental sustainability issues,” he said.  

He also quoted the 2010 Growing Esteem strategy: “As a public-spirited university, Melbourne is committed to promoting sustainability through its research and education programs.”

Further information: http://sustainablecampus.unimelb.edu.au/.

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