Sarah Speight

Sarah Speight

Sarah is Professor of Higher Education at the University of Nottingham. An archaeologist by background, Sarah has been the university's academic lead for 'education for sustainability' since 2011.

Location The University of Nottingham

Activity

  • Wow, that sounds like a big undertaking. So you need to get the Ministry of Education and the professional body for Engineering interested in your ideas. I wonder if anyone else on the course has experience of influencing major change in a national curriculum?

  • I would be interested to here more about your curriculum programme. I can see that you are a company director in Sudan - is your proposal a training programme for staff or is it for schools? Can you share some of the details with us?

  • There are lots of interesting answers being posted here - a few are spot on, a few far off. I'll let you all know in a few days time. It's also worth considering what the wider benefits of these projects are - Mike is pushing his students to think 'outside of the box' and to come up with ideas that could translate into useful sources of renewable energy,...

  • Hi Terence, I bet everyone would agree with that but I do worry that the economic approach means that we think about the money first rather than our moral obligations.

  • Do the joint meals do more than reduce waste Laura? Is there a social dimension to this change too?

  • In the UK, there has been lots of discussion about our changing shopping habits - we seem to have shifted back from the infrequent big shop for food to the 'little and often' approach. Have you any ideas about why this is Hedley? I'm not sure myself.

  • A MOOC can't do that, but it can provide information that would help students and staff adopt ways of saving water.

    There was a controversial news item last year about another University in the UK where students were launching a 'Go with the flow campaign'. Check it out here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-norfolk-29552557

    The idea was that if we...

  • Thank you so much for your time today Sarah - and to Georgiana too. There have been some thought-provoking comments - for example about the volume of 'traffic' there needs to be on social media for a company to take notice. I see the issue of the carbon footprint of ICT was also considered. I was at a conference today on the digital university. A colleague...

  • On the subject of VW Sarah - how do you think they can rebuild trust? I am one of their UK customers with a diesel who has received a letter from them telling me that my car will be recalled when a 'technical solution' is available. Ironically, the letter bears their 'By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen' crest.

    How do companies who fall this far rebuild?

  • This is why projects like Big Dream Ghana are so important aren't they Joel. No one should have to die from diarrhea in the 21st century - we know what causes it and we know how to stop it. Do you think it is about political will in your own country, about money, or about education - what is necessary to improve conditions and reduce these unnecessary deaths?

  • What do you worry about most? Is it the threat of pollution to human and animal health? I'd like to understand more about attitudes towards pollution in China's largest cities. Do you think there are serious efforts being made to reduce the pollution coming from the big factories?

  • That is a sobering image Solomon. Removing children from poverty remains a priority aim for UNIFEC - they recognise that a child born into poverty misses out on childhood, education, health. They talk about how such children then perpetuate poverty because they never have the skills to get out of the situation without external help. It is a grim cycle that...

  • Hello to everyone who has joined in during the last few days. Some of us are focusing upon Week 3 of the course but one of the benefits of the FutureLearn format is that you can study as and when it suits you. So you can choose to start at the beginning, or you could decide to see what is going on in Week 3 and then go back to Week 1. It is your choice -...

  • Welcome Glory,

    Law is one of the missing areas in this course - we don't have a lawyer on the team yet although we do teach environmental law at the University. There are obvious connections between your profession and sustainability.

  • I have to say a particular hello to you then Hannah. I understand that the society is new this year. I wish you a successful first year and hope that the society will flourish and grow. I think you could have real influence on the University.

  • Now that is a good idea Peter - I have the same issue but had not thought of that.

  • I'd like to see a photo of your shower base herb garden Jane.

    I do all the other things you mention - and I find them therapeutic for my soul as well as good for my garden and the environment. My veg patch is my green gym!

  • I'll look out for the soil course Shelagh - thank you.

    Getting food to Africa is not really part of the solution is it. What is of potential use is the food security research carried out by several universities including Nottingham. This is looking at disease prevention and resistance amongst other methods to increase yields. You can find some information...

  • You mean you would prioritise reducing your energy consumption don't you Thompson. That's a pretty good choice as it does 'drive' everything else.

  • That's a small but significant approach Sana. I did something similar when I spent 2 weeks travelling through Italy and Greece this summer. I took a reusable water bottle with me and refilled from public drinking fountains wherever possible. This did mean that I didn't buy the large number of plastic disposable water bottles that I would have done previously.

  • I agree too Linda - and I continue to reduce my meat consumption. But I'm really struggling to get my husband too reduce his. I've been focusing my arguments on health grounds rather than water use - perhaps this is where I'm going wrong? Or I might be being too 'preachy' with him!

  • I wouldn't say that was frivolous at all David. Those of us who can, do! I'd be aghast at the thought of giving up my car permanently yet, I take great pleasure in using public transport when on holiday. What's going on in my head! I want to have it all - the car at my disposal but also a feeling of virtuosity. I know what I need to do, but I will need a big...

  • Two really good examples here Poppy and Will (Redding on Reading!). How do you feel about such incentives? I think they are sensible and helpful although the romantic part of me wants people to stop littering just because they should, rather than because they can earn money. (I do remember taking the lemonade bottles back to the shop as a child and getting...

  • Everyone who has posted here so far is committed to wasting as little as they can and to recycling and reusing. You're talking about recycling glass into candle holders, creating your own compost, using horse manure and, in Michael's case, having a septic tank which means that you can also reuse human waste as fertiliser. Can anyone share an example of an...

  • Do you think this level of waste would be acceptable to local people if they knew about it Rosie? I watched a BBC programme recently (Hugh's War on Waste that several people have mentioned). Hugh approached a fast food outlet and challenged them on their waste - they said that they were freezing food for collection by local charities in about 6 of their 600...

  • Sarah Speight replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    There are lots of website now sharing images and ideas from people making jewellery and other artistic items from rubbish. Here's just one example: http://www.recyclethis.co.uk/20101109/recycled-into-jewellery-more-beautiful-items-made-from-rubbish

  • Composting is fantastic! I am lucky to have a large garden but it is very steep. My local council will collect garden waste to take to industrial-scale composting facilities, but I cannot carry my garden waste up a steep slope and then 2 flights of stairs to the road. So, I think I currently have 10 composting areas around my garden. This means that some of...

  • Hi Lou Ann,

    Like you, I have tomatoes growing everywhere because there are so many seeds in my home produced compost. I reopotted a plant for a colleague at work with compost from my garden. A tomato sprouted, kept on growing and produced about 8 small fruits. These have been ripening and the last will be eaten this week - that's not bad for mid November...

  • Thanks Mike - several of us would encourage those who can access the BBC iplayer to watch these programmes. They are a powerful reminder of the waste inherent to modern British society.

  • That's a really interesting point. What happens with left over food at Chinese new year? I visited Beijing 2 years ago and was interested to see leftover food being packaged up at a University event and being left for students in a student's leisure area. I thought how sensible that was. Would this be a common practice?

  • That BBC programme was shocking, wasn't it. We were shown a mountain of parsnips. all being ground up for animal feed or fertiliser because they did not meet supermarket standards. Madness - at what point did we start focusing upon the appearance of food rather than it's taste? In some societies, (mainly western ones?) we seem to be forgetting where our food...

  • Karen -

    we're all sorry to hear you lost your Dad recently. It sounds like you have lots of memories of outdoor cooking/family events connected to him.

  • Hi Karen and Emily,

    I am a great fan of 'one-pot' cooking - it sounds like Emily is too. During the British winters I make lots of stews with all the ingredients in just the one pot. Less washing up, less need to supervise different ingredients with different cooking times. And, as Emily tells us, slow cookers can be pretty energy efficient. I don't cook...

  • Sorry Sana,

    I haven't been able to open your link. I think I know what you mean! I usually rip the pages out of a spiral bound agenda meaning that I can recycle the paper but am left with an unwanted spiral of plastic. I have not come up with a use for these yet. Fortunately I do not too many to worry about. I am fortunate in that the University...

  • Hi Mark, and Fazeela - you're right that there will be assumptions behind the calculator but I still reckon it's a useful tool to get us thinking about where our greatest water usage is located. I've used it to make some changes in the areas I feel I can influence - e.g. the food I eat, when I would replace certain electrical goods.

  • Hi Margaret,

    I agree it's tricky to arrive at reasonable estimates. Would the other 3 members of the household be willing to adopt some water saving measures with you? You could have a trial week and then see what the calculator said.

  • That poses an interesting dilemma Cherry. Is the fish tank a luxury that you could do without, or is it making a significant contribution to your well-being? And does the dirty water get poured down the drain or is it usable for something else? (In the summer I often throw used washing up water on the flowerbeds - not on the vegetables but on the flowers....

  • I have used the water footprint calculator several times now and over a 3 year period. I realise that it is not an accurate measure - it is only as good as the information I put in, but it does make me think. I am much more aware now of the water that goes into the production of my fridge, my washing machine, my TV - and I could never now replace these 'early'...

  • Hello to everyone who has posted an introduction to themselves and their interests in the last couple of days. From Nottingham to Estonia, Turkey, China, Pakistan, Iran and beyond. You are all very welcome. Some folk will have completed the first week by now but there is no rush - join in with what you want o join in with, complete the opinion polls and have a...

  • I do agree with you that the term 'sustainability' has become a bit of a problem. Many people interpret it narrowly while, for others , it implies as you say, the minimum that we have to do. it is not a very positive word - whereas regenerative is. I'd like to hear your term used more often but sustainability is firmly fixed in the political rhetoric - it...

  • Thank you Dr. Robson! My ambition was to get as many academic disciplines involved as possible so that we had a course that 'spoke' to as many people as possible - to make the point that sustainability relates to everything: the survival of language and music as well as plants, and animals (and I'm not suggesting any hierarchy there).

  • Thank you for sharing that Chantelle. I liked your retiring professor's use of the term 'curiosity' - an intellectual rather than emotional attribute. Being curious and interested is another motivator to try and avoid harm to our environment. And what do you want to do with your life?