Massey takes action for Global Climate Change Week



Massey University is set to celebrate Global Climate Change Week with a series of initiatives and events planned to occur across the University’s three campuses.

The global week, which will be held from October 9 to 15, aims to encourage academic communities across all disciplines and countries to engage with one another, their communities, and policy makers on climate change action and solutions.

The week will see the launch of the University’s Low Carbon Future competition, which encourages staff and students are to produce a creative response to the challenge of climate change. The competition is open until October 24 and more information is available on the website.

Sustainability director Dr Allanah Ryan says the week offers the Massey community the opportunity to consider what the University is currently doing, and could do in the future, to improve its carbon footprints.

“Sometimes it can feel like there are only two views on climate change: ‘help - it’s the end of the world, I’ll just stay in bed thanks’ or ‘it’s not as bad as they say, we’re a smart species and we’ll find a gadget to fix the problem so we can go back to doing what we’ve always done’. That’s an over-simplification, of course. While there are lots of scary facts to grab our attention, these aren’t helpful if they lead to head-in-the-sand behaviour.

“As a university community, we’re uniquely placed to produce research that will help address climate change, as well as educate our students about how the issue affects them as future designers, journalists, public historians, transport planners, engineers, farmers and citizens of this world.”

Some of the week’s highlights include a Facebook Live seminar from student Injy Johnstone, who recently attended the International Conference on Sustainable Development; a screening of the film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ at the Auckland campus; research student presentations at the Manawatū campus; and a presentation by Dale-Maree Morgan from the College of Creative Arts, ‘If it isn’t good for Papatuanuku, is it good for you?’, which provides practical tips about reducing carbon footprint.

Dr Ryan says the University has already started to address the University’s greenhouse gas emissions with the implementation of a new waste management system at the Manawatū campus student dining hall that aims to significantly reduce the amount of rubbish being sent to landfills.

Dr Ryan suggests the University can also reduce its emissions by utilising video-conference technology, rather than travelling between campuses. “Where travel is unavoidable, I would encourage staff to share a taxi between the airport and campus, or share a fleet car between the Palmerston North and Wellington campuses, which can be facilitated through the Carpool World website.”

The University has an on-going Living Lab, in partnership with the Palmerston North City Council, resulting in Massey students producing two reports in conjunction with staff in the School of People, Environment and Planning. The most recent report, which looks at secondary school students’ views and experiences related to biking to school in Palmerston North will feed into council’s planning to increase participation in active transport. 

“The research is very timely as it will assist the council and secondary schools in the city to build on the success of the very popular Bikes in Schools programme in primary schools and support higher rates of cycling to school as students’ progress from primary and intermediate,” says one of the report’s authors Dr Christine Cheyne. “We are seeing continual improvements in cycling infrastructure in the city, but it is also important to address the concerns raised by secondary school students.”

Events

Events being held to coincide with Global Climate Change week are listed in brief below. More information is available on the website.

Ongoing

  • Low Carbon Futures Competition
  • Aotearoa Mini Bike Challenge commences October 16

Wednesday, October 11

  • 12-2pm: Screening of ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ film at Auckland campus, Sir Neil Waters building
  • 12-1pm: Research student presentations at the Manawatū campus, room AH 2
  • 1-2pm: Waste → Zero Waste workshop event at the Manawatū campus, room AH 2
  • 6pm: Screening of ‘Chasing Coral’ film, at the Manawatū campus, Students’ Association lounge

Thursday, October 12

  • 12-1pm: Bike maintenance workshop at the Manawatū campus, bike sheds outside Science Tower B
  • 12.30: ‘If it isn’t good for Papatuanuku, is it good for us?’ workshop at Wellington campus, Whānau room

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