Warning the next generation about climate change

Aston University and Birmingham City University join forces to educate next generation on the dangers of climate change

Aston University and Birmingham City University recently launched The Carbon Journey 2016: It’s not weather, it’s how. For a second consecutive year, Aston University dedicated three days of the second-year teaching timetable to the impact of climate change on business and society, and ensured its students are fully equipped to join the organisations that will be grappling with its effects in the coming years. Joined this year by Birmingham City University, the two Midlands institutions aim to embed climate change and low carbon education across all undergraduate subject disciplines.

The Universities welcomed 2,500 second-year undergraduate students to an event at the Genting Arena. Hosted by broadcaster Reeta Chakrabarti, and with guest speakers including adventurer Steve Backshall, journalist Clive Myrie and scientific performers The Festival of the Spoken Nerd, the programme delivered an enlightening day of science, insight and fun designed to help students envisage the future consequences of climate change.

In a bold attempt to bring this future to life, the event looked at the world in 2045, if the climate danger threshold is breached. In a special film produced for Carbon Journey 2016, news presenter Sumant Bhatia shares footage from the future – where a rise in global average temperatures of 1.5+ degrees is sustainable but crossing the 4-degree mark will result in catastrophe.  

The main event was followed by two days of elective seminars given at both universities by business leaders from Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, and Foster and Partners, who highlighted the challenges and opportunities posed by climate change within their particular sector.

“This is a unique opportunity for students to learn about climate change in a way that feels real to them. So much of the science communication around global warming highlights abstract threats to our future. It’s hard to bring these back down to earth and prompt individuals to think seriously about the everyday choices they can make. Carbon Journey 2016 is designed to do just that,’ said Professor Alec Cameron, Vice-Chancellor of Aston University.

‘ith more than 35,000 students and over 3,000 employees between them, Aston and Birmingham City Universities want to educate the next generation in the risks posed by climate change to economic and social structures, as well as the far-reaching benefits of a global shift to sustainability and clean energy,’ he added.

Professor Julian Beer, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Birmingham City University, said, “The COP21 Paris Agreement recognised that collective action is needed to combat climate change. This needs to be distributed at an international, national and local level to achieve maximum change. We believe it is our responsibility to send our students out into the world as global citizens. It’s why we’re collaborating with Aston University to bring greater numbers together and share in a common cause.  

“Our purpose is three-fold. We want to help students understand how global warming will hurt their future, the need to adapt to the stresses of a changing climate, and the potential for innovation to fix impending problems and open up new opportunities for transformation and growth. What our students do next will define which future we get.”

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