Posted by: henrymcghie | September 3, 2016

Dear diary- climate change conference

I spent the last two days as a conference organised by Prof Walter Leal of Manchester Met. The theme was ‘universities and climate change: the role of higher education institutions in addressing the mitigation and adaptation challenges’, with an international audience. We had a packed programme of presentations exploring the adaptation and mitigation challenges in different parts of the world. The far-reaching implications of climate change were reflected by the diversity of presentations, from academics working with urban planning in Germany, universities as living laboratories for testing, adapting and educating on climate change mitigation, implementing sustainability initiatives across the university curriculum in Chile, combining history and environmental sciences approaches to understanding environmental change in coastal Portugal, going fossil fuel free, the implications of the Paris climate change agreement for research agendas, using theatre to communicate climate change issues to researchers, climate change experiences at the hyper-local level in the Philippines, the history of attributing extreme weather events to human-induced climate change, escaping the ‘economists’ straitjacket’ to promote social, environmental and economic sustainability. One of the challenges that came up again and again was the challenge of working or speaking across disciplines, and how universities are not necessarily structured in ways that promote this kind of working. Encouragingly, some universities were investing in cross-disciplinary structures to help move this kind of work forward, but there is a long way to go. I was happy to have the chance to show delegates our Climate Control exhibitions. The main exhibition closes to the public tomorrow, but we’ll leave the ’10 Ways to Make a Difference’ on the Living Worlds gallery, along with the beautiful sculpture of moths.Museum visit.jpg

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