#12 A Sustainable College

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How can a college be successful in terms of sustainability?

Today’s guest on Sustainable: The Podcast is Martin Webb, Sustainability Officer at Edinburgh College.

I reached out to Martin because of the fact that Edinburgh College has a solar meadow built on its land but Martin starts the show by sharing how the college’s community gardens have been the real sustainability success of the college.

They were started by a student and were recognised in the Green Gown Awards last year.  For Martin, they are the embodiment of real sustainability by combing growing food, learning about nature and supporting disadvantaged groups to have increased confidence and self-empowerment.

He notes that it can be hard to put all the successes of the project down on paper as it works in a very holistic way.

Aside from the community gardens, Edinburgh College is also working on energy and water management, insulation programs and basic housekeeping which can be a challenge in old buildings.  They currently have a graduate working with them to improve recycling and also have a fleet of electric cars, vans and cycles in partnership with other universities in Edinburgh.

As a college, education is what Edinburgh College does and there are great plans at an early stage to introduce sustainability into the curriculum so that a greater understanding of what sustainability is can be achieved.  Martin notes it can be a challenge for people to understand the broader meaning of sustainability.

Also, find out how Martin has his sustainability hat on at all times, and what you can do to help your organisation become more sustainable.

Martin most admires:

Severine

Martin’s favourite resource:

His peers

People Mentioned in the Interview:

Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges – A strong alliance of universities and colleges, sector bodies and commercial organisations, working together both in the UK and internationally to drive next generation leadership to address next generation sustainability

TED Talks

Al Gore: The Case for Optimism on Climate Change

Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

Because people like to have their performance indicators and targets, it tends to be that reductionist approach that you can do [with sustainability]. It’s actually very difficult to do everything at once, so it’s sometimes easier to break it down into smaller pieces.Martin Webb
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