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Five Fascinating Insights into the Inner Lives of Plants

Close up a a rain drop on a green leaf

Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, Earth’s land surface was barren and devoid of life. It would take another 2 billion years for the first single-celled organisms to appear in the ocean, including the first algae Grypania spiralis, which was about the size of a 50 pence piece.

Plants composed of many cells have only been around for a mere 800 million years. To survive on land, plants had to protect themselves from UV radiation and develop spores and later seeds which allowed them to disperse more widely. These innovations helped plants become one of the most influential lifeforms on Earth. Today, plants are found in every major ecosystem on the planet and scientists describe more than 2,000 new species every year.

Read Sven’s article in ‘the conversation’ which gives a fascinating insight into the world of plants and five discoveries which help us see our distant green cousins in a new light:

Everything’s Gone Green

Like the Edge Hill ducks, when it comes to sustainability, there’s a lot going on beneath the surface of the Edge Hill campus. This includes reducing its carbon footprint (webbed and unwebbed).

From using energy from renewable sources to ensuring halls of residence have the most efficient insulation systems, from the development of “green” roofs to campus beehives, the University campus is buzzing with ideas promoting sustainable development. And we’re now a hedgehog-friendly campus.

And we don’t intend to stop there. These are projects which are being constantly reviewed, recycled and upcycled.

View of the Catalyst and Creative Edge buildings

We know the campus is very green, thanks to the dedicated ground staff. But a green mentality is also being cultivated. Our very own Paul Aplin, Professor of Geography, he believes the upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic could actually be an opportunity to address the next great crisis potentially facing the planet:

Read further the impressive way Edge Hill University is making greener changes:

A poetic reverie: reflections on a year spent getting closer to nature

Lecturer, researcher, poet and outdoor enthusiast Victoria Ekpo looks back on the first year of FootstepsNW, the walking and activity group she founded for Black women and their friends in the north west.

It was important that our group expanded to include others, like the environment does for us daily, and that this generosity be replicated in our activities and relationships. Our friends include spouses, friends, other walking groups and enthusiasts and we learn a lot from these interactions.

We joined up with CPRE Lancashire and members of the Ramblers Association to explore Preston’s parks, architecture and green belt and took some new friends along the historic Edges of Hope Valley and the Goyt River.

On a whim, we signed up to the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge and completed it and went camping for the first time as a group – the first time ever for many of our members and their friends.

Read the article in full:

Climate Change Expert Panel

Geoff Beattie staff profile photo

In the run up to COP26, Geoff was invited to join a ‘Climate Change Expert Panel’ hosted by the International Interdisciplinary Environmental Association and the Laboratorio Nacional de Ciencias de la Sostenibilidad-IE at UNAM in Mexico, the largest university in Latin America. The Chair was Dr. Paola M. Garcia-Meneses, a member of the Climate Change and Sustainable Cities Working Committees of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

The panel also included Dr. Ana Cecilia Conde Álvarez, General Coordinator of Adaptation to Climate Change of the National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC) and part of the Mexican delegation to negotiate the Paris Agreement. She is also the Lead Author of the Sixth IPCC Report on “Decision-making options for managing risk”. And Professor Iain Stewart, the El Hassan bin Talal Research Chair in Sustainability at the Royal Scientific Society (Amman, Jordan), Visiting Professor in Environmental Studies at Ashoka University, India, and Professor of Geoscience Communication at the University of Plymouth.

Trophy Hunt book cover

The panel came from a range of disciplines; it was a chance for Geoff to discuss the psychological barriers to climate change, and highlight the great gap between expressed values and actual sustainable behaviour in most people’s lives. We could all do more and demand more from our politicians. So why aren’t we? Geoff outlined the psychology behind this. The discussion, he reported, was excellent.

Book cover 'the psychology of climate change.

Geoff did an interview on the 29th October with Business Daily on the BBC World Service on the psychology of trophy hunting based on his book ‘Trophy Hunting: A Psychological Perspective’. The programme also involved interviews with the famous conservationist Richard Leakey and a representative of the Born Free Foundation.

Can Poetry Help us Articulate the Universal as Personal?

Sustainability Festival Logo with info graphic of white leaves on green background

As the spotlight lands firmly on the upcoming COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow, I have reached into my poetry collection and dwelt a little on the poems that tell stories of my relationship with the world around me. John Clare’s All Nature Has A Feeling could not resonate more. We are grappling with the day-to-day questions of living – reaching that potential, negotiating relationships, dreams, disappointments, hope. We are, even as we react to issues of environmental crisis, going about our lives, striving, failing, succeeding, defining who we are, as if the fight is out there, apart from our identities.

But who are we?

Read further how poetry can help us answer some of these questions:

Sustainability, Climate Change and ‘Disruption’

Sustainability Festival Logo with info graphic of white leaves on green background

Disruption. It can take many forms. It can come suddenly and unexpectedly, like an un-forecasted storm or major crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic. We may see it is coming, such as the planned transport workers strike in Glasgow during the COP26 Climate Summit. Or it may be a gradual process, like the ‘disruptive’ changes that social media technologies have made to how we communicate and relate to one another.

We generally do not like disruption. It causes problems, uncertainty, risk and a loss of control. But disruption can also challenge us in positive ways. It can make us sit up and think, awaken us to take things more seriously that deserve our attention, or present common opportunities to make the world a better place.

Professor Christopher Dent is the Chair of the Sustainability Festival organising committee and the Director of SustainNET, read the rest of the post:

The Sustainability Festival is coming… be prepared to connect, engage and be inspired

Sustainability Festival Logo with info graphic of white leaves on green background

The University’s Sustainability Festival – taking place Monday 1st to Friday 5th November – is a chance for everyone at Edge Hill and beyond to come together to feel part of a collective of people that want to make our world a better, more sustainable place.

It coincides with the first week of the COP26 Climate Summit the UK is hosting in Glasgow, and the Sustainability Festival is organised over five Day Themes, such as ‘Move it Monday’ (special focus on transport and mobility).

Christopher Dent is a Professor of International Business and Economics in the Business School and Director: SustainNET. Please get in contact with him if you wish to be part of the Festival or become a SustainNET Member. Read the rest of the festival post:

Excitement builds for Edge Hill’s major new Sustainability Festival

Excitement is building ahead of Edge Hill’s major new Sustainability Festival, which takes place next week. 

The University campus will be buzzing with activity between Monday 1 and Friday 5 November as students, staff, eco-friendly organisations and members of the public come together to share ideas on how to work and live more sustainably. 

The festival, organised to coincide with the first week of the COP26 climate summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow, aims to celebrate Edge Hill’s dedication to advancing sustainability and encourage everyone to look at the world in new ways. 

Read further and find out the programme highlights including a talk by Joshua Styles:

Edge Hill shines a light on sustainability with major new festival

Sustainability Festival Logo with info graphic of white leaves on green background

Edge Hill University is shining a light on the importance of sustainability with a major new festival. 

Sustainability improves society and makes the world a better place for us and future generations while protecting natural habitats and resources – an outlook which underpins the University’s principles and approach to providing quality higher education. 

Planet Earth (Africa, Europa, Asia) painted by watercolor.

To celebrate that dedication and encourage students, staff and the wider community to look at the world in new ways, the Sustainability Festival is taking place from Monday 1st November to Friday 5th November – coinciding with the first week of the COP26 Climate Summit being hosted by the UK in Glasgow.

The campus will be alive with a huge range of events and activities to put a spotlight on sustainability in all its forms – from talks and campus tours to dance and drama performances, film screenings to litter picks. 

Read further the importance of this event:

Renewables 2021 Global Status Report

Solar farm and a wind turbine
Photo by Nazrin B-va on Unsplash

A political economist at Edge Hill University is among some of the world’s leading experts in renewable energy to feature in a new report highlighting the serious challenges that lie ahead for global clean energy targets. 

Christopher Dent, a Professor of International Business, has featured in the latest REN21 Renewables report, which shows that despite a historic decline of 4% in primary energy demand, polluting G20 countries barely met and still missed their renewable energy targets. 

Prof Dent provided his expert opinion in a special feature chapter on the important role that businesses have to play in renewable energy deployment. 

While business demand for renewable energy produced by electricity has made great progress, Prof Dent warned of the uphill challenges that lie ahead for decarbonising the thermal energy and transportation energy sectors. 

Read further the importance of this report: