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The Collins Dictionary Word of the Year 2018 was “single-use”: perhaps this reflects our desire as a society to reduce our wasteful culture, reuse what we have, recycle what we can’t reuse, and renew our hope for the future (and our energy). This evening gives a whistle-stop tour of what sustainability actually is, and how we can make a difference to our futures on both a local and global scale.
Elixirs of immortality & other sustainability goals
Dr Julia Kasmire (Research Associate, Alliance Manchester Business School)
Dr Julia Kasmire is a sustainability scientist and Nicola Flannel is a fictional alchemist. Together, they give a rapid-fire comedy tour of scientific progress from alchemy to modern-day scientific sustainability. They find the humour in the theory of bodily humours, the inside jokes inside innovations, the fun in fundamental assumptions, the crack-ups within cryptic communications, and the wit behind wishing for the best. They also point out similarities between everyone's favourite quasi-scientific hand-waving hokum and ... alchemy. Note: neither presenter is a climate change denier.
Australia's climate policy debacle: why it matters
Dr Marc Hudson (Research assistant)
Australia has sun, space, scientists and sensitivity to climate change – all perfect conditions for renewable energy. But despite thirty years of promises, coal still dominates the energy landscape of Australia. This is no accident, and this talk, based on my PhD, explains who did what to delay the renewable energy revolution. It’s a story of think tanks, secret lobbying and the creation of “common sense.” Broader lessons about ‘enacted inertia’ are then explained, around the behaviour of economic and political incumbents when challenged to act on climate change.
Waste matters: how to think about Manchester’s mess
Dr Sherilyn MacGregor (Reader in Environmental Politics, Sustainable Consumption Institute)
This talk will offer ways of thinking about waste issues in Manchester: Why is there so much litter in the streets? Who is responsible for rubbish? What strategies can be used to tackle waste in a consumer society that has reached ‘peak stuff’? To answer these questions, Sherilyn MacGregor will give some examples of social science research being done at the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester, including projects on the ‘circular economy’ and ‘household sustainability,’ as well as government and community efforts to change our relationship with waste.