Flinders University has a sustainability plan, or more correctly it has 70% of a sustainability plan, and we need your to help finish it?
“What is a sustainability plan?” I hear you ask.
I have no idea.
Sustainability, in this case, refers to establishing an ongoing ecological balance between us (people) and the natural and built environments at each of the Flinders campuses.
It involves paying attention to and intervening directly in a range of aspects of how the university is run:
- Increased recycling
- Creating buildings and landscapes that are in balance with the natural environment
- Transforming parts of the campus to become sources of food (‘urban farms’)
- Increased reliance on renewable energy sources
- Water saving measures
- Safe, healthy transport
It also includes the university embedding these principles in its teaching, research and community involvement.
- Teaching students to be ethical and environmental global citizens
- Focusing research on sustainability topics
- Taking our knowledge in this space to the wider community
The principles and suggested actions in the Sustainability plan are neatly and clearly outlined in this lovely pdf document.
Until the 24th August, you can put forward your own ideas about how the university should ‘build a more sustainable future’. Got a kick arse recycling idea, or a way to produce food on campus? Got some ideas for building and landscape design? Maybe you have a vision for a futuristic transport hub? Don’t be shy. Share it. Just click this link.
That is all fine and dandy Gareth, but why are you talking about this on the Student Health and Wellbeing Blog?
I’ve not written much on this blog about the mental health benefits of exposure to nature, but it is an increasingly well accepted and studied phenomenon. A highly cited study published back in 2010 provided evidence that positive self-esteem and mood effects can be achieved with just 5 minutes of activity in nature (e.g. walking, fishing, farming, gardening).
I experience those benefits myself when I spend time in my garden, and I frequently hear from other people that their time in nature (e.g. gardening, camping) is their favourite time and incredibly rejuvenating.
So any talk of further modifications to the university environment to enhance our relationship with nature, in my mind, is a step towards the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff.
I’ll be putting my suggestions forward, and I strongly suggest that you do too. Let’s make Flinders University one of the most ecologically diverse and healthy universities in the world.