Goldsmith’s Sustainable Development Course

Each year the Goldsmith’s company pay for a number of Science for Society courses. This summer I was lucky enough to get a place on the Sustainable Development course held at Brunel University in Uxbridge.

As I’m sat here trying to get ready for my Alpine trip on Saturday I thought I’d better get something down! Firstly, I was reassured to find that Secondary and University geography don’t seem to be that far apart, at least when it comes to sustainability. I’m going to share what I thought were the interesting parts of the course in a little detail. I’m leaving out the lavish dinner at Goldsmith’s Hall in London but needless to say that a good time was had by all!

The week started by considering what we mean by sustainable development and whether it is actually possible. After the usual difficulty in defining what is meant by sustainable development the lecturer shared a great definition by the country of my birth Wales:

‘We should treat the Earth as though we intend to stay’ National Assembly for Wales.

I though this this definition sums the whole debate up nicely and shall be using it in my teaching. Two approaches to SD were then floated. The Environmental approach is to use technology so that we can continue to live our lives as normal. For example, carbon off setting so we can still fly. On the other had the Ecological approach demands a change in lifestyle. I think I will be balancing out my teaching nest year to include equal elements of both view points.

Terminal 5

The delegates were treated to a tour of the unfinished Terminal 5 development. The expansion of Heathrow formed the central element of the group project during the week.

Homes on the Atkins Diet

Another visit took us to the Zero Carbon development at BedZed. This was an excellent tour although the issues of sustainable development were brought home as these zero carbon homes were made with lots and lots of concrete.

I hope that a number of resources will come out of my time at Brunel – I certainly did relive my student days living in Halls and having a beer at the Students Union! Other topics covered included Climate Change, flood plain development and sustainable routes to schools.

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