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Every Sheffield Uni student will soon have to attend climate change lectures

Dainton Building would be fitting – really hot


All students will soon get compulsory lectures on climate change, under radical plans unveiled by University of Sheffield bosses.

Classes on sustainable development will be placed in the curriculum of every degree to address a "climate emergency", vice chancellor Koen Lamberts said.

While universities nationwide have taken steps including divesting from fossil fuels and banning beef burgers, few have gone this far – with management also pledging to go fully carbon neutral.

It came as hundreds of students and academics rallied in Sheffield city centre on Friday for the latest rendition of global youth climate strikes.

Announcing the new lectures for the first time at the protest, Lamberts said: "We are embedding education for sustainable development into the curriculum of every single course.

"There is a reason for doing this: whether our students go on to become engineers, doctors, linguists or historians, it doesn’t matter.

"We want every single one of them to be equipped with the education, the knowledge, the skills, the values and the attributes that they need to work and live in a sustainable way."

The lectures will follow the UN's existing Education for Sustainable Development programme and are set to be rolled out in partnership with Sheffield SU across every faculty over the next five years.

It is yet to be revealed how frequent the classes will be, or how they will be funded, but Lamberts said they would be about "finding solutions to the environmental, economic and social challenges that we face."

They are one of several measures the university said would feature in an upcoming five-year sustainability strategy, including reducing reliance on polluting transport forms and phasing out all carbon.

Lamberts confirmed an "action plan for becoming carbon neutral" was underway and will be unveiled this autumn.

The university faced criticism in March for failing to meet a 2015 promise to divest fully from fossil fuels, as official accounts showed more than £1 million of investments in three oil companies.

Public pressure prompted bosses to say in April they would complete divestment work – coming three years late.

Thousands of young people turned out in towns and cities across the UK on Friday for more than 200 events, according to the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), and adults were invited to join for the first time.

Government ministers have been critical of students bunking off school to take part in climate protests, a movement first sparked by teenage activist Greta Thunberg.

*Cover image credit to @crashingnowave on Twitter*