Welcome to the October edition of our Green Paper – the one-stop shop for information on the environment and sustainability at Bangor University and the work of the Sustainability Lab and our partners across Campus.
In this issue we are focussing on:
- United Nations Goal of the Month - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
- KESS 2 Case Study by Mirain Llwyd Roberts
- Resource Efficiency (Waste Management) at Bangor University
- Getting to know: M-Sparc
- 5 Green Habits that won't break the bank
- Plant of the month
- Book of the month
Putting the world to rights
Tuesday October 27th - 11am
Join us for October’s Putting the world to rights session. The session will be led by Gwen Holland, Bangor University’s Waste Co-ordinator. Join us to learn about what the University is currently doing to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and hear all about our latest and upcoming developments. Book your place by emailing email@example.com or join directly via the below link.
Please send your comments/contributions to the paper to firstname.lastname@example.org
United Nations Goal of the Month - Goal 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
In October, the focus is on Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16. It’s all about promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Conflict, insecurity, weak institutions and limited access to justice remain a great threat to sustainable development.
Human rights are key in shaping the pandemic response, putting people centre-stage. Responses that are shaped by and respect human rights result in better outcomes in beating the pandemic, ensuring healthcare for everyone and preserving human dignity. The Un Secretary General urged governments to be transparent, responsive and accountable in their COVID-19 response and ensure that any emergency measures are legal, proportionate, necessary and non-discriminatory. He’s also called for a global ceasefire, in an appeal urging warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against the pandemic. More than 2 million people have signed the online petition supporting the global ceasefire appeal. You can sign it here.
Here are some global facts:
- In 2019, more than 79 million people were fleeing war, persecution and conflict, the highest ever recorded
- The global homicide rate has declined slowly, however there are 440,000 global homicide victims
- 60% of countries have prison overcrowding, risking the spread of COVID-19
What can we do?
- Exercise your right to freedom of information
- Promote inclusion and respect towards people of different ethnic origins, religions, gender, sexual orientations or different opinions
Dr Sarah Nason, Senior Lecturer Senior in Administrative Law and Jurisprudence (T&R) explains how her work contributes to Goal 16.
Bangor research into public law and administrative justice in Wales, the UK and the world is helping to promote the rule of law, and working towards ensuring justice for all, in accordance with targets of Goal 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals ‘Peace and Justice’.
Administrative justice is the justice of relationships between individuals and the state. It concerns how government and other public bodies treat people, the correctness of their decisions, fairness of their procedures, and the opportunities people have to challenge them. It impacts on more people’s lives than the criminal or civil justice systems. Locally our research is informing the development of a more coherent, principled and accessible system of administrative justice for Wales, helping people to ensure that their legal rights and entitlements are respected.
Sustainability, and the ‘Five Ways of Working’ of the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 are at the heart of good administration and social justice in Wales. Our research shows administrative justice as a cornerstone to both and its potential to alleviate structural inequality through a principled approach to policy, legislation, guidance, and fair, proportionate and accessible routes to redress. We argue that a more equal Wales goes hand in hand with a just Wales.
In the UK, our influential empirical research into judicial review of government action clearly demonstrates the value of the procedure as essential to good governance, to the protection of the rule of law, and to access to justice for the most socially and economically disadvantaged in society.
More widely Dr. Nason has contributed as UK Rapporteur to pan-European and global projects. Including: examining the impact of the Council of Europe (both its European Convention on Human Rights, and other Council treaties and sources) on public law and good administration in Member States; and examining reforms to public law and administrative justice in Europe and common law jurisdictions such as Canada and Australia. She has also worked with the Council of Europe Directorate General of Human Rights and the Rule of Law on research to improve the rule of law, access to justice and effective administration in particular member states.
KESS2 Alumni Case Study: Mirain Llwyd Roberts
Company partner: Cyngor Gwynedd
Academic supervisor: Dr Catrin Hedd Jones
Academic discipline: Health Sciences, Psychology
The purpose of my research was to explore the challenges and barriers facing intergenerational projects: “Bridging the people and the community: The barriers and challenges facing intergenerational projects focusing on sustainability”. Several obstacles and challenges emerged during the research and a simple model was found to try to get the best out of intergenerational projects here in Wales. The success of a sustainable intergenerational program can be hampered by many aspects. It is important to have an organizer and facilitator for the projects as they are not about simply putting two groups of people together. Additionally, it is essential that the importance of intergenerational understanding is perceived at a personal, community and national level to enable projects to continue. By understanding the value of this type of work, arrangements will be carried out more often and sustained over longer periods of time.
For a year now I have been working as an Intergenerational Co-ordinator for Gwynedd Council as part of a network of projects funded through the Welsh Government’s Integrated Care Fund (ICF) and it is a fund that promotes new ideas in developing the health and care sector for the future. Gwynedd Council were my company partners during my Research Masters and it has been extremely beneficial to be able to continue the good work done during my year as a postgraduate researcher by being able to work full time with them. Support for the project from the company partner has been invaluable.
Photo: Mirain speaking at the conference in Portland, USA which she attended during her postgraduate study period.
During my year as a KESS 2 postgraduate researcher and since working for Gwynedd Council I have had the opportunity to work on several real-world intergenerational projects. The most common type of scheme I’ve worked on is an inter-class scheme in a primary school and having them visit a care home or local day care centre. I have also had the opportunity to work with secondary school children, young people who have left school, homes and private care homes. Additionally, I’ve been able to coordinate community projects whilst working with third sector organisations. The understanding I have gained from the various sectors here is useful to go on to offer different types of projects between different groups of people. The opportunities of working with these different organisations as a postgraduate researcher and after graduation have had huge benefits for my personal and professional development.
Intergenerational practice is an opportunity to establish special relationships between people of all ages and to foster between different generations an understanding of each other. I have seen special relationships forming between primary children and those in day care, between secondary children and people in the community and students and individuals in care homes.
The sheer range of relationships forming emphasises how the intergenerational gap can be bridged between anyone.
I look forward to continuing the intergenerational project and taking on the new challenges associated with the current situation, where face-to-face projects cannot be sustained for the time being. It’s an opportunity to think beyond the box and experiment with new and digital approaches to intergenerational practice.
The research project contributes towards the following Welsh Well-being Goals:
And the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
For further information about the KESS2 & KESS2 East project, more case studies, and examples of how the research fits with the UN SDGs visit the website www.kess2.ac.uk
Resource Efficiency (Waste Management) at Bangor University
Waste Awareness Week #WAW20
Waste Awareness Week (WAW) is Bangor University’s annual resource efficiency campaign. In a “normal” year the week is comprised of halls and community waste visits, litter picks, beach cleans, career talks, information days, quizzes and workshops. However, this year’s campaign was very different, as it was primarily held online.
WAW ran from the 5th – 9th October 2020 and consisted of various stunts such as mowing a recycling symbol outside Pontio and in Treborth Botanic Garden, as well as lighting up our Main Arts building green. These stunts promoted WAW and also the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP)’s nationwide ‘Be Mighty – Recycle!’ campaign.
We had various online sessions and talks such as ‘Be Part of the Resource Revolution - Waste Management at Bangor’, ‘Recycling in the community’, ‘Don't be useless - use less!’ and ‘Eco stylist vs Fast Fashion’. The Student Union held a making your own reusable mask workshop and a community litter pick, whilst a local charity launched an online video about student donations. We ran our ‘Resource Rebel’ staff and student competition on social media (the entries are currently being judged), whilst we also delivered some waste training sessions during the week. WAW reached 368,496 people on social media.
Mindfulness and Sustainability
By Dr. Gemma Griffith
In this issue of the Green Paper, Dr Gemma Griffith, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Wellbeing) shares some thoughts on the relationship between Mindfulness and Sustainability.
The Mindfulness Initiative recently published a document called “Agency in Urgent Times” about how the individual cultivation of mindfulness can lead to greater awareness of the huge issues facing humanity, such as climate change, increasingly divisive political discourse, and, of course, sustainability. The paper opens a dialogue about how mindfulness may be a tool to enhance intentional action for our collective best interest. It is important to point out here, that this document in no way implies that ‘becoming more mindful’ alone can solve these problems, but may have a part to play in raising awareness. “Mindfulness training is not a silver bullet but rather an activator of important capacities within a wider ecosystem of intentional action” (p.5)
The document outlines three main ways in which mindfulness could contribute to sustainable action.
1 - Perception: Gathering and Processing information
With so many pulls on our attention with the 24-hour news cycle, social media etc – mindfulness can help us become aware of when we have become distracted and resist these strong market-driven pulls on our attention. This can help us intentionally focus our attention on what we choose to notice and bring into our lives.
2 - Understanding: making sense and making decisions
While todays complex world requires nuanced understanding, this is undermined by factors like information overload and polarised debates on social media which often simplify complex issues and generate an ‘us vs. them’ mentality. Evidence suggests that mindfulness training can enable individuals to become open to alternative perspectives, and to ‘decentre’ (which means to take a wider perspective on one’s own thought processes, and see them as mental events rather than as hard facts).
3 - Doing: Living together in our world
Evidence suggests that mindfulness training can decrease impulsivity and aggression, and enhance compassion and empathy. When acting with awareness (rather than on auto-pilot), this can encourage wiser action. Mindfulness is sometimes seen as passive, but it can help to restore our intention around how to act with awareness in the world in a way that is in line with our values.
If you are interested in how mindfulness might contribute to the sustainability challenges facing us, this document offers an interesting perspective on how the tools of mindfulness may help to reorientate attention towards what matters, to reflect and understand the issues that are facing us, and to act in purposeful ways in line with our collective best interest.
You can access this paper freely by clicking on this link.
This month, the Green Paper went (virtually) to meet three members of M-Sparc to learn more about them and what’s going on in the Science Park in Gaerwen
We all have great ideas. But how many of them materialise? Converting initial ideas into successful initiatives requires that little extra; something to fire ambition, something to give it energy, somewhere to light that spark for a better future. If innovative businesses at the forefront of science are to succeed, they need knowledge, skills, support, encouragement and investment.
This is where M-SParc, Wales' first Science Park, can help; by providing an energetic work environment, expert business support and world-class facilities.
Meet the team
Tell us something about your background and how you ended up at M-Sparc
Emily Roberts, Marketing and Customer Experience Officer. I was working in the University's Psychology department for a while, developing Welsh language tests for children. When the grant came to an end I was looking for a new challenge – this was back in 2013! The opportunity to work for Wales' first Science Park, and being part of realising the dream and shaping the project, looked too good to miss, and I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the M-SParc journey over the years.
Sofie Angharad Roberts, Low Carbon Officer and Tour Manager. Prior to joining the M-SParc team I, like Emily, worked at Bangor University. I was involved in several part-time or short contracts while studying towards my doctorate in Film Studies. I loved being involved in such varied work across the schools and departments. When I saw the job description for this role at M-SParc I felt that it would be an excellent fit for me in terms of my skills, ambitions, and my goal of a career that has a positive impact on people and the region. I can't believe that I've been at M-SParc 12 months now and it's a real pleasure to be part of this very energetic team!
Pryderi ap Rhisiart, Managing Director. I've always been interested in technology, innovation, rural economy, regeneration and enterprise – so being able to become part of the M-SParc venture was a great opportunity for me. It is an opportunity to turn the tide on the emigration of young people, it is an opportunity to stimulate a rural economy, to benefit from the University's talent and in turn to contribute to sustainable communities in the region. That is basically what drives me in my everyday work; knowing that the ideas and support invested now are now going to contribute to great opportunities for our young people for years to come and Covid-19 has shown the need to expand our economy here in the north west of Wales.
Sustainability is critical and we know that M-SParc rates implementing framework of the Well-being of Future Generations Act as highly important. What do the three of you think is the most important change that would make a difference to Wales in the long term?
Emily: the goal of ensuring that ‘Wales is responsible on a global level’ is important. This benefits the future in a number of ways; in terms of being sustainable, but also in terms of culture and economy. M-SParc always encourages the people of Wales to celebrate their success and to recognise the excellent, innovative work that is taking place here. By feeling responsible on a global level, we can encourage the people of Wales to see themselves as successful, able people who lead the way!
Sofie: all the pillars are extremely important and this framework gives Wales a leading edge. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of resilience, so our focus on a low carbon future will certainly have a positive impact that benefits everyone and our future.
Pryderi: The timing of the Act and the thinking behind it were perfect for us. We were able, almost 4 years ago now, to use the act to imagine the type of business M-SParc wanted to be and the way we work. It is true to say that the seven goals and five ways of working are now imprinted in our DNA. The biggest change for me would be to be able to share the principles behind the law and the ways of working with more people and more enterprises. Beyond that broad goal then I firmly believe that we need to raise the skills and confidence of the young people of the region to benefit from the opportunities that are on the horizon in technology and science.
What gives you the greatest pleasure in your job?
Emily: Seeing the human side of people; when they arrive in M-SParc people could get the impression that everything is 'corporate' but young children and older business people alike manage to relax somehow; they are more open to working together, listening, and enjoying being there. It's magical to see!
Sofie: The fact that everything I do at work is part of the wider vision of developing the local economy and the next generation and talent. Feeling like I'm making a difference is important to me; either helping individuals with the equipment in the Making Space, or researching financial grants for future projects, having a positive impact, small or large, makes me very happy!
Pryderi: Undoubtedly seeing the impact of the work, new ventures - some succeeding, some not, getting to know the characters that make up this eco-system and seeing new faces in it. I'm probably a people person and the reason for M-SParc is to offer people opportunities, seeing the team's work to advance opportunities and its impact on people is fantastic.
Work is important but relaxing and looking after our health and well-being are important too. How do you spend your spare time?
Emily: Get on the bike when the weather permits, watch crime dramas, and spend time with Ned, the dog!
Sophie: Before Covid-19 I was always looking forward to a vacation or a break away and going to gigs (AC/DC in Dublin was the best ever!). Now, I enjoy discovering new walks at weekends, cooking whilst listening to music, and spending time with Monty and Tilly my mischievous little cats!
Pryderi: It's so easy to be so enthusiastic about work to the point that it takes over everything else - and I don't think I've mastered getting the balance right yet! I don't watch a lot of TV except Arsenal football games and I spend a lot of time on the bike, but I spend most of my spare time with my sons Caio and Tomi.
It's been a difficult year for everyone, what is your advice to the businesses that make up M-Sparc?
Pryderi: Ask for help. There's always an ear to listen to, a helping hand, and someone who's been in the same boat as you to show how to sail on! M-SParc is a community, and we accept that we all face very different challenges at the moment, but we can work together to find a solution to any problem. Above all, the period has given businesses the opportunity to experiment and expand into new markets and given many people time to think about starting a new venture themselves. So how about it?!
Top 5 Green Habits that won't break the bank
By Rebecca Lewis
Hello! My name's Rebecca and I'm in my second year of BSc Environmental Conservation at Bangor University. My aim is to help the world in anyway possible and I think writing for the Green Paper could be a great place to start. As we work together to make the world a greener place.
Going green doesn’t need to be expensive, especially when you’re a student trying to budget student finance. Here are five green and sustainable habits that’ll help the planet without going into debt.
Tip No. 1 - Recycle and Reuse
Recycling costs nothing! We are lucky to live in Wales; composting is free which we shouldn’t take for granted. Have a look at the council’s website and check what can and can’t be recycled and composted. Aim to buy food items in glass which can be reused as storage. Reusing and recycling are the best habits to adopt which benefit the environment. A fun fact from an eco-nerd like me; plastic can only be recycled once or twice, paper from five to seven times while aluminium, glass and metal can be recycled an infinite amount of times! Which is why you should always opt for aluminium, glass and metal.
Tip No. 2 - Repair before you replace
We live in a throw away society, it may seem easier to throw away and buy new but it’s often cheaper to repair an item than throw it away and buy brand new. Next time you’re about to buy a new phone or a piece of furniture, see how much it would cost to repair or upcycle what you’ve got before you replace it with a new one. It’ll surprise you how much money you’ll save. One tin of paint can go a long way in upcycling and can completely transform items. The same goes for clothes, it’ll be cheaper to mend a hole with a needle and thread than rebuy it. YouTube is your friend when looking for DIY and repairing advice!
Tip No. 3 - Buy local and seasonal
Not only is it cheaper to buy local and seasonal produce but better for the environment. Check where each item is from before buying it and opt for produce grown closer to home. More often than not, seasonal produce is on offer. Or consider a fruit and vegetable box delivery service from the farmer to your door like M Hughes and Sons, Tatws Bryn and many more. If you’d like a monthly list of produce in season in the Green Paper, please let us know by clicking the ‘Appreciate’ button at the bottom of the page.
Tip No. 4 - Borrow, don't buy!
Ask family and friends if they have the item you can borrow. If I need anything cooking related, I ask my mum and she has doubles and triples of items and often, I get to keep it! But yes, I know not everyone has hoarding family members who love the Great British Bake-off. You may not be able to borrow or need something long term. Buy second hand or refurbished. It’s not only cheaper, it’s better for the environment. We live in a digital age, gone are the days of checking every day in your local charity shop if you are looking for something in particular (which you can still do) but to save on time. Check out eBay many charity shops sell items there, Facebook Marketplace, Oxfam’s online shop and many more.
Tip No. 5 Re-grow food scraps
Why not give re-growing a go! It’s quite easy and hassle-free to give your vegetable and herb scraps a new lease of life as plants can grow new roots and regenerate. It’ll not only reduce your food waste, it’s also a great money saver. If it has a bulb or stem with roots attached, pop it in a repurposed jar with a little bit of water and watch it grow! Once roots have grown you can transfer it into a container of soil or into your garden. There are many articles and YouTube tutorials to help you successfully achieve this. You could even get a nice pot from a charity shop and give it as a gift (is it too early to mention Christmas?)
Plant of the month
By Natalie Chivers, Treborth Botanic Garden Curator
(Viola tricolor L. subsp. curtisii)
Dune pansy (Viola tricolor L. subsp. curtisii) is our plant of the month because although it starts flowering in April it continues all the way through October in some sheltered dune slacks.
The wild pansy, Viola tricolor, has many different names: ‘Heartsease’, ‘Love-in-idleness’, ‘Love-lies-bleeding’; and in Welsh ‘Blodeuyn Wyneb Mair’ (Mary’s face), ‘Llysiau’r Drindod’ (Plant of the Trinity), ‘Caru’n Ofer’ (Love in vain).
The plants have a creeping or rambling habit, with small lanceolate leaves; the tri- coloured (violet, yellow and white) flowers are borne on long stalks usually rising a few inches above the ground.
They are widespread throughout Britain, and are abundant in coastal areas especially fixed dunes systems in Wales as they prefer sandy, well drained soils.
The best local examples of dune pansy are in the Newborough and Aberffraw dune systems which boast some of the best habitat for coastal wildflowers in Britain.
Tucked in behind the bare shifting sands on the beaches, the dunes slowly become more stable and create a hilly, sandy grassland with lots of variation in wind, rain, soil fertility, and sun levels. The dune pansys can still be seen now in a few sheltered slacks surrounded by the seed heads of their summer companions.
Book of the Month
The Creative Curve
WH Allen, Penguin 2018
The book of the month in this issue is particularly appropriate as it reflects the expertise of our colleagues from M-Sparc, our featured guests this month.
We all admire creative people and often think that those people are blessed with a mystery ability missing in the rest of us. There is myth that success is the result of a light-bulb moment and that writing great novels, painting a remarkable picture or creating a world-famous app is restricted to a few geniuses.
This is a lie. We have been deceived as to the nature of creativity, and this book reveals the truth. There's scientific evidence behind creative success and the author argues that it is possible to decode and replicate moments of 'inspiration' to create popular work that your audience can’t get enough of.
The book is divided into two. In the first part the author overturns the mythology of creativity, revealing that there is a pattern to follow.
To begin with, we are guided through the creative process through the history of Paul McCartney and his famously memorable song 'Yesterday'. The perceived wisdom is that the song came to him in a dream, but in fact the world-famous hit was the culmination of two years of obsessive hard work. He was so obsessed with perfecting the song that everyone around him was heartily sick of it and him.
The book then goes on to explain how we came to believe the lie that inspiration is spontaneous. In so doing it reveals an uncomfortable truth – a lot of success stems not from raw talent and ability but from who you know, who can mentor you and who is able to promote your work/idea. I will not elaborate, suffice to say that this chapter touches on bias and unconscious bias. Basically, things that are considered successful by influential individuals are the ones most likely to succeed*.
(*Note to self – get a mentor!)
A discussion follows on 'what is talent' and 'what is a genius?’ Then comes an introduction to the creative curve, which is the basis of the second part of the book.
I am not going to reveal any more…..so why not have a go?! Rather than sit around waiting for a flash of inspiration from above, learn how to find the 'sweet spot', the point on the creative curve where ideas ignite.
Read the book, pick the brains of our partners at M-Sparc, Pontio Arts, the Product Design Team and others in the University and discover the template for great success.