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Sustainability Series

We are very excited to announce our Sustainability Series for 2023-2024. Each month an interactive workshop will be organised that discusses a specific theme of sustainability. Interested about sustainability? Do not hesitate to sign up to our events !

December: How to be an Academic in a World on Fire: A Hands-On Workshop

Addressing the climate crisis requires radical and urgent action at all levels of society. Universities are ideally positioned to lead such action but are largely failing to do so. At the same time, many academic scientists find their work impeded by corporatization and bureaucracy, a loss of academic freedom, overwork, casualisation, and poor mental health. Here, drawing on Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics framework, we suggest that modern academic life increasingly transgresses human and planetary limits while failing to provide a socially just foundation for its communities. In response, we suggest seven new principles for rethinking the norms of scientific practice. Based on these principles, we propose a call to action, and encourage academics to take concrete steps towards a thriving scientific enterprise that both works better for people and responds to the climate crisis. This hands-on workshop will support participants to take those steps. The workshop introduces our theoretical analysis of the academic doughnut (Urai & Kelly, 2023), and adapts the DEAL (Doughnut Economics Action Lab) ‘Doughnut Unrolled’ toolkit to our academic context (1). Participants will learn to analyse current academic norms through a doughnut lens, to identify and rethink unhelpful practices and institute new ones. Moderated activities will equip participants with new knowledge, motivation, and allegiances that will support them to take action as scientists and academics - in their local context and as part of the global scientific community. There will be an opportunity afterwards to enjoy some snacks and drinks whilst asking questions. 

Speaker: Dr. Anne Urai

7th December 

the Playground, PLNT (Langegracht 70, 2312 NV Leiden) 15:00 - 17:00 

Sign up HERE

Past Events



September: Save the planet whilst doing what you love

“What can I do to contribute to a more sustainable future?” I asked myself this question, when the gravity of the climate crisis hit me. At that time, I had invested almost a decade of my life into becoming a healthcare professional. My CV said I was a biomedical researcher and a medical doctor, but I felt the urgency to do something to contribute to the planet. Did I need to go back and study climate science to make a difference? Could I as an individual even make a difference? It turned out the answer to my initial question was:  a lot more than you think! In the past four years, I have set up various sustainability programs in healthcare. Moreover, in 2022 I became climate mayor of Leiden, raising awareness in my own community. In this session, I will share how the medical domain and the practice of doing research are intertwined with sustainability. And along the way, what I learned on taking action for sustainability in a way that is empowering and positive. After this session, I hope you are inspired to find out your own sweet spot between doing what you love, what you are good at and what the world needs.

Speaker: Dr. Rosa van den Berg (Medical Delta, Klimaatburgemeester Leiden)

September 21 - 16:00-17:15

PLNT - The Spotlight

Langegracht 70, 2312 NV Leiden

November: Packaging, the Most Wasteful Use of Plastic

Today, packaging accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste generated globally. Packaging is not only the largest category of end-use for plastic, but also the most wasteful one. It was estimated by Greenpeace International that of the total of 448 million tons of plastic produced in 2015, 161 million was utilized in the packaging market and was discarded within less than 6 months after purchase. For comparison, an average life-span of plastic materials utilized in building and construction – the second largest category – was 35 years. In this lecture we will explore the history of plastic packaging and the main historical forces that have instilled plastic into our daily routines. Such knowledge is essential for generating future solutions for the current plastic waste crisis.

In preparation for the lecture, it would be good if you could watch this video: click here

Speaker: Dr. Katarzyna Cwiertka

9 November 16:00-17:15

KOG A0.08 


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