The YSJ Curriculum in Response to the Climate Emergency

COP26, Day 6. YSJU Human Geography student Sophie Blackburn shares her findings from her work as a Student as Researcher on the ‘YSJU Students and Ecological Justice’ project (2019-21).

Through my involvement in Ecological Justice Research at YSJ, we explored students’ attitudes towards their university’s response to the climate emergency. We discovered that students believe all universities have a responsibility to take care of the environment and create a sustainable future for everyone. Through focus groups, we also encountered ways to include ecological justice within YSJ’s curriculum, as a response to the climate emergency. For example, there was a need for lecturers to create ‘green conversations’ within teaching sessions, where students and staff can learn about the climate emergency together, and potentially pick up some sustainable habits.

Another action universities could take would be including ecological justice topics within teaching, we found that the climate emergency has relevance in every subject area at YSJ. Students are aware that the way they treat the environment around them will affect their future, but they need a helping hand to understand its extent and what they can personally do to help; YSJ can do this through their teaching. In addition, encouraging participatory opportunities in class, where students can discuss and suggest initiatives with YSJ staff would be beneficial, because students will feel engaged and important within their university community. The best way for the YSJ curriculum to develop in response to the climate emergency is by fostering conversations around climate justice within classes and empowering students to learn and pass on their knowledge on, outside of university.


In tomorrow’s post we hear from Energy and Environmental Projects Officer Sarah Williams how the university’s Estates Team is striving to drastically reduce the campus’ carbon emissions.