This year see the creation of a new environmental project, Transition St Andrews, which aims to tackle climate change within the local community. The Saint’s LAURA ABERNETHY spoke to the project co-ordinator, Jamie Peters, about the aims of the project.
LA:Transition St Andrews is a new project. For students who have not heard of it before, can you describe the aims of the project?
JP: Transition is a global movement that aims to help communities respond to climate change and the resource depletion that we are facing and will continue to face in a more extreme manner in the coming years. Each local Transition movement has their own take on it, so Transition St Andrews is different to any other group. The ultimate aim is to reduce our carbon footprint, use resources more efficiently, give people new skills and let them get to know their community in a fun way.
We are running activities related to energy, food, waste and transport. These include practical things that everyone can get involved in, like the amazing University Community Garden and some really cutting-edge stuff like Carbon Conversations. To find out how you can get involved visit www.st-andrews.ac.uk/transition or pop into the office at 65 North St for a coffee and a chat.
LA:What inspired you to get involved with Transition St Andrews?
JP:I had previously worked in a similar project at Aberdeen but it was not a Transition movement. I had read and heard a lot about Transition so saw it as a really good opportunity.
After visiting and seeing the impressive work already going on environmentally with students, staff and academics it became apparent that St Andrews is by far the most progressive university in terms of climate change action, especially with current work on renewables.
LA:You recently won Best Green Campaigner/Activist at the Scottish Green Awards. What did you do to receive this award and how will this affect your work in St Andrews?
JP: I received the award for managing a Climate Change Project at the University of Aberdeen and we secured funding for 3 years. Over the project, we worked with many students who helped to save hundreds of tonnes of carbon and plant hundreds of trees. I am now trying to do something similar here.
I volunteer for the United Kingdom Youth Climate Coalition (UKYCC). I am the Scottish Coalition Officer and also attend the UN climate change talks, where I have addressed the UN representing young people. I am going to Durban, South Africa, in a self-funded trip, in December with UKYCC to try and ensure the world’s leaders realise it is our generation that is getting affected by their decisions and we have to be listened to. UKYCC is a great organisation and are always recruiting if anyone wants to join – un.ukycc.org.
It is important to note that individual awards are not that important in environmental work and we are all aiming for the same goals. There are loads of people in Scotland that I know who could have won the award for the amazing work they do.
It has been a good thing to win in terms of my work here as it has attracted lots of press attention and given me the chance to promote Transition. From a personal point of view, it was a little embarrassing to win as self-recognition is not the reason I do any of this work.
LA: What advice can you give for students who are conscious about saving the environment but struggle to incorporate it into their busy schedules and tight budgets?
JP: Well the great news is ‘saving the environment’ can be fitted into tight schedules, depending on the level of involvement you want… There are lots that every one of us can do to reduce our impact on the environment the best way to do so is get involved with us or send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org. Importantly the world is a changing place and it is time for our generation to really make the changes we want and not accept people telling us otherwise. Everyone can get involved regardless of their situation!