by Esther Rzewski
We are delighted to announce the winners of our first GLOBUS Summer competition. Thank you to everyone who participated and wrote articles based around Global Sustainable Development. They will all be published on our website, with a new one appearing every week!
We were very impressed by the engagement and breadth of topics explored by the participants in our competition, funnily enough, with each reflecting on sustainable development on a different scale.
The runner-up piece by Kanto Fiaferana will be published under Student Experience, as it reflected on the personal engagement of a student with sustainability, as we try to reconcile the lifestyle we live with the knowledge that we live in a privileged Western society that is completely unsustainable.
“I’ve always had access to electricity, clean water, gas… But it was only later in life that I realised what huge luck I had to have access to those.”
This student describes trying to reduce consumption, and the dichotomy that exist between themselves and other students in their flat, who do not exhibit habits like switching off lights, behaviours which are shaped by the awareness of environmental problems.
The second piece, which won the 2nd prize, was written by Dee Yon Chng and focused on an environmental problem – the loss of bees as crucial pollinators, which according to Greenpeace are responsible for pollinating 70% of the food we consume! The writer uses this example as a lens through which to examine the interaction between humans and nature, as we describe nature’s uses to us as Ecosystem Services yet,
“these services were not technically meant for humans. It is a service that pollinators would trade with flowering plants in exchange for nectar or pollen.”
The writer further argues that by focusing on one ecosystem service, we neglect system thinking, and the use of insecticide to target pest overlooks the relationship between plants and their pollinators. The author of the piece believes that bigger agricultural system change may be necessary to solve the problem of pollinator collapse. She also mentions local action, which students can take part in by working with sustainability focused societies at Warwick.
Finally, our winning piece was written by Tom Harrison. This was a true example of Global Sustainable Development focus, which took into consideration the case of the island of Nauru in the Pacific Ocean. Nauru, a ‘pleasant island’ whose environmental resources of phosphate made its citizens some of the wealthiest in the world, is a perfect example of a multi-dimensional sustainability problem, which requires an interdisciplinary perspective.
“Nauru is not the only Pacific state dependent on aid; almost all the small islands are dependent on aid to remain afloat – Kiribati, Niue, Tuvalu, Palau; too isolated, too small, too vulnerable, too beautiful.”
The writer describes Nauru’s downwards spiral, from health – with 95% of the locals being overweight – to economic problems – with debt written off by the Australians in exchange for an arrangement involving the setup of an asylum seeker detention camp on the island. This finally brings social consideration to our case and prompts the question – what can we do about this and can this situation change for the better? Can we bring sustainable development to Nauru? I’ll let the readers decide…
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