International Development Society Conference on Climate Change

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Comprehensive assessment by scientists shows that it is extremely likely that human activity has been the dominant cause of global change since the mid-20th Century. While the carbon footprint of the world’s most poverty-stricken billion people is only 3 per cent of the world’s total footprint, they are the most vulnerable to its consequences.

This is the reason why this year’s conference organised by the International Development Society revolves around climate change, its effects on developing countries, and the necessary domestic and international policy steps to undertake in order to improve the situation.

Climate change affects developing countries in several ways.

Firstly, it has disastrous effects on the state of world agriculture. This will be especially the case in developing countries that have limited financial resources and technologies available to adapt to such environmental impacts.

To explore this topic further, we are hosting Dr Claire Quinn, from the University of Leeds, who will speak to us about the effects of climate change on agriculture in Africa. Dr Quinn is an environmental social scientist with over 20 years of experience working on interdisciplinary projects in Africa, Europe and Asia.

After Dr Quinn, Professor Fiona Nunan, from the University of Birmingham, will talk to us about policy solutions in developing countries. She will talk to us about her book titled Making Climate Compatible Development Happen. Her first book Understanding Poverty and the Environment: Analytical Frameworks and Approaches makes an innovative contribution to the literature on environment and development by bringing together a diverse range of analytical approaches and frameworks that can be used to study human-nature interactions.

After, Patrick Curran, Policy Analyst and Research Advisor to Professor Stern, will deliver a talk titled Unlocking the sustainable and inclusive growth story of the 21st Century: The central role of developing countries. Curran researches at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE. Before that, he worked at Camco Clean Energy (South Africa) supporting the development of climate change and energy policy in sub-Saharan Africa.

We also have a speaker from the International Institute for Environment and Development in Edinburgh. Binyam Gebreyes will speak about climate policy in Ethiopia and the International climate change negotiation in the context of Least Developed Countries. Before joining the IIED, he worked for the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethiopia serving as an environmental law expert: main responsibilities involved coordinating matters related to multilateral environmental agreements including domestic ratifications and supporting national implementation of those treaties.

Finally, Adrian Villasenor-Lopez, Research Fellow from the Centre for Health Economics here at York, will talk to us about environmental policy and human wellbeing. He undertook a postdoc at the “Centre for the Socio-Economic Impact Evaluation of Environmental Policies (CESIEP)” at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile where he worked evaluating the success of programmes in Mexico, Costa Rica, and Chile in terms of their impact on human wellbeing.

We are also hosting Jo Musker-Sherwood, from the NGO Hope for the Future. Her passion for climate justice stems from time volunteering in Peru and a year she spent working with asylum seekers and refugees. Together with campaigners and MPs from across the UK, she has been working as part of the campaign to find ways of communicating the urgency of the climate crisis to UK politicians.

During the conference, we will offer coffee and tea, as well as lunch. During the lunch break, we will host a quiz in which you can participate and test your knowledge about such an important topic! The winner will receive a prize.

Participation to the conference, which will be held in the Ron Cooke Hub Lakehouse on Saturday 23rd of February, is free, but we do ask you to book your place through Facebook or YUSU. We are proud and excited to present well-established and interest academics who are experts in their fields. See you there!

Students can book their tickets on our facebook event:
Or directly on YUSU:

The International Development Society Committee

One Planet Week, 11-17 February 2019

It’s that time again! One Planet Week takes place 11 – 17 February 2019, and the theme this year is Sustainable Materials.


As part of the week’s celebrations, the Green Impact team here in the Department of Economics will be holding a herb plant sale on Wednesday 13th February at 11 am, in the reception area of our building.  The seedlings are planted in temporary pots made from newspaper, with labels made from milk bottles.   Do support this event if you can. All money raised from the sale will support York Toilet Twinning.

There are many fantastic events going on across campus, the following short list contains just a few highlights.  For more information, check out the UoY Sustainability webpages, or their Facebook and Twitter feeds: #OPW19

  • Discover more: about innovations in sustainable materials, Tuesday 12th February, 12 noon – 4:00 pm, Bowland Auditorium, Berrick Saul Building; or about sustainable architecture on Tuesday 12th February, 6:00 – 7:00 pm, Physics P/L/00.  On Thursday 14th February, 1:00 – 2:00 pm, you can find out how we can reduce our ocean plastic pollution (as shown in Blue Planet II), at the Ron Cooke Hub, RCH/037.
  • Catch a film: Watch an extraordinary documentary by Leonardo Dicaprio on climate change, Before the Flood, on Tuesday 12th February, 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in Environment, ENV/105x.  Or Learn more about the working conditions and environmental impacts of the clothes you buy at The True Cost screening on Thursday 14th February, 5:00 pm – 18:45 pm in the Spring Lane Building, SLB/118.
  • Shop sustainably: visit the Food Fair and Swap Shop in Constantine Forum on Tuesday 12th February, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm . While you are there, why not visit Scoop, a student led, not-for-profit cooperative selling healthy and ethical goods.  Or drop by the Ethical Clothes swap on Monday 11 February, 12:00 noon – 5:00 pm in the Norman Rea Gallery: donate clothes to get clothes back, or purchase clothes at £5 or less an item.
  • Take a sustainability quiz: how sustainable are your current habits?  Take the One Planet Week Quiz to find out.


Show us your mug competition!

Show Us Your Mug!The Department of Economics Green Impact Team are running a competition, open to all students and staff at the University. To enter, take a reusable mug to any cafe on campus, send us a photo of your hot drink, and you could win a prize.

The student prizes are:
Chilly’s water bottle
Mobile phone solar charger

We also have a staff prize:
Gardeners/allotment tool and tuck box

We have an additional prize, a selection of locally roasted coffee, for a photo of a Department of Economics reusable mug.


The deadline for entry is the end of Friday 15 June 2018. Send your photo to us at @uoyeconomical on Twitter or Instagram, #showusyourmug, or email

Winners will be announced on the Eco-nomical website and on twitter @uoyeconomical, on Monday 18 June 2018.

Why are we running this competition? Over 99% of all disposable coffee cups in the UK are not recycled, leading to about 2.5 billion coffee cups being thrown away every year. There has been discussion in parliament about the introduction of a ‘latte levy’, while major retailers have taken action in the last few months, by offering increased discounts, adding a surcharge on disposable cups or pledging to recycle coffee cups.

Walk Cycle Festival, 28 May – 3 June 2018

York Bike Belles are hosting the city’s second, week-long Walk Cycle Festival from Sunday 27 May – Sunday 3 June 2018.ilya-ilyukhin-122332-unsplash

The festival launches with a community party in Rowntree Park on Sunday 27 May from 11 am – 4 pm.  The schedule of events for the rest of the week include several guided cycle rides – for example, to hear the dawn chorus, to paint a mural, or to a social with a BBQ and live music.  Or if you’d prefer to walk rather than cycle, why not try the Parklife Walk with champagne picnic, or a Promenade with the Bard.

If your bicycle could use a tune up, throughout the week you can get a free bike check at Cycle Heaven at the Angel on Bishopthorpe Road, and a free hot drink from Angel on the Green. Free bike fixes and security marking are available at the community party on Sunday 27 May.

If you’d like to give cycling a go, York Bike Belles are holding their next Cake Confidence event on Saturday 26 May – offering chats, bike loans, and cycle confidence training.

For more details, including a schedule, visit the York Bike Belles website.


This fortnight, choose Fairtrade

“Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.” Anna Lappé

Monday 26 February – Sunday 11 March 2018 is Fairtrade Fortnight. Whether you regularly buy fairtrade or have never given it much thought, perhaps now is a good time to consider why you buy what you buy.

Fairtrade accreditation allows farmers to improve working conditions and plan for the future by requiring companies to pay sustainable prices that never fall lower than the market price. In order to be certified Fairtrade, suppliers must meet internationally set standards  – currently 1.6 million farmers and workers are involved in Fairtrade around the world.  The Fairtrade Foundation  was first established in 1992, and the UK has one of the largest Fairtrade markets – for example, in Britain we buy over 80% of the global Fairtrade tea supply.

As well as the economic and social benefits, less well-known are the environmental requirements of Fairtrade: all certified organisations are required to protect their local environment by managing agrochemicals, avoiding genetically modified organisms (GMOs), reducing soil erosion and maintaining soil fertility.

So what can you do to support Fairtrade?

Buy Fairtrade on campus

  • All University restaurants and cafes sell Fairtrade options, including YUSU cafes and bars.
  • The YUSU Shop on campus west and both branches of NISA sell Fairtrade goods, such as tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate.
  • You can also buy Fairtrade at Scoop, the student-run cooperative shop based in Wentworth (open Wednesdays and Fridays).
  • Grumpy Mule coffee is Fairtrade certified and is available at Vanbrugh on campus west and the Hub Cafe on campus east.
  • Starbuck’s Espresso Roast coffee is Fairtrade certified (Costa coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified).

Try Fairtrade cafes and shops in town

  • York is a Fairtrade city and there are lots of shops and cafes selling Fairtrade items.
  • Now might be a good time to stock up on supplies, as some shops in York are offering discounts during Fairtrade Fortnight.
  • Fairtrade is more than coffee and bananas!  Many shops in York sell other options, such as wine, home furnishings, clothing, flowers and jewellery.

Take part in Fairtrade Fortnight events

Make your purchase (vote) count!


  • If you agree that spending money is casting a vote for the world you want, now is the time to talk to the shops, restaurants and cafes you like.
  • If shops or cafes do not, or no longer support Fairtrade, why not ask them to think again?
  • If you’ve bought Fairtrade, say thank you! Fair Trade York recommend emails or letters, so that you have the most chance of being heard by the person making the purchasing decisions – download a template letter here.







One Planet Week, 11-17 February 2018

It’s One Planet Week 2018 from Sunday 11 to Friday 17 February and the theme this year is ‘Zero Waste’.  There are many events going on across campus, here are just a few highlights. For more information on all events, check out the UoY Sustainability’s Facebook event pages and twitter feed: #OPW18.

Economics swap shelves

As part of One Planet Week, we encourage you to check out the swap shelves in Economics reception, and to take / donate any unwanted small items (e.g. books, DVDs/CDs, unwanted Christmas gifts, clothes). Please feel free to have a browse and take items from the shelves – we would very much appreciate your donations too!

From Brown to Green Chemistry: Sustainability, Waste and the Circular Economy, Tuesday 13 February 2018, 6:30 pm, Ron Cooke Hub auditorium.

Dr Avtar Matharu will give a talk on how Chemistry can be misconstrued as polluting or wasteful, and how waste can be turned into a resource, developing circular economies.  Find out more and book your ticket.

Learn how to repair and up-cycle this week

A Clothes Clinic is being held on Monday 12th February, from 18:00 – 19:00 in The Warren, Vanburgh College.  Come along to learn how to fix up your old clothes and stay for the award winning documentary, The True Cost, about the impact of the fashion industry on the environment.

On Tuesday 13th February, why not try an up-cycling workshop at The Basement, Langwith, 18:30 – 20:30.  All materials are free and you can take items to craft with.

From green fingers to plant eaters, via edible bugs

Find out how to plant veg with the Alcuin Allotment Planting Event on Wednesday 14th February, 13:00 – 14:00, between Alcuin Blocks G and H.  This event is also hosted by Edible Uni.

Sign up to try a Plant Based Lunch on Tuesday 13th February, 12:00 – 14:00 in The Warren, Vanbrugh College, Or show off your baking prowess at The Vegan Bake Off, Tuesday 13th February, 18:30 – 20:00 in The Warren, Vanbrugh College.  (Please note, pre-booking is required for both events).

Take the opportunity to Eat Bugs! Try edible insects and learn about sustainable farming in the Biology Atrium on Thursday 16th, 10:00 – 12:00.  

Pledge to change

Visit the UoY Sustainability pages to make a pledge – find out what actions you can take to be more sustainable. 

Pledges will be counted at the end of the week, and entrants from the winning college and department will be entered into a prize draw.  You can two entries into a draw by  tweeting a picture of you completing one of your pledges with your name, college/department and the pledge you have completed, using the hashtag #OPW18, post your photo on the @UoYSustainability Facebook Events page or by emailing

Running all week: drinks promotion on reusable mugs, sustainability quizzes and more…

Save 40p on hot beverages by bringing your own reusable mug to coffee shops across campus. 

Follow @UoY Sustainability on twitter for sustainability quizzes, information on events and the latest on how colleges and departments are doing with the pledge counter.

York’s Zero Waste Challenge

The Sustainability team challenge you this week to try living without waste with their Zero Waste Challenge. Keep the waste you would ordinarily send to landfill across the week, and photograph it at the end of the week – or if you are feeling more adventurous, keep all your waste (including recyclable items).  It’s a great way for us to notice the volume of waste we produce, and become more mindful about our purchasing choices.

Charity lunchtime concert for York Toilet Twinning

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Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall

Tuesday 3 October 2017, 1:15 – 2:00 pm

The University of York Music Society presents the talented pianist and organist Joschka Althoff from Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt am Main, for a lunchtime fundraising concert.

Joschka will be playing music by  Johann Sebastian Bach, Vincent Lübeck, Frederick Chopin, Charles Marie Widor and Maurice Ravel.
Joschka and the UoY Music Society have kindly agreed for all the money raised to be donated to York Toilet Twinning, who aim to twin all toilets on campus to flush away poverty, one toilet at a time. Please join us and invite your friends, everyone is welcome!


Cycling in September

Nobody can really dispute the benefits of cycling, from increasing your fitness to reducing your carbon emissions – (check out all 15 points of that article). Just remember to wear a helmet, whatever economists may say...

September 2017 is going to be full of cycling news for York and there are a few things you may want to check out.

3rd September is the Festival of Cycling in Rowntree Park – 10am to 4pm. This is always a fun event, you don’t even need to ride there, just turn up and enjoy testing out loads of different bikes, watch the BMX stunt team, or take a helmet and jump the ramp into the airbag. North Yorkshire Police will be there too and you can get your bikes security marked for free, always a wise thing to do.

The Whole of September is Cycle September – which used to be called the National Cycle Challenge. This is an event that the staff and of the Department of Economics has always entered into the spirit of – check out our certificates in the reception area…

It is a massive competition that any workplace can enter to win some kudos and also some amazing prizes. Even if you can’t enter be sure to check out the leader-board and send encouragement to those taking part. Go Team Economics!


13th September is Cycle to Work Day – again lots of prizes to be won, habits to form, changes to be made – running for its 5th year this is a really good campaign to get people to see that advantages that cycling can have.

logoYork Bike Belles have a number of events running in September, social rides, walking book club, cake confidence – which all sound wonderful – check them out.

BHF LogoAnother even on the 3rd September is the Heart of York Bike Ride – a 22 or 40 mile cycle through the scenic moors and countryside of North Yorkshire to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation

Don’t forget there are lots of resources and sources of information about cycling and our campus – check out the web pages here

Seminar: Can biofuels be sustainable?

When? Monday 12 June 2017, 16:00 – 17:30
Where? ReCSS Training Room, YH/001b, University of York

We are delighted to welcome Professor Paul Walton (Department of Chemistry) to talk about second generation biofuels. Currently biofuel crops take up arable land, much of the plant is wasted, and it is debatable whether they really are environmentally sustainable. New research aims to convert whole plants into fuel by degrading biomass with enzymes.

This IDN seminar aims to bring together people from different disciplines to look at the ways new technologies can impact on development agendas. With the increasing requirements for energy and competing demands on land and the environment, the use of enzymes to degrade biomass offers significant opportunities. However, with potential impacts on subsistence farmers and local communities it is important to consider the many ways that these new technologies might be embraced and developed in genuinely sustainable ways.

This seminar will begin conversations to understand the contributions that different disciplines can offer to this multifaceted issue. Paul is an excellent speaker, who will make the chemistry accessible to a wide audience and open up collaborations to encourage interdisciplinary proposals regarding energy and sustainable development.

York Festival of Ideas: The Story of Our Planet

York Festival of Ideas 2017 will take place from 6th – 18th June.  One of the festival themes this year is ‘The Story of Our Planet’.  A number of free events are on offer:

Flying High: A Birding Triple Bill – Saturday 10th June, 10:00 am – 12:15 pm

Free admission to this family friendly event, including a poetry show and guided bird walk.  For more details and to book tickets, visit the Festival of Ideas website.

One Planet York: A Liveable City – Tuesday 13th June, Talk 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm, and Expo, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm

TOne Planet Yorkypically in the UK we use the resources of three planets when we only have one. One Planet York is a growing network of organisations working to build a thriving local economy, strong communities and a sustainable way of life; a city where residents are healthy, happy and prosperous.

In celebration of the 60th anniversary year of York’s twinning with Münster in Germany, Mayor Markus Lewe tells his city’s story as one of the world’s most liveable cities. The talk takes place from 12 noon to 2 pm.  For further information and tickets, visit the Festival of Ideas website.

Following the talk, One Planet York will hold an Expo, with examples of practical action and leadership from local organisations and businesses.  No pre-booking required – for further details, visit the Festival of Ideas website.

WasteBuster’s Fest – Saturday 17 June, 12:00 pm – 4 pm

St Nicks Environment Centre are holding a WasteBusters’ Fest on Saturday 17 June.  Find out what happens to your rubbish and more about the benefits of recycling.  You can also bring your bike along to the event for a check over by Dr Bike from Eyup Cycling, enjoy a Yourcafe lunch, take part in a swap shop, browse the reclaimed book shop, and be part of St Nick’s first Fix It Cafe.

No pre-booking required.  For details, visit the Festival of Ideas and St Nicks webpages.

Beginnings of Life: Campus wildlife tour – Saturday 17 June, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

Learn more about the wildlife on Campus East on this guided walk.  Booking is required through the Festival of Ideas website.

Where the Wild Things Were: How Cheap Meat Drives Extinction – Sunday 18th June 2017, 2:50 pm – 3:40 pm

Author Philip Lymberry, Chief Executive of international farm welfare organisation, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), and visiting Professor at the University of Winchester, will talk about the impact of consumer demand for cheap meat and the devastating effect this has on animals facing extinction.

Find out more and book a place at the Festival of Ideas website.