Quaestor Derek Watson and Sir Ian Boyd in conversation
Professor Sir Ian Boyd and Quaestor Derek Watson kicked-off the University’s Green Week 2020. In Covid, the Environment and building back to better, Boyd and Watson discussed the effects of the pandemic, the University’s new Environmental Strategy, and the wellbeing of both planet and people.
Healthy planet, healthy people is the theme of the first day of Green Week 2020. Lea Weimann, Environment Officer of the Student Association’s Environment Subcommittee, moderated the conversation and opened by asking Boyd and Watson about their experiences of the pandemic. In a mix of personal and professional, Watson brought up the benefits of hearing the waves and the birds sing in the absence of cars on the roads. However, while efficiency has remained through Teams, the personal touch has disappeared. The University is working hard on supporting staff and student wellbeing during the pandemic.
“The coronavirus is a reminder how we care for the planet.” – Professor Sir Ian Boyd
When asked how the pandemic is related to environmental challenges, Boyd emphasised the human’s impact on the planet. Contact between animals and humans are increasing when forests are being cut down and air and water are polluted. Changing our habits are key to the health of the planet and us. Where biodiversity thrives, human wellbeing increases.
“We are a globally leading University; we need to be there leading the way” – Quaestor Derek Watson
Research, teaching, and engagement are the University’s contributions to a healthier future. Quaestor Watson highlighted the significant position of the University of St Andrews; our research affects on a global scale, our students come from all over the world and are the innovators of our future, and we engage through bridging academia with industry through projects such as Eden Campus.
“We need to reframe infrastructure from concrete and bricks to trees and green space” – Professor Sir Ian Boyd
Lastly, Boyd and Watson discussed the University’s new Environment Strategy. To accelerate the work towards a carbon net-zero University by 2035, students, staff and academics are invited to comment the first draft of the Environment Strategy. The strategy covers research, wellbeing, the living world – all relating to a healthy future for the planet and people.
For more events hosted this week, visit the Green Week’s facebook page.