UAL Student Voices: Solutions

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As COP21 talks draw to a close and we wait to see a new global agreement on climate change, it seems the perfect time to visit the last in a series of four podcasts exploring the voices and opinions of the UAL student body. Introducing Podcast #4: Solutions.

In this final chapter we hear a range of thoughts from students on the possible solutions to climate change. What is needed from government? What responsibility do education institutes have? What is the role of design in all of this? What can we do as individuals? From the voices captured in this podcast, three clear themes emerge: the need for regulation; the opportunity for design; and the importance of education.

1) The need for regulation

On the eve of COP21 we took to the streets to be part of one of the largest climate change events history has ever seen – the global people’s Climate March. Along with 50, 000 people in London, 60, 000 in Melbourne, 25, 000 in Ottawa, and many more from thousands of other cities across the world, we marched for the future of our planet and for those already at risk from climate change. We called for our governments to act, to make the necessary decisions on climate, pollution, inequality, resources and refugees. Together we demanded a shift to renewable energy and a new global agreement that respects what science is telling us. It is clear as we wait for the negotiations to finish that the role of government is crucial, and it doesn’t stop at Paris.

2) The opportunity for design

As one of the students on podcast #4 points out, between 80 – 90% of the environmental impact of a product is decided at the design stage. It is through the design phase we make important decisions regarding materials, processing, and how the product will be used through out its life. In the words of Van der Ryn and Cowan “our environmental crisis is a design crisis”, it is through design we use materials, energy and land to shape nature and the world around us. But with this realisation comes a responsibility and opportunity to take design actions that listens and responds to the needs of our natural, industrial and cultural systems.

3) The importance of education

There is a reason ‘inclusive education for all’ forms goal four of the seventeen 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, it is key to and real and meaningful change. It is important not just in raising political awareness that pushes regulation, but education and awareness building is crucial to minimisiming impacts, reducing vulnerability and adapting to a changing world where needed. It is true that education on climate change, for sustainability is needed at all levels, but as a university we are a powerful social resource and a catalyst for change. We are in a position to create cultures of resourcefulness and resilience, to share skills and knowledge with a generation of students that have the means to face global challenges and advocate new ways of being within wider society.

Please listen to PODCAST #4 here and we’d love to hear any feedback you have, please tweet or leave us a message on Facebook using the hashtags #csfCOP21 or #UALstudentvoices.


Huge thanks to Producer Alix Hayhurst and Maggie Norden from the School of Media and Communication at LCF who worked closely on this project with CSF. Listen to Podcast #1 Who Cares.