Zero Carbon Society News

Well - its been a busy term here at the Zero Carbon Society!

A stained glass panel in a window in the Wordsworth Room, St. John's reads: "Oh, sweet it is, in academic groves,To ruminate, with interchange of talk/ On rational liberty, and hope in man,/ Justice and peace." It is here that we have met every Wednesday lunchtime for our lecture and discussion group 'Food for Thought'. Every week, a number of people from diverse disciplines and stages of 'academic career' have been meeting to hear the talks, all given by PhD students, and then discuss the issues in more depth. I, for one, have learnt a huge amount.

food for thought

Denis Garber talked about geothermal systems for space heating and cooling (including a cool idea about using heat from the London Underground to heat the buildings above), Marta Olazabal about the psychology of transitions to climate change resilient cities (her PhD is based on Bilbao, Spain), Aiora Zabala about the psychology of rewards systems (her PhD focuses around research of behaviour in Mexican farmers and their adoption/non-adoption of these systems). Soren Linder talked about the carbon dioxide inventories, and explained why his research has shown that there is a gigatonne gap in China's Carbon Dioxide Inventories, whilst Michael Tai elaborated on the relationship between the US and China, and whether they can build trust to establish institutions, with respect to climate change. Uven Chong talked to us about issues with road transportation: air quality and climate tradeoffs, and Jon Coello and David Turner kindly came from the University of Southampton to tell us about their research into carbon footprinting, which deals with 'measuring the invisible' carbon costs hidden in supply chains. Finally, Emma Cross explained to us the effects of ocean acidification on marine organisms, and the wider implications of this for our world, and brought some brachiopods like the ones she is studying in order to find out more about how their shells react to varying PH levels, which was great to help visualise the processes.

The discussion and Q&A session after these talks have all been fantastic. I personally feel that we have benefitted hugely from having such a wide variety of disciplines around the same table, as we have been able to consider what the talks raised more deeply and personally than if we had just left straight after. It has also been great for people like me who can clarify things like, does ocean acidification also cause coral bleaching or is that something else (that one's actually due to the rising temperatures)

food for thought

We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has spoken at Food for Thought this term, and we hope that everyone that has attended has enjoyed it as much as we have and found it as informative as we have! For anyone who missed out this time round - all of the powerpoints will be going on our website shortly, and next term's series is already in it's consolidation-planning stages.

Aside from Food for Thought, we have of course been working hard to bring you GreenZine! We had the idea over the summer, and then thought it would be better as a magazine for all of the 'green' groups, not just Zero Carbon. So we talked to the other groups to work out what they would want out of it, and what they thought of the idea, and then we worked out the rest from there!

Finally, we have been working on trying to collate information about green internships (the where, how, who, etc), in order to try and make it easier for people to procure them. Hopefully we will be able to contribute something valuable next term when people start thinking about summer internships! Last summer, a group of students went on the Cambridge Summer Programme in International Energy Policy and Climate Change Risk Assessment through the Zero Carbon Society - you can see an interview with one of these students here.

In terms of next term, we're casting our net around for new projects...any ideas, anyone??

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