What I learnt from the SGO


What I learnt from the SGO

At the time of writing, I am one week away from finishing my contract with the SGO. Working with the Student Green Office has been one of the defining experiences of my year, and throughout the strange times that social distancing and lockdowns have led to, the SGO has given me structure, tasks to complete and things to learn about.

I have been lucky enough that being part of the SGO has meant creating and engaging in sustainability in a way that fits my personality and my interests, and I am incredibly grateful for the experience that my time with the SGO has given me. Overall, though, this experience has taught me so much about sustainability; here are my key takeaways:

  1. Sustainability is more complicated than you think

Before I joined the SGO, I was unsure how much I could do to make an environmental impact. Things like water usage and meat consumption weighed hard on my mind, but I hadn’t even considered government policy, or how the people I voted for would have a huge impact upon our government’s environmental footprint, as well as how our government aids other countries on their journey to sustainability.

Image description: a glass door with various signs including a ‘Polling Station’ sign up in the window, in Shropshire.
  • You can make a difference

We can often feel helpless of like our actions don’t make a difference, but as I’ve come to discover, our actions can make a huge impact on ourselves and the planet around us. The way we vote, eat, shower and clean are just a few examples of ways we can change the world around us. By educating our peers and uniting as a community, we can further our impact by promoting engagement and understanding.

  • It’s not all on us

Another point about how complicated sustainability is. As we’ve talked about previously, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions.  We have a responsibility to ensure governments hold these companies accountable, and the ways we engage with these companies also has a key effect on their carbon emissions, but assuming we are entirely responsible for the world around us is an oversimplification at best.

Image description: a NASA photograph of the Gulf of Mexico lit up by electric lights visible from space.

These were just a few of the key lessons I learnt working with the SGO, things that have helped me reflect on my own sustainability, but the past year has been a journey that has taught me so much. I have learnt about the Sustainable Development Goals, what it means to be in charge of your own project, how to promote engagement and educate, and much much more. My time as an SGO officer has been exciting and brilliant, and something I will keep with me for years to come.

If you are interested in taking part with the Sustainable Green Office, I can’t recommend it enough.

by Dan Johnson, SGO Project Officer #actingtogether

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