‘This is the fifth time we have come together to talk about actions for sustainable development and to consider what we can do to improve our lives and halt unfavourable changes. The University of Gdańsk’s Sustainable Development Day aims to promote such actions and is held under the slogan “Stop Emissions! Take Care of the Climate!”’ – this is how the Sustainable Development Day participants at the University of Gdańsk were welcomed by the Director of the Doctoral School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Gdańsk, dr hab. Barbara Pawłowska, prof. UG.

Photos: Alan Stocki/UG

Sustainable Development Day at UG was held this year under the slogan ‘Stop Emissions! Take Care of the Climate!’. The premise of this cyclical event is to promote the idea and support the implementation of sustainable development goals by initiating projects that promote applying these principles in all areas of social life and economic activity. The event has a pan-European scope and aims to include the University of Gdańsk in the European network of activities to promote sustainable development within the framework of the European Sustainability Week.

‘That climate change is our common cause is probably beyond doubt. An auditorium full of young people this Friday morning testifies to that. Young people are the most important thing to us because it is you who will shape your future. We will support you in living in conditions that will be most suitable for you so that you can function in the world you care about,’ with these words, the meeting was opened by the Vice-Rector for Cooperation and Development, dr hab. Sylwia Mrozowska, prof. UG‘Thank you for making this topic so popular for the fifth time and for the fact that young people always have very interesting ideas and comments, always actively participate in workshops and are able to respond critically to our activities,’ she added.

‘I welcome you today to the university of sustainable development because that is what we are currently. I think that if universities were created now, many of them would be called using this term because sustainability is a big umbrella under which a lot of the disciplines we deal with at the University of Gdańsk in many of our faculties fall,’ the participants were welcomed by the Dean of the Faculty of Economics, dr hab. Monika Bąk, prof. UG‘You may wonder why the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Economics cooperate so closely. Although we are separated by 5 kilometres, we have a lot in common – sustainable development, which will be discussed today. Today, we are going to talk mainly about environmental issues. Still, sustainability is also about social and economic matters, and we have been dealing with this on a daily basis for many years. I look forward to today’s venture and our cooperation and wish you a fruitful day full of debates, discussions and inspiration.’

Dean of the Faculty of Chemistry, dr hab. Beata Grobelna, prof. UG prepared a surprise for the young people – a song recorded by students from the Chemical Business Scientific Circle.

The programme of the event was divided into two blocks. In the first part, lectures were held: ‘Food and food security for sustainability’, ‘How do you put the sun in an electric socket?’, ‘How is green energy changing the world of transport?’ and ‘What can we do about these emissions together?’. Participants in the lectures were introduced to concepts such as frugality, upcycling, zero waste and freeganism. They also heard about innovations in transport: hydrogen-powered trains, biomethanol-powered ships, or electric hybrids, which will be used in aviation in the near future.

In the second part of the event, the young people took part in workshops prepared by students and employees of the University of Gdańsk, including: ‘ABC of Green Economics, or On the Road to Emission-Free Living’ led by the Scientific Circle of International Finance and the Start-UP Entrepreneurship Scientific Circle, or ‘Building a carbon dioxide detector based on the Arduino platform’, which was prepared by dr hab. Artur Giełdoń, prof. UG (Faculty of Chemistry). Participants could also spin the wheel of fortune and face questions about emission reduction. For those who prefer outdoor activities to academic walls, an on-campus field game, ‘Experts in Reducing Emissions’ was prepared.

This year’s Sustainable Development Day was accompanied by exhibitions: ‘Fair Trade Principles’ prepared by Polish fair trade associations and the educational one ‘Pomerania in the era of ANTROPOCENE – how emissions affect the region’s environment’ by dr Dawid Weisbrodt.

The event was held under the patronage of the Rector of the University of Gdańsk, prof. dr hab. Piotr Stepnowski, and the Deans of the Faculty of Chemistry and the Faculty of Economics, prof. Beata Grobelna and prof. Monika Bąk. This year’s Sustainable Development Day was organised by the Faculty of Chemistry, the Faculty of Economics and the Centre for Sustainable Development of the University of Gdańsk as part of the project ‘We zero emissions – knowledge transfer (from) the University of Gdańsk’ subsidised by the Provincial Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Gdańsk from the Regional Environmental Education Support Programme.

Julia Bereszczyńska/Zespół Prasowy