Thursday, 7 October 2010

The Sustainability Train at full steam.

It has been a little while since I last posted here on the Green Greenwich Blog, largely due to the non-stop nature of everything going on here! It barely feels like we have had a moment to catch a breath here at the University and it looks like it is going to be that way for foreseeable future.

Where's Kat hiding?

The Sustainability Team is somewhat reduced at the moment with our Captain Kat Thorne exploring the rainforests in far and distant lands but John and the Gnome have been hard at work in her absence. Most notably on the Higher Education Carbon Management Plan where we have joined forces with the Head of Estates and the Building Services Manager to keep the University chugging along in getting the plan ready for early next year. Expect to see numerous projects appearing spread across all the departments of the University all with measures in place for cutting our carbon emissions and working towards the targets set out by HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England) and the Climate Change Act 2008.

Last week Sustainability and Marketing were knocking their heads together to work towards an exciting campaign to promote everything ‘sustainability’ at the University with conversation moving from the website, to fridge magnets, to computer games, staff and student engagement and potential competitions for our students to get involved with. Speaking of students getting involved we have found a space on the brand new shiny Biodiversity Group for one lucky student who lives at Avery Hill to assist with the direction we want to take our biodiversity projects. I’m hoping that this is going to lead to new era of environmental understanding and diversity on the Campus here at Avery Hill and there already seems to be interest for restoring the dingle, reinvigorating the part of the River Shuttle that runs through the campus, creating a wildflower meadow, building an allotment and planting fruiting trees.

On the subject of fruit I am delighted to announce that I have been reaping the benefits of being based here at Avery Hill and have spent at least two lunchtimes wandering around picking the delights the campus has to offer. On the menu last Thursday was a dish I have never tried cooking before – Quince Crumble. It’s delicious but a very different ingredient to any that I have used before. The quince has an incredibly sharp taste which you must compliment with buckets of sugar and cooking for long lengths of time, once this is done however you have an unforgettable flavour which reminds me of the taste of the Toxic Waste sweets! Not a great name for a sweet but they are delicious if you like that sort of thing.

Quince Crumble (Mine wasn't quite as beautiful!)

If you want to give the Quince Crumble a try here’s the recipe I followed. The next quince dish I will try will be Quince Membrillo, which the Spanish like to eat with cheese.

Tonight I will be attempting something a little bit different with another fruit I have found on the Avery Hill Campus. Tonight is Sloe Gin Night! I have picked roughly 50 sloe berries which have been placed in the freezer (Sloes you traditionally pick after the first frost but I am inpatient so I’m creating a fake frost by putting them in the freezer) they will be removed this evening, will go through the torment of being meticulously pricked with a needle and then placed into a big bottle of cheap gin. No need to go for an expensive gin here, the sloes will overpower the flavour anyway. Add a little sugar and then place in a dark cupboard until Christmas. Christmas Day, get the gin out and serve to all your friends and family. Boxing Day, stay in bed!

Sloes, Sugar and Gin - A recipe for success!

In other news I have been working hard on the preparations for the launch of our Sustainability Champions Network which is looking like it will be on the 9th of November. To go hand in hand with this we will also be launching our Green Impact workbook so our Champions will have a great project to get going with right from the onset. Next week we have the first meeting of the aforementioned Biodiversity Group, a visit from Joanna Romanowicz from the NUS, LUEG meetings, the GET Opportunities Recruitment Fair and a whole load of other goings on. Looks like it’s full steam ahead for little while longer then.

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