The Earth Systems Association (ESA) executive board has published a proposal with the goal of instigating a change and leading to a greener future for the University of Malta students. This proposal guides student organisations on how best to promote sustainability during their events and meetings, to minimise the harm to the environment that such events may incur. This partly includes the necessary guidance on how to introduce the role of a ‘Sustainability Officer’ into the executive board of student organisations. In fact, ESA was the first student organisation to introduce this role into their executive board.
Firstly, what is sustainability? This can be defined as simply meeting the demands of today without jeopardizing the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This involves preserving natural habitats, protecting biodiversity and reaching an ecological balance between ourselves and the environment. The issue of sustainability has been with us since civilisations began to exploit the resources provided by our environment, and was formally recognised in the 1900’s, where the harm and damage to the environment became evident. This especially became an issue by the mid- to late 1900’s, following the technological revolution, which led to several organisations starting to push for a more sustainable and conservative approach.
The sustainability officer has a number of duties, all with the aim of pushing the student organisation into a more sustainable way of functioning. The chief role is the education of the other individuals within the executive board and members of the organisation, regarding integrating sustainable practices into everyday life. Moreover, encouraging change within the organisation is one of the priorities of such officers, done via research on alternative products, ways to reduce the carbon footprint and waste production. Finally, with regards to waste generation the sustainability officer must take this into consideration when events are planned and how best to reduce waste, such as through recycling and reuse.
You may read the full proposal here.