A week in the life of MSc Sustainability Transitions students

What a week for our MSc Sustainability Transitions students! While the students have already started working on their individual projects/dissertations, the programme continues to be filled with various additional learning opportunities for the future sustainability leaders.

 

On Monday the MSc Sustainability Transitions cohort attended the General Meeting of the Aberdeen City Council. The visit to the Council was part of the course ‘Governance and Political Economy of Sustainability’. The students had a chance to observe the meeting of the Council and see how political decisions are made at the local level, for instance the road of Aberdeen City towards NetZero. The students were warmly welcomed by the Lord Provost – Councillor Barney Crockett.

"Understanding how the Council meets, works and decides on important civic issues has helped me appreciate the importance of what information is available to the public. It makes the working of the Council body more transparent and accountable.", said MSc Sustainability Transitions student Shreelata Krishnan.

Two days later, the students attended a lecture by Professor Pete Smith on the role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in addressing the various sustainability challenges. Professor Pete Smith is a distinguished scientist who was a co-author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007.

MSc Sustainability Transitions student Rachel Roberts observed: "Having the opportunity to discuss pressing issues facing sustainability today with a renowned climate scientist like Pete Smith was invaluable and he gave us real-world context for how climate change policy is developed and implemented across levels of society.”

"UN bodies like IPCC always felt like this untouchable, overarching body, but knowing Pete is a part of it and has contributed and is a Nobel Prize Winner really grounded them greatly in a good way.", remarked MSc student Thomas S. Johnstone.

MSc Sustainability transitions student Deborah Oduro noted: "The lecture with Pete was an interesting one, discussions iterated how both developed and developing countries have different priorities in the fight against climate change based on the resources and options available in these regions."

After a week filled with engaging activities, Programme Director MSc Sustainability Transitions Dr Piotr Niewiadomski stated: “I’m delighted to be able to organise so many extra activities for the MSc ST students and see how enthusiastically they engage in meetings and debates. Their commitment and hunger for knowledge allow me to be certain that we are training an excellent group of future sustainability leaders and our ‘sustainable future’ is likely to be in good and capable hands.”

The students appreciate the effort:

"Personally, as a politics graduate now studying sustainability, thinking about the specific governance mechanisms for generating change at local, national, and international levels will continue to be engaging for me. Thanks to Piotr for organizing these two great events for us!" (Adam Kench)

"Where I come from we have low opportunities, I really feel privileged to be able to listen and learn from people with such knowledge and experience. I sometimes can't even believe that I am living this experience." (Arely M.N. Vega)

Read more about the Master in Sustainability Transitions offered at the University of Aberdeen here

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