How Can We Spread ‘Carbon Literacy’ in Sheffield’s universities and beyond?

An introduction to Manchester’s Carbon Literacy Project, followed by a public discussion about the way forward in Sheffield.

Open to all and taking place on Thursday 17th October at 7.30pm at  Lecture Theatre 5,   Diamond Building, University of Sheffield,  32 Levygreave Road,  Sheffield S3 7RD. To book your place, find the link to the  Eventbrite page here

Our lead speaker is Rachel Dunk, Principal Lecturer in Environmental Management and Sustainable Development at Manchester Metropolitan University. Since 2013, she has been working with colleagues to deliver ‘Carbon Literacy’ training, and to train trainers, across Manchester Metropolitan University and Manchester City Council. She will share with us their progress so far and then discussion will be opened up to the panel and the floor. We are pleased to have a panel representing the city’s leading education institutions, and the City Council itself, which declared a climate emergency in February of this year.


  • Cllr Mark Jones, Cabinet Member for Environment, Streetscene and Climate Change, Sheffield City Council.
  • Dr Rachael Rothman, Associate Director of the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures and Academic Lead for Sustainability, University of Sheffield.
  • Mark Swales, Chief Estates and Facilities Officer, Sheffield Hallam University.

The rationale for this event:

Sheffield City Council has now declared a climate emergency, and both universities have committed themselves to sustainability strategies. The challenge now is for them to work together, alongside others in the city, to implement an action plan that will effectively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by the target date. Achieving this complex task will require widespread public support and action. But politicians concerned about climate change say that voters rarely ask them to prioritise it. And even when people say they are concerned about climate change, there is no guarantee they will change their behaviour!

A number of approaches to citizen engagement and education are being trialled across the world. The Carbon Literacy Project in Manchester is a pioneering project focused on education. Its ambition is to provide one day of climate change awareness training for every citizen. Rather than be too prescriptive, it proposes a standard informational content that can be delivered in myriad ways, adapted to the context and needs of the organisation, industry or community. Further information can be found here

This event has been organised by the Climate Communications Hub, a working group of the Carbon Neutral University Network, in partnership with Sheffield Climate Alliance. Our basic aim is to get people talking about the climate crisis and how to resolve it. We think that many of those conversations can be informal but, to achieve widespread change, more formal education may also be necessary. Ultimately, we believe that systemic change is needed to bring about new norms and that Higher and Further Education institutions will play a key role in enabling that transformation, as well as businesses, schools, faith groups, etc. More about our approach can be found in our Zero Carbon University guide which can be downloaded free through the link here. You can also find more about the Climate Communications Hub here.