New degree aims to train future climate disruptors

time:2023-06-03 03:04:33source:BBC News (British Broadcasting Corporation) author:Press center 1

Climate disruptors of the future will be trained by a new degree course, a college has said.

Black Mountains College in Talgarth, Powys, has launched a BA in sustainable futures.

It teamed up with Cardiff Metropolitan University, the Brecon Beacons National Park and industry partners.

The college also claimed it was the world's first dedicated entirely to climate action, responding to "the climate and ecological emergency".

The course will be partly classroom based, but will include placements in industry and teaching outdoors on the college's farm campus.

It also incorporates the natural landscape, the senses and the arts - students are encouraged to immerse themselves in nature - feeling, listening, even tasting the world around them.The idea is to reinforce the knowledge they learn and forge a deep connection with the world around them.

CEO Ben Rawlance said the college was founded on the ethos that climate change is not only a scientific problem, but "a problem of human behaviour, of values, of systems, of politics and economics".

Jodie Bond from Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said: "The nature and climate emergencies are hugely important.

"We can't face these big challenges we have as a society on our own, we have to work together."

Mr Rawlance said the world of work was already changing, with corporations employing sustainability and climate officers, and this course was about "giving students the tools to imagine a different future".

"These young people are going to be highly valued by industry because they're going to have that holistic world view," he added.

"They're going to understand how change happens and be schooled in theories of organisational change."

Those skills include critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and compassion.

One of the industry partners is consultancy firm Accenture, which employs 750,000 people worldwide.

Chief responsibility officer Peter Lacy said there was "insatiable" demand for expertise in the fields of sustainability and systems change.

"[Demand] is going to increase exponentially for the kind of disruptors that can bring new thinking, new solutions to problems."

Alison Stunt is studying horticulture at the college and said the approach was not purely intellectual: "It's not academic in that way, it's not learning from books.

"It's learning from being out there in nature and experiencing things with our whole bodies, rather than just reading about it and knowing it in an intellectual way."

Mr Rawlance admitted it was really difficult for people "who were educated in these very strict degree programmes to get our heads around" but was "obvious to young people coming up now".

"So, this is not only urgent and necessary but it's responding to the market. This is what the kids want."

Black Mountains College has received more than £500,000 in lottery funding and is in the process of securing £1.5m of social investment to fund the launch of the course.

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