Setting the wheels in motion for a sustainable future

June 29, 2023

By Nicolas Nino-Ramirez, Sustainable Development and Social Enterprise Lead at Camphill School Aberdeen

Camphill School Aberdeen has been at the forefront of sustainable practices for more than 80 years, and we are committed to reducing our carbon footprint through a number of initiatives.

In 2021, our Sustainability Action Group was formed to tackle climate change, striving for a zero-waste/circular economy culture.

I head the group, and its main aim is for Camphill School Aberdeen to journey to net-zero by 2047, through careful planning and by regularly implementing new measures across our three campuses to ensure we are doing everything we can to live a carbon-negative life.

We are keen supporters of active travel, and one part of the operational plan is to increase our bike hire scheme by 50% by 2025 for young people, staff and volunteers, to save13.4tCO2 pa.

To get staff involved, we have formed a cycling group; this not only promotes health and well-being but also backs plans for the decarbonisation strategy with data gathered helping greatly with our journey towards net zero.

The initiative aims to give staff and volunteers access to quality bicycles, including electric bikes and commuting bikes. Its main aim is to change their behaviour when it comes to commuting, encouraging people to favour cycling across the estates here, rather than taking their car.

To encourage this, new cycle paths and parking areas have been created at Camphill, along with better changing facilities.

To give staff confidence to get on their bikes, CSA is now in the position to provide them with courses from the government’s national cycle training programme, Bikeability, as we have recently been qualified as cycling trainers.

Not only does this give them the skills needed to ride their bike, but it also gives them the confidence to cycle out with the estates on the open road, and also allows them to teach the students here at Camphill School Aberdeen.

For the young adults here at Camphill, it means they can help with FRUVER, soon to be Murtle Market, deliveries around the estate by bike; and more recently some students cycled to Milltimber Primary School to deliver planters.

Our commitment has seen us gain the Cycling Friendly Employer Award by Cycling Scotland, and we are also part of the Aberdeen Cycle Forum, a hub for active travel representing cyclists in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, recognised by organisations as diverse as the Scottish Parliament, city councils and the police.

We also run an onsite bike repair workshop where our students repair old bikes, donated or brought for repair by other organisations, including Police Scotland.

Once reconditioned they are sent to other charities such as Stella’s Voice where they are shipped to orphans in Moldova to help them get to school or social clubs as well as helping refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. Not only are our students helping other young people, but they are also learning lifelong skills.

Everyone has a meaningful part to play to protect our planet and create a more resilient future for us all, and we hope that the steps taken here at Camphill School Aberdeen make a big impact in the future.

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