Green Week at Morley
Following the blistering heatwaves of last summer, the warmest winter on record and ringing in the new year with news of Australian Bushfires and major flooding in the UK, we can definitely agree: climate change has got real.
From 2- 6 March, Morley College London celebrated Green Week at the Waterloo Centre, a brand new initiative to raise awareness around the issues of sustainability, the environment and the climate emergency. With a series of lunchtime and evening events including screenings, swap shops, exhibitions, workshops and a very special Penny Lecture, members of the Morley community were able to learn more about the climate emergency and practical tips on how to make our lifestyles more sustainable.
Dr Bike joined us at the beginning of the week to provide free bike maintenance to staff and students, ensuring safe, low-emission transport in the city. Film screenings of The True Cost, a film by Andrew Morgan about the human and environmental costs of the clothing industry, Polly Higgins’ Tedx Talk, ‘Ecocide’, and ‘Do the Math’ by Kelly Nyks and Jared P. Scott, provided educational entertainment. And book and clothing swaps let people find something new while recycling resources.
Our School of Visual and Digital Arts ran a series of ecologically-minded workshops. The Textiles department’s mending workshop gave participants the opportunity to learn how to darn or patch a hole, sew back on buttons, repair a seam by hand, and even use embroidery to turn repairs into beautiful features, while our Printmaking department enabled students to start printing their own climate-focused t-shirts. A drawing workshop taught students to sketch using inks made from plant matter and bio-waste, and tours of the Waterloo Centre garden taught students about the history of plant dyes for textiles and fashion.
Green Week concluded with a much-anticipated Penny Lecture from Sara Arnold, founder of fashion rental service Higher Studio, and representative of climate change movement Extinction Rebellion. Sara gave a lecture entitled ‘Boycott Fashion: Heading for Extinction’ to a packed audience in the Emma Cons Hall at the Waterloo Centre.
‘This talk will be scary in parts,’ she began, ‘but I’m hoping you’ll leave feeling informed and empowered.’ The talk began with a look at the ecological crisis, with sobering statistics on our carbon emissions and the time we have to prevent the potentially catastrophic effects of climate change, before moving on to the practical steps we can take to enact change.
Sara introduced the audience to the Boycott Fashion Pledge, a commitment to purchase no new clothing or textiles for one year. With textile production producing an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of co2 per year, more than international flights and maritime shipping combined, a pledge to close the loop on the fashion industry by committing to only purchase second hand items, and repair and upcycle things we already own, will make a huge difference. Events such as the ‘swishing’ clothes swap that took place on Tuesday 3 March at Morley can ensure the thrill of the new while contributing to a more circular economy.
The Penny Lectures date back to the earliest history of Morley College with founder Emma Cons hosting weekly lectures at the Old Vic Theatre, with the aim of offering educational entertainment at affordable prices for the community. The lectures would play host to eminent speakers of the day and address the public on a wide range of topics, including London air quality and women’s rights- all for just one penny! Find out about our upcoming Penny Lectures here.