The student-led TEDx Countdown event was presented by Westminster’s Environmental Society in collaboration with the Students’ Union to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis.

University of Westminster TEDx Countdown promotional poster

The event marked the launch of the global call to change how we tackle the climate crisis and promoting action towards sustainable efforts. The event welcomed three successful female speakers from the built environment and sustainability industries, including Principal Lecturer in Architecture and Environmental Design Dr Rosa Schiano-Phan, Architectural Designer Jan Balbaligo and Portuguese Architect Mafalda Fernandes.

In their talks, the speakers covered a range of topics from the impact of reducing green house gas emissions in buildings, bamboo building in modern architecture and the opportunities and choices of an alternative way to travel during the environmental crisis.
The event also included some discussions in smaller groups to help promote conversations around sustainable action, where attendees gave suggestions such as reducing meat intake and food waste, unplugging chargers when your battery is full and buying second hand items to reduce our fast fashion intake.

Organiser of the event and Environmental Society President Grace Lancto applied for a license to host a TEDx event on behalf of the University in support of the global initiative Countdown to champion solutions to the climate crisis and help turn ideas into action. TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to ideas worth spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 30 years ago, TED has grown to support its mission with multiple initiatives. 

Talking about the event, attendee Iga Sokol said: “The TEDx event was an opportunity to listen to passionate individuals from a variety of different fields. Personally, I found it very eye opening to listen to each talk and see how personal engagement and action can lead us towards a more sustainable future. Not only did the speakers share their stories, but also the energy and attitude that has helped them along the way as they continue to be involved in different environmental issues.”

Rosa Schiano-Phan, Speaker at the event and Principal Lecturer in Architecture and Environmental Design, said: “I was delighted to be asked to support the Westminster Environmental Society by creating an original TEDx talk for their Countdown local event. It fills me with pride and hope that our younger students are taking charge and initiative to mobilise public opinion around the topic of climate change and it is very important to foster a sense of possibility and proactivity around the changes that we can make personally and collectively to improve our global and local environment.”

Organiser of the event Grace Lancto added: “Our job as members of this society is to imagine a better, more sustainable future and to make conscious efforts towards creating an effective transition to this future. 

“This was the focus of the TEDx event in support of the Global Countdown Initiative. I want to establish a theme of conscious societal efforts and I want to promote an everyday mindset that excites people about making a difference and makes every individual feel capable of doing their own part. I want to shed light on innovative, driven minds that see the potential in this ‘better future’ and show the parts of our local community that already promote this positive societal structure.” 

The Environmental Society have teamed up with TEDx to created the Count Us In website, where members of the Westminster community can pledge to take sustainable action and reduce their carbon footprint.

Find out more about the Count Us In initiative

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