A Uni degree will train people who will break out in the future

Alison Stunt

Student Alison Stunt says the college approach is about experiencing nature, not just reading about it

A firm involved in the scheme has said it will train future climate changers with a new degree course.

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

It has teamed up with Cardiff City University, the National Bee Park and industry partners.

The college claims that this course is the first in the world dedicated entirely to climate action and that it was a response “to the climate and ecological emergency”.

The course will be partly classroom based, but will include industry placements and outdoor teaching 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, hearing, even tasting the world around them. The idea is to reinforce the knowledge they learn and create a deep connection with the world. around them.

Chief Executive Ben Rawlance said the college was founded on the ethos that climate change is not just a scientific problem, but “a problem of human behaviour, values, systems, politics and economics”.

Jodie Bond from Trout National Park Authority said: “The natural and climate emergencies are extremely important.

“We cannot face these great challenges we have as a society alone, we must work together.”

Jodie Bond

Jodie Bond has welcomed the “natural” partnership between the British national park and the new degree course

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

“Industrials will really appreciate these young people because they will have that holistic global view,” he said.

“They will understand how change happens and be schooled in the theories of organizational change.”

These skills include critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration and empathy.

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

Chief executive officer Peter Lacy said there was an “inexplicable” demand for expertise in the areas of sustainability and systems change.

“[Demand] growing exponentially for the kind of disruption that can bring new thinking and new solutions to problems.”

View of the Black Mountains

Students will spend part of their course learning about nature

Alison Stunt is studying horticulture at 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 being informed in an intellectual way.”

Mr Rawlance admitted that it was very difficult for people “educated in these very rigorous degree programs to get our heads around” but that it was “clear for young people coming up now”.

“So not only is this urgent and necessary but it’s responding to the market. This is what the kids want.”

Black Mountain College has received over £500,000 of lottery funding and is receiving £1.5m of social investment to fund the launch of the course.

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