Festival of Debate 2022

Free sustainability webinars

Join our free sustainability webinars. Put on by the Grantham Scholars every year, they cover cutting edge sustainability issues, including agriculture, construction, water and transport.

Every year the Grantham Scholars put on a series of free sustainability with Festival of Debate (the largest annual politics festival in the UK).

Here you can find out about each event and links to get your free tickets for our 2023 events.

Keep reading to find links to videos of previous events.

Festival of Debate 2023: Cities, farming, water and greenspaces

For 2023 the Grantham Scholars have created a series of online events with Festival of Debate.

Future agricultural technologies – Technology, tradition, and the farming future

May 2, 13:00 – 14:30 BST. Online. Get your free tickets.

Future agricultural technologies - Technology, tradition, and the farming future picture for Festival of Debate event. The image is a close up of grain, probably wheat, growing in a field.

A discussion from different viewpoints and knowledge levels about what needs to change in our current way of working with the land.

We aim to challenge misconceptions and broaden our horizons. Our focus will be how advancements in science and technology can contribute to the shape of modern global agriculture and integrate with traditional farming approaches.

Organised by: Gareth Owen, Anajoyce Katabalwa, Ghada Sasi, Sophia van Mourik, Charlotte Curry, Toby Evans.

Urban densification: Is this the future for our cities?

May 10, 11:30 – 13:00 BST. Online. Get your free tickets

Urban densification: Is this the future for our cities? Picture for Festival of Debate event. It shows a futuristic looking city, full of glass sky scrapers.

Denser cities and reduction in urban sprawl can have a positive impact on carbon emissions – due to a more efficient use of existing infrastructure and reduction in private car use.

However, does increasing urban density provide a good quality of life? Is this strategy socially sustainable? We will look at these questions and more with a diverse panel of experts from industry and academia.

Organised by: Abhishek Bhutoria, Mahdi Divandari, Omid Ebrahimbaysalami, Zeyi Jiang, Danielle Abbey.

Green Infrastructure: How can we build a sustainable future?

May 16, 14:00 – 15:30 BST. Online. Get your free tickets

Green Infrastructure: How can we build a sustainable future? Image for Festival of Debate event. The picture is of 2 tall buildings covered in green - not in a nature is reclaiming them post-apocalyptic way, the greenery looks intentional.

It is estimated that globally we build the equivalent of a city the size of Paris every single week.

And currently the construction industry is responsible for almost 40% of global carbon emissions. Of this, 70% is from energy consumption and the remainder from construction materials. The strive for net-zero emissions requires these emissions to fall by 50% by 2030.

Experts in construction from industry and academia highlight the priorities and challenges for decarbonising infrastructure at this event.

Organised by: Madeline Rihner, Natasha Mohamad, Kyle O’Donoghue, Ella Cliff, Tom Cowley.

Are urban greenspaces worth it?

May 18, 17:00 – 18:00 BST. Online. Get your free tickets

Are urban greenspaces worth it? Image for Festival of Debate event. The picture shows a city skyline as seen from a pleasant looking bit of greenspace.

The creation of urban greenspaces is in conflict with other land uses.

But with an increasing urban population they are seen by many as being necessary for mental and physical health, as well as supporting biodiversity. Are urban greenspaces a good use of limited land space? And do the services they provide outweigh the need for more housing?

The event brings together a panel of cross disciplinary speakers, whose work focuses on the multiple benefits of greenspaces to people.

Organised by: Raoul Blackman, Bethany Leake, Tom Siddall, Miles Bate-Weldon, Hanyu Qi.

Festival of Debate 2022: rewilding, water and corrosion

In 2022 the Grantham Scholars created events on water, rewilding and corrosion. Here you can find out about each event, and links to the videos on YouTube.

Water For Everyone: Sustainability & Importance

When the SDGs were established, SDG 6 Clean Water and Sanitation was a base goal. In order to explain why, our expert panel share knowledge from different fields to do with water. Plus they discuss the challenges and opportunities of SDG 6.

Organised by: Jiangtian Tan, Amal Sarfraz, Tete’ Mausse, Veysel Yildiz and Zongting Cai.

Rewilding: Plant it and They Will Come

Rewilding is a key tool against biodiversity loss. But what is the best way to restore natural habitats? And what effect does reintroducing animals have? How do we combat invasive species? And if we want rewilding, what policy and economic tools can incentivise it?

Watch an expert panel introduce and argue points around rewilding.

Organised by: Ella Ruth Challen Hubbard, Simone Farris, Benedict Smith, Hannah Ronan-Brown and Jenny Hughes.

Corrosion: The 2.5 Trillion Dollar Problem

Corrosion of materials used in buildings, engineering projects and machinery can be dangerous. For example, corrosion caused the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Plus it causes a huge consumption of natural resources. However, by understanding the causes of corrosion, steps can be taken to combat it. Watch an expert panel discuss corrosion.

Organised by: Derick Liew, Bettina Zenz and Francis Gurman.

Free sustainability webinars 2021: soil health, fast fashion, bikes & more

Featuring experts from around the world, 2021’s webinars explore the cutting edge of sustainability. Here you can find out a bit more about each event and links to the videos on YouTube.

Biking back to work: Progress towards cycle access for everyone

What are the barriers that different groups face to cycling to work? And what steps can be taken to address them?

Speakers: Darren Hardwick (Sustainable Travel Manager at the University of Sheffield). Also, Pete Zanzottera (Active Travel Project Director for the Sheffield City Region). And Matt Cox and Beth Grylls (Birmingham Bike Foundry).

Grantham Scholars Peter Tuckett and Remy Veness organised this event.

How can we enable sustainable innovation in the UK housing supply?

This webinar explores innovation in housing provision. Topics covered include community-led housing, finances and carbon in construction.

Speakers: Claude Hendrickson (a community led housing adviser across Leeds and West Yorkshire). Also, Tim Crabtree (Raise the Roof). With them is Kat Quigley (Nationwide Building Society).

Organised by: Charles Gillott, Philippa Hughes, Will Mihkelson, and Abraham Mariech

Practical Organic Growing: Beyond not using chemicals

Join Anton Rosenfeld from Garden Organic to learn about organic growing.

Organic growing considers not just the plant you are growing, but also how it interacts with the soil, surroundings and the wider environment.

This event was organised by Jana Green and the Grantham Centre’s Green Impact SHEFF-Yield team.

What lies beneath? The hidden world in soil that feeds our planet

At this event, we hear from a range of experts about the importance of soil biodiversity and its role in food security. Our speakers work across the globe on research, policy and implementation. They cover the latest research, including how soil biodiversity-friendly agricultural techniques are already being used successfully.

Speakers include Rosa Cuevas Corona (FAO Global Soil Partnership). Joining her is Dr Sunita Sangar (Independent Research Consultant). Finally, Zachary Barton (Kamala Foundation).

Organised by: Mary Eliza, Oscar Morton, Dharma Sapkota, Jocelyn Sze, and Mengyuan Qian

Fast Fashion: Global Icon, Climate Killer

At this event we focus on the climate impact of the fast fashion industry, the market value of which was $36 billion in 2019. Over 1 million tonnes of textiles and clothing are discarded annually, 70% of which end up in landfill. Because of the size of the industry and the scope of its impact on sustainability, it is necessary to engage in proactive and meaningful conversation about this problem.

Speakers: Prof Sandy Black (University of the Arts London and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion). Also Dr Mark Sumner (University of Leeds) who has extensive industrial experience.

More free sustainability webinars

If you want to find webinars we put on in 2016 on clean energy and climate activism then look here.

And you can sign up to our newsletter to be informed about upcoming free sustainability webinars.