Illustration featuring text overlay 'The Sustainability Challenge - Day Three'

March 20, 2024, by Ryan Neal

The Sustainability Challenge 2024 – Day Three

The Sustainability Challenge – part of Sustainability Action Week – sees us invite some of our senior leaders to spend the week living as sustainably as possible. It gives them the opportunity to reflect on their experience and share their thoughts with our community. This year our chancellor, Baroness Lola Young, has been taking on the challenge alongside the Students’ Union’s Community Officer, Poppy Read-Pitt. Poppy’s tagging in today but you can find out how Lola got on on days one and two.

Day three – food

When I was younger I made the choice to stop eating meat and, where practical, use dairy substitutes in my diet, so going vegan for this challenge seemed like a natural step forward. I will preface this with the fact that I am not a very skilful cook, I’m quite limited to the recipes that I know and if I try to be inventive it generally doesn’t work very well.

The challenge was certainly made a great deal easier by the fact that I already incorporate dairy substitutes into my diet and don’t eat meat, so going fully vegan wasn’t much of a stretch. Also, one of my housemates is vegan which meant quite a few of our communal home staples (butter, cooking wine, milk, seasonings, etc.) were vegan anyway, so I didn’t find myself having to go out and spend a bunch of money on new ingredients. Going vegan challenged me to finally try to master tofu (we’re still not quite there yet, but I have faith) and encouraged me to cook some meals that my vegan housemate could also enjoy and share meals with them.

An urban garden featuring potted plantsMy housemates and I had been talking about wanting to grow some things in the back garden for a while. We live in Lenton so our ‘garden’ is a little concrete thing we share with our neighbours, and currently contains: a mop, a broken microwave, two broken chairs, and two ash trays, so it could use a bit of greenery.

We planted strawberries, tomatoes, rosemary, sage, lavender, marigolds, and forget me nots. We’re still a bit wary of the Lenton rats taking a piece out of the strawberries and tomatoes when they start to grow, but so far no rats have seemed interested, so we’re travelling hopefully. Also, we have now found a use for the microwave!

Check back to find out how Lola and Poppy get on with the rest of the challenge. In the meantime you can catch up with previous challenges.

Posted in Sustainable Tips