Jennifer Ulloa

How biodiverse is the University of Edinburgh?

Did you know the University of Edinburgh is ranked 3rd in sustainability in the UK? Learn about the university's commitment to biodiversity.
3 min Read

Nestled in the heart of Scotland's historic capital, the University of Edinburgh stands not only as a beacon of academic excellence, but also, surprisingly, as a sanctuary for biodiversity.

While renowned for its distinguished scholars and centuries-old architecture, the university's campuses harbour a wealth of flora and fauna, creating a rich tapestry of natural beauty amidst the bustling urban landscape of Edinburgh. 

In this blog, we delve into the different areas that make University of Edinburgh a top tier university in terms of preserving its biodiversity, and ways you can get involved if you are a student.

An emerging ‘nature positive’ institution 

Wonder what it means to be nature positive? To put it succinctly, nature positivity is a global societal goal looking to add more nature into the world than what is taken out (this includes both intentional and unintentional efforts). 

In the space of biodiversity, this commitment is huge because today species are disappearing at a faster rate than ever before. 

(Psst.. learn more about human caused extinctions from the Royal Society)

To combat this, and to support the proliferation and success of wildlife and beyond, the University of Edinburgh has pledged to prevent wildlife and nature loss by 2030. 

They’ve committed to taking a holistic approach in this implementation through looking at their teaching, research, operations and even supply chain. 

You can read more about the university’s pledge to biodiversity on their website. 

Key drivers to biodiversity loss

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, the following factors are encouraging biodiversity loss across the world at an alarming rate: 

  • The introduction of invasive species: Our globalised economy, which depends on the transport of goods, has enabled the spread of invasive species.
  • Abrupt changes in land use: Humans are responsible for changing rich natural habitats into land for urban or agricultural development. 
  • Climate change factors: Climate change-induced temperature increases may threaten as many as one in six species globally.
  • Increased pollution: Chemical and plastic waste, and the use of pesticides and herbicides is a major cause of biodiversity and ecosystem change.
  • Exploitation of natural resources: Unsustainable use of plants and animals endangers other species and also risks livelihoods.

Conservation efforts 

We all know the phrase, “it takes a village.” And this is succinctly true for maintaining resilience amidst the face of climate change and biodiversity loss. At the University of Edinburgh, the following steps are being taken: 

Find out more about the University of Edinburgh biodiversity plan here. 

Unveiling a green campus for students one critter at a time

The University of Edinburgh has gone to great lengths to encourage biodiversity and uphold its environmental commitment. For example, I bet you didn’t know that the university is actually a confirmed hedgehog friendly campus? Now how cute is that.

The student hedgehog society is a group of student volunteers who are passionate about hedgehog conservation and making a positive change to University of Edinburgh College campuses. They participate in on-campus hedgehog surveys, litter picks, biodiversity surveys, and are excited to be collaborating with other Scottish universities on raising awareness about hedgehogs across the UK. 

Learn more about this campus initiative here. 

What you can do now

As the University of Edinburgh continues to evolve, so too does its commitment to biodiversity. 

With sustainability at the forefront of its agenda, the university seeks to integrate ecological principles into its operations, infrastructure, and curriculum. 

As a student, there are numerous organisations, courses, and resources you can glean from to help reach the goal of becoming nature positive by 2030. For example, you can take a course on biodiversity literacy which can be found here.

Or you can take a virtual tour of the campus to see the University's abundance of green spaces.

By harnessing the power of education, research, and community engagement, the university endeavours to preserve and celebrate its natural heritage for generations to come.

Find out more

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