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Staff profile: Philip Tamuno

Philip Tamuno is Queen Mary's Head of Sustainability and he works very close with QMSU to make sure that the university is doing all it can to encourage us to live more sustainably. 

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Tell us a bit about your career so far?

My background is in Applied Biology and I hold an MSc in Water and Environmental Management and a PhD from Loughborough University. I have worked in a range of places including academia, for Médecins sans Frontières, the Environment Agency (UK), Herefordshire Council and two NHS Trusts. Environmental sustainability is key to ensuring that Queen Mary can make a difference as well as enhancing organisational competitiveness and resilience.

Why is World Environment Day important?

World Environment Day is observed on 5 June. We should embed good environmental practices into our life styles, the way we carry out our responsibilities and do business.

The institutional, community, social and economic benefits of environmental awareness cannot be over-emphasised. The challenges of resource depletion, stressed water resources, environmental degradation, inequality and climate change imply that we all have a social and moral responsibility to reduce our carbon and environmental footprint. I believe that we must all collectively cherish and jealously protect Planet Earth, because it is our common home.  

How is the university celebrating Global Recycling Day? 

We will highlight the environmental, social and economic benefits of recycling and waste avoidance. 

Waste is a global issue. As a global University, we will be reminding everyone  to reduce the waste they generate and separate all recyclables from land fill. We’ll soon be rolling out a coffee cup recycling scheme at Mile End so do watch out for the launch event.

Describe your average day?

I have quite a varied day and no two days are alike. My role involves developing and coordinating the implementation of sustainability initiatives, helping improve energy efficiency, helping reduce our environmental impact and responding to the challenges associated with climate change and climate emergency. I am involved in promoting the benefits of embedding good environmental practices across all our operations. We want to optimise those benefits and be able to respond resiliently to challenges.

What is the best thing about your job? 

Meeting groups and individuals across Queen Mary has shown an overwhelming passion and commitment to supporting the delivery of sustainable development and embedding good practice. The Students’ Union, especially, challenge us to do more and to actively improve Queen Mary’s environmental performance.

Are there any events/initiatives on sustainability at the university? 

One of our current priorities is to embed environmental sustainability into all our curricula. We will be involved with all the relevant National and Global events such as Big Pedal Day on 22 April and National Walking Month in May.

What are Queen Mary’s long term sustainability plans?

We want to be Queen Mary to be an example to others of how a university can integrate sustainability into all areas of our operations and into our academic studies. It’s our long-term aim to reduce our environmental footprint and have an evidence-based climate emergency action plan by ensuring that every student is involved in this journey.

What is your role in helping the university achieve its 2030 Strategy?

We want students to graduate from Queen Mary with knowledge of the public health, environmental, social, economic and global benefits of sustainable development and good environmental practices.

What can students do to be more sustainable?

We can all help with resource efficiency such as separating recyclable materials from general waste, using a keep cup instead of single use cups and turning off your lights when you leave a room.

What’s your favourite place on campus?

The allotment area and sensory garden within the student residential area. Even though Queen Mary is located in a city, there is a dedicated space for staff and students to grow food and vegetables as well as appreciate nature. I am looking forward to the summer when the food and vegetables planted on this allotment will have grown.

What are your hobbies outside of work?

My main hobby is spending time with my family. Despite the fact that we all have different personalities and priorities, we always enjoy our times together. The family is a reflection of our communities and wider society.