UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


PALS Green Awareness

Taking care of our environment

We're very proud to be recognised by UCL as the greenest department (9 years in a row and working hard to make that 10!) and we're on a mission to improve the impact of UCL's estate, build community and further research.

Green Day 2023

PALS Green Day logo

We are proud to announce that PALS Green Day will take place on 14 March with activities taking place in the Chandler House atrium from 4.00. Click here for further info and updates!

Old trainer

PALS green feet are taking us on sustainability journey

The PALS Green impact team are delighted to announce that PALS green feet are taking us on another sustainability journey - JogOn PALS, recycling your old trainers. Find out how you can donate here.

PALS Green Impact Team at London Wetland Centre

The PALS Green Impact Team visited the London Wetland Centre. Find out what team have been up to and what their plans are for 2022-23.

An image of a tree.

Preparing future psychologists for the impact of the climate crisis

A new UCL module is equipping Psychology & Language Sciences (PALS) students with the knowledge and skills they will need in their future careers to engage with the threat posed by the climate crisis.

“The climate crisis poses an existential threat to the natural environment and human societies alike,” argues Professor Kate Jeffery, who co-founded and organised the module with Sabine Topf, a PALS PhD student and highly  active member of the PALS Green Team. (Kate and Sabine were joined by Jona Leka, a PALS PhD student who is the graduate teaching assistant on the course, along with John Draper, head of administration at PALS and a long-time champion and innovator in green initiatives at UCL). 

Within the module, now led by Fred Dick and Jeremy Skipper at PALS, students on the Psychology of Climate Change module are taught about the causes and consequences of climate change. These include lectures on the physics of climate change and the emergence of the Anthropocene, as well as sessions using interactive simulations of climate change mitigation.  Students are especially benefitting from an interdisciplinary approach that has been supported by lectures and interaction with academic staff in other UCL departments, in particular Geography. Fred noted that "the sole underlying driver of climate change is human behaviour, which can be very hard to change. It's vital for psychologists and behavioural scientists to understand the basic mechanisms of global heating so they can identify which behavioural interventions will be the most effective in reducing carbon emissions."

The module also explores how people make sense of climate change cognitively and emotionally, including why some people deny facts about climate change, as well common emotional reactions, such as anxiety, grief and hopelessness, or resilience, campaigning and activism. “We ask them to consider factors that enable or impede pro-environmental behaviours, as understanding these changes can improve the success of initiatives to change behaviour,” adds Professor Jeffery.

On Wednesday we welcomed Bill McKibben to discuss the psychology of destroying a planet. For those of you who do not already know him, Bill is an internationally acclaimed environmentalist and climate activist, currently at Middlebury College in Vermont, USA. Among other books, he wrote The End of Nature (1989), considered the first general audience book on global warming. He also regularly writes for magazines such as the New Yorker and Rolling Stone, is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and has honorary degrees from 20 colleges and universities. Bill has been awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize and Right Livelihood Award. He also helped found 350.org, the first global grassroots climate campaign. 

Please find a recording of Bill's seminar below:

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/e21DBbDI


PALS Green Veggie

PALS started a vegetarian food only initiative in 2019, and since then, much of UCL has adopted it. As a University, we are now providing over 95% vegetarian food for all hospitality events. What an achievement for the PALS Green Impact Team – well done! Find out more about our 100% Veggie initiative here.


A poster of PALS awards from the UCL sustainability awards ceremony in 2022

Congratulations to UCL PALS for bringing home three more Gold Awards at 2022 #UCLSusAwards Ceremony.

We won gold in the Green Impact, LEAF lab, and Outstanding Sustainability Plan categories! The PALS Green Impact Team also recieved a special award in recognition of their unique initiatives, such as 'PALS No Fly Zone' and 'Powered by Plants', which continue to inspire other departments and lead the way on sustainability at this University.

Sustainable UCL have planted 8 'trees for life' in PALS' name at the UCL Grove (located in the Scottish Highlands) *(one tree can consume approximately 60kg of CO2 from the atmosphere). They also handed out award certificates printed on seeded paper, which the PALS Team have planted in the Bedford Way Common Room.

Well done to all the other winners & participants, and thanks to Sustainable UCL for hosting the awards. Find out more about our Faculty's sustainability pledges here.

Toby Nash UCL PALS

Toby Nash is a filmmaker and 1st-year UCL PALS psychology student who has just started filming his 1st feature-length documentary in the Andes Mountain Range.
He is using the 5000km journey as a vessel for important messages about sustainability. Find out more here

Poster P

PALS 1st Year Sustainability Poster Competition: This year, students presented their research on the question: "What makes people donate to charity?" The idea was to encourage the UCL PALS student community to think about environmental charities. At the end of the online experiment, participants were directed to the “PALS Green Team Fundraiser” JustGiving page where they donated a total of £396. This sum was matched by the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences to make a total of £792. Find out more here.

PALS No Fly Zone

We are thrilled to announce that from 1st January 2022, PALS launched the 'PALS No-Fly Zone' initiative - where we no longer supports air travel within the UK and nearby European destinations. Find out more here.

PALS Green Awards 2021

Congratulations to the UCL PALS Green Impact team for their outstanding success at UCL's 2021 #UCLSusAwards Ceremony. We won gold in the Green Impact Award categories and LEAF lab awards, and were especially commended for our Sustainability Plan which included a UCL-high of 20 sustainability excellence projects which in effect recognises us as UCL’s greenest department for the 8th year in a row!  Well done to all the other winners & participants, and thanks to Sustainable UCL for hosting the awards.

UCL PALS Hackney Marshes
UCL PALS Green Impact Team Visit Hackney Marshes: On 9th November 2021, 11 members of the UCL PALS Green Impact Team walked 6 miles in Hackney marshes to visit 3 of its wildlife reserves, a Sustainable Spices Initiative (SSI) and a park with an amazing collection of trees. The idea was to see how the area has been impacted by humans throughout history whilst COP26 was taking place. Find out more here.

PALS Green Day 2021

The annual 2021 UCL PALS Green Day will be on 24 March. Expect a jam-packed programme of events including talks, virtual veggie cookalongs, green wheel of zoom, seed planting, green quiz, bird-tracking, winterwatch... and loads more! Read more here.

Pull the Plug on PALS Printing

As part of PALS Green Day 2021, we launched the 'Pull the Plug on PALS Printing' initiative. The pandemic has shown us that printing is not always necessary… will you join us and ditch your printer? Where printing is necessary, we encourage double-sided printing, reduced page margins, using recycled paper and defaulting to the machines to greyscale economy modes. Find out more here.

PALS Green

PALS is UCL's Greenest Department 7th year in a row! Congratulations to the UCL PALS Green Impact team who have been recognised as UCL’s greenest department at UCL's 2020 Sustainability Awards Ceremony... for the 7th year in a row!! We had 20 sustainability excellence projects, and won gold in the Green Impact Award categories and LEAF lab awards. Read more here.

Zaikauskaite Paper

We're thrilled to have another #GreenUCLPALS eco-study published!  Laura Zaikauskaite, Xinyu Chen and Dimitrios Tsivrikos explored the effects of idealism and relativism on the moral judgement of social versus environmental issues, and their relation to self-reported pro-environmental behaviours. Find out more and download the paper here.   

new UCL PALS Green Impact Excellence Study

Do people consider environmentally unfriendly behaviour to be immoral? A new UCL PALS Green Impact Excellence Study has revealed that the morality of environmental behaviour indeed differs from that of other types of social behaviour. Read the paper here.

PALS Green Day Advert 2020

We are delighted to announce this year’s UCL PALS Green Day #GreenUCLPALS. We have a green-packed programme of events across our various PALS sites (Bedford Way, Chandler House and Alexandra House) including the infamous green feet, seed-planting, sustainability talks, green-themed films, vegetarian food, vegan wine tasting... and loads more. We will keep this webpage updated with the latest information about the event: ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-green-awareness/pals-green-day-2020 

PALS MoonWalk

UCL PALS are walking to the moon as a Green and Wellbeing initiative.

Find out more and get involved with the #PALSMoonWalk at www. ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-moonwalk   

PALS Green Impact Awards 2019

Congratulations to the UCL PALS Green Impact Team who picked up numerous awards at the 2019 UCL Green Sustainability Awards. We’re UCL’s greenest department for the 6th year in a row and John Draper won a Lifetime Achievement Award for all his amazing green impact work over the years.

100 Percent Veggie

We are thrilled to announce that from 1st January 2019 all food provided at catered UCL PALS events will be 100% vegetarian. Find out more about our 100% Veggie initiative here.

UCL PALS Extinction Rebellion Talk

The UCL PALS Green Impact Team hosted an Extinction Rebellion talk "Heading for extinction & what to do about it" as part of #PALSGREEN19. Watch the talk, featuring Professor Kate Jeffery, here.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFcwbSdUxuk&feature=youtu.be


PALS Green Day 2019 was a great success!

On 14 March 2019, PALS Green Day took place with a jam-packed programme of events across our various PALS sites including the infamous green feet, seed-planting, sustainability talks, green-themed films, vegetarian food, vegan wine tasting... and loads more! Read more about PALS Green Day 2019 by clicking here.

PALS Green Day

UCL PALS Recycling Field Trip

UCL PALS Green Team members Sabine Topf and Paul Troop are looking at ways of reducing the quantity of waste produced by UCL and increasing the proportion that is recycled.

To find out more about how waste is treated by UCL, they conducted a research trip to the plant where UCL's waste is disposed of. They were given a tour of the plant and gained insight into the processes involved.

UCL waste that is not recycled or treated as food waste is sent by train to a plant in Bristol. There it is incinerated. Heat from the process is used to heat steam, which is fed through turbines to generate electricity. Ash that remains is used to make building blocks. None of the waste goes to landfill.

Find out more about the UCL PALS Recycling Field Trip by clicking here.

UCL PALS Foodcam

The #PALSGREEN19 Foodcam Initiative is a waste reduction project started by the PALS Green Impact Team that revolves around the simple principle that food is better in a stomach than in the bin. Find out more here: ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-green-awareness/foodcam



For several weeks, UCL PALS Student Sabine Topf and colleagues studied the contents of the mixed-recycling and non-recyclable bins in six locations at UCL, including 2 from PALS.  Each evening they emptied the bins, categorised the contents and put them back in time to be collected as usual. Find out more about this #PALSGREEN19 project by clicking here: ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-green-awareness/studying-contents-bins-ucl

Green Kitchens

The UCL PALS Green Impact Team have helped prepare vegetarian and vegan meal options in the UCL IOE canteen as part of one of the UCL PALS #PALSGREEN19 initiatives. Find out more here: ucl.ac.uk/pals/pals-green-awareness/helping-prepare-veggie-and-vegan-food-options-ucl

UCL PALS Green Impact

Congratulations to our Green Impact Team who picked up numerous UCL Sustainability Awards at the epic annual Green UCL Sustainability Awards.

GREEN NEWSFLASH: PALS Green Impact Team wins UCL Sustainability Award and visits the Eden Project (click to find out more)

Watch the video the UCL PALS Green Impact team made on their trip to the Eden Project in Cornwall:

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vd_Z49kISI0&feature=youtu.be

  • Travel - find out about how you can do your bit to reduce carbon emissions by changing the way you travel.
  • Recycling - find out about UCL's recycling systems.
  • Consumption - see how much energy the Faculty of Brain Sciences uses and how you can help reduce it. 
  • PALS was heavily involved in the audit for UCL's ECO Campus Platinum Award

Green Impact News: PALS is UCL's Greenest Department... again.

We are delighted to announce that we have been awarded UCL Sustainability Leaders and UCL's Greenest Department at this year's Green Impact Awards Ceremony.

Our excellence projects also won multiple awards, such as Platinum award for Labs, Excellence for Office and Excellence for Special Projects. You can find out more about the UCL Sustainability Awards on the Green UCL website

Here are some of the projects that we are really proud of:

  • Reducing chair loss…recycling our furniture
  • Chandler House Garden
  • I See What You’ve Done! – How Behavioural Traces Influence Recycling Behaviour at UCL
  • Following the Crowd or Following the Norm? Effects of Behavioural Traces vs. Social Norms on Pro-Environmental Donations
  • Pollution Mask
  • PALS FoodCam / Food Waste
  • PALS Green Impact visit to Eden Project video