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Through Alcoa's partnership with the Earthwatch Institute, Alcoa employees have the opportunity to work alongside Earthwatch scientists on critical environmental research projects around the world – helping to unlock solutions to some of the biggest sustainability challenges of our time.
 
 
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Blog Day 5 - UK

We awoke on our final full day to true British weather; the rain had finally caught up with us. The day began with a briefing, which focused on our individual action projects that we intend to implement at our respective locations. The task focused on pinpointing certain requirements and actions. After deciphering these actions individually, we joined together in groups of three to discuss our ideas and bring to light any questions or initial queries that we may have about each other’s projects. Once we had finished discussing and reflecting on our projects as a group, we got ourselves ready for a visit to Oxford.
After a 30-minute bus journey, we arrived in Oxford full of enthusiasm to see the university town that has become a famous centre of knowledge. We decided to make constructive use of our four hours in the city and partake in a walking tour. With our stomachs full of authentic British McDonalds, we were guided around the historic town by a student who happened to have attended Cambridge University – ironically, the nemesis of Oxford University. He explained that Oxford has been shaped throughout the decades by two main points.
Firstly, ‘town and gown’ rivalries have led to certain festivities being celebrated throughout the year. This includes an event celebrated once every 500 years involving Oxford University scholars chasing a mallard duck around the campus grounds. Secondly, Oxford is recognised for its stunning architecture, having been influenced by royals such as James I and Queen Victoria I. The architecture has changed to align to their specific wishes which now leaves Oxford standing in a wonderful landscape of gothic and classical architecture. The variety of architecture has given influence to authors such as C. S. Lewis and his novel “The Chronicles of Narnia” as well as the producers of the Harry Potter films when choosing historic Oxford buildings for their sets.
Even though the rain persisted throughout our walking tour, it was obvious that we all enjoyed the charismatic and knowledgeable talk that our guide had provided us with as we all left enthused and upbeat about using our limited time so wisely.
During our evening session, we had to individually write up a pitch to present to our fellow Earthwatchers about our projects to ensure that when we return to our locations we can put across our ideas and thoughts in constructive, efficient and realistic manners. We had to write down key facts about our projects on a flip board before presenting this to the group. Meanwhile, the audience would write down questions that would encourage us to analyse our own ways of thinking and make any required changes.
Once the formalities had finished and lessons had closed for the evening, we all went to the local pub to enjoy a pint of ‘real ale’ much to the displeasure of some Earthwatchers who could not comprehend how the British could possibly enjoy such a drink; something that the two native Earthwatchers found rather hilarious. And it was at this moment that it dawned upon us all that we started this week as complete and utter strangers who share seven different nationalities, seven different languages and seven different cultures, but all of whom united by a desire to learn about the importance of sustainability.
This week has taught us to engage with others and raise awareness about a reality that we are experiencing right now – it has shown us the imperative nature of conserving a planet that will hopefully be able to provide for our future generations. Together, we have formed this wonderfully dysfunctional family that we all hope to sustain in the future – a better future. Much love to our Awkward Turtle family.     
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