The Environment: What’s Durham got to offer?

One of the many beautiful scenes offered by Durham, photo taken by Elly Greenway

True to the name of this very magazine, students across Durham University regularly find themselves sucked into the Durham ‘bubble’: that infamous barricade whose alleged boundaries wrap around the ends of Gilesgate and the Hill colleges, marking the limits of the typical student’s day-to-day ventures. However, on occasions we students have sauntered out of the confines of the city, only to discover Durham to be lodged within vast stretches of stunning countryside.

For most, it is the lack of transport or a good excuse that is the true cause of this imprisoning bubble, but a little research reveals that the University has many opportunities to get out in to the County Durham countryside and to get involved with the environment. For anyone who wants to get a good dose of fresh country air, engage in environmental issues or simply meet some new people and have a laugh, I do not believe that you will be disappointed by what Durham has to offer.

Conservation Society

As a member myself, I am afraid I cannot pretend to be unbiased when I claim that joining Conservation Society is absolutely critical for anyone who is interested in the environment… or looking to spend their time facing precarious situations in size twelve waders in the middle of a pond!

Each weekend, a hardy set of members brave the northern winters and head out into the Durham countryside to spend a few hours planting trees, beating down Himalayan balsam or, more unusually, using large posts to try and dislodge a floating tern island from the bank! The society provides a great opportunity to meet and get to know new people and tasks are regularly followed up with trips to the pub or the pancake house and rounds of the David Attenborough drinking game!

People and Planet by Rachel Unwin

People and Planet is the largest student network in Britain campaigning to end world poverty, defend human rights and protect the environment. The Durham branch is fun and dynamic; our meetings are every Monday evening (7:30 pm in ER207) where we discuss campaigns and share ideas.

Last year we got involved with a local campaign against a proposed coal mine, which was successful; and got the university to affiliate to the Worker Rights Consortium, ensuring we have an ethical garment supply chain and for which we won the Student Union’s Campaign of the Year Award!

We are really excited for the year ahead and have some great events and speakers lined up. Come along to find out more and make a real difference to both local and global issues!

Greenspace by Katie Ridley

Greenspace is the name of the University’s Environment Team and oversees a wide range of environmental initiatives relating to topics include energy, waste, water, biodiversity, green travel and Fairtrade.

The Greenspace Student Environment Group includes Environment Reps from all colleges and oversees a range of student-focused behaviour-change events throughout the year including the Inter-collegiate Energy Competition, Environment Week, Waste and Water Awareness campaigns and the Green Move Out Scheme. There is something to get involved in whatever your interest – from the Biodiversity Monitoring Project to developing new environmentally sustainable initiatives.

Green Party by William Pinckney-Baird

The ongoing destruction of our planet is increasingly impossible to ignore. But this cannot be taken in isolation from our economic system, which is built around the drive for profit over the needs of people and planet. Durham Young Greens is the local youth branch of the Green Party: the party of social and environmental justice. We educate students and young people within Durham about key issues, with weekly discussions, films and guest speakers. But we also work to organise and take action, campaigning on issues ranging from fracking to food banks, free education to fair pay. Finally, we provide students an opportunity to get involved in electoral politics, working with the local party to fight elections and ensuring the Green Party is the party standing up for students.

Durham University Animal Rights and Welfare Society by Lauren Brain

DARAWS is a society dedicated to raising awareness of issues within animal rights and welfare and providing education and volunteering opportunities. You can join for £2.50 and if you do, you automatically sponsor a lion! This year we plan to organize volunteering trips to local rescue centres as well as a puppy party around exam time. We are also looking to further our projects internationally and are currently looking for a project abroad to visit annually after the initial set up.

Our main focus at the moment is ‘The Jungle Ball’ on 10th October, which is being organised alongside Conservation Society, People & Planet and the Vegetarian & Vegan Societies. We would love lots of people to attend so please support us and help raise lots of money for charity! Please contact Lauren Brain via Facebook or Durham emails to buy tickets.

Hill walking by Hill Walking exec

DUHWS is a large, committed group of individuals who share a love for the great outdoors and the British countryside. If you are looking for a way to escape the bubble of Durham and like the idea of walking, hiking, scrambling, fell running or mountaineering with a group of like-minded individuals, then we are the society for you! Whether you’re an old hand who’s come on every walk or never ventured out with us before, you will be most welcome. We also run a trip to the famous Hadrian’s Wall, so if you want to come and walk along the wall come join us on this Saturday the 11th!

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