Climate activism in Durham

Durham University is not known for its activism, but that being said there are over 20 societies with some kind of environmental role, not even including the college groups. From hosting talks to practising conservation, it’s a bustling scene!

Here are a few you may or may not have heard of.


Scoop is a not-for-profit initiative set up in 2020 run by Durham University students. It offers a way for customers to shop for plastic free items such as pasta and even toiletries. Often zero-waste shops are criticised for inaccessible prices but 60% of scoops products are in fact cheaper than Tescos! Find them on The Riverwalk open Wednesdays 12-5, Saturdays 12-5 and Sundays 12-3.

Psychologists for Environmental Action. (aka PEAs)

The PEA’s are part of the psychology department made up of students and staff, raising awareness of the role psychology can play in the fight against climate change with ‘PEA’s talks’. They practice what they preach by challenging the psychology department itself to be more environmental and doing practical tasks such as litter picking walks. 

Eco DU

Eco DU is a Climate action group that aims to keep the University accountable for its decisions and call for Climate Justice. They are holding a Climate protest on the 13th March, with these demands:

1) Durham University listens to its students and declares a climate emergency.

2) Durham University declares an ecological emergency.

3) Durham University commits to being a net-zero university by 2035. 

4) By 2025 Durham University sets out a clear pathway of how it will achieve net-zero that is made available for an external review. 

5) Cutting all ties with anyone invested or involved with the extraction of fossil fuels.

6) Durham University listens to its students and stops using Barclays bank or invests the money to switch current loans into sustainable or environmental projects. 

Much of this is in response to demands students voted for but haven’t come into place. For example, the Student Union voted last February in favour of the motion to boycott Barclays Bank but the University still uses Barclays over 20 months later. (Barclays being one of the biggest investors in the fossil fuel industry).

The protest will meet at 1:30 pm on Sunday the 13th March at the Durham Students’ Union.

Finally, we wanted to spotlight the Durham Grandparents and Parents for Action on Climate Change. They’re not a student organisation, as you can tell by the name, but a very committed and diligent group, they can often be spotted in Market Square – do have a chat if you see them!

There are so many other societies and brilliant things happening in Durham. To stay in the loop we recommend:

– Join the ECOverheard Facebook group, this is like a noticeboard for all things eco in Durham. 

– Sign up to the wider community newsletter.

– Get involved with your college by contacting your college environment rep.


Featured image: from Flo Wright, taken at the last EcoDU climate strike. 


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