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Positive action from students and locals during Green Week

Photo: University of Sussex

Green Week began on Saturday 5 March with a Sustainable City Day at Jubilee Square in Brighton.

Bid & Borrow, a Brighton and Hove community sharing website, pedal and solar powered live music, interactive stalls like Shedman, an environment-loving poet and the promise of “tasty goodness” drew in the crowds, whilst community groups promoted local environmental initiatives.

River Jones from the University of Sussex’s Centre for Community Engagement (CCE) applauded the success of the event, saying “at our town centre launch, attended by over three thousand people, we extended a welcome to this week’s events on campus, got the word out about sustainability focused projects, societies and initiatives at Sussex, and provided an umbrella for local organisations that work to make our city more sustainable.”

On campus, Green Week’s events focused on encouraging staff, students and the public to be more environmentally aware.

A variety of events included Student Switchoff’s Energy-Saving Obstacle course and the Allotment Open Day, introducing students to the well-nurtured allotments on campus, behind Brighthelm .

On Tuesday, 8 March, the Library Square welcomed market day, where recipe demonstrations and affordable lunchtime fare promoted local produce and products.

One student described her Spanish omelette as “extremely moreish” and added, “It’s an easy, cheap way to use up leftovers.”

Becca Melhuish, University of Sussex’s Ethical and Environmental Officer, joined local councillors on the panel of speakers at Saturday’s Friends of the Earth Question Time debate.

Becca announced plans for all Sussex courses to “have sustainability embedded within their curriculums”.

Conservative Councillor Ayas Fallon-Khan explained the government’s support for a greener economy and education system, so that “when renewable technology companies are coming into the city, we have the skills aligned so that students can immediately go into that new kind of work environment”.

Becca also argued for improved cycling access and for weekly recycling collections in student areas.

Biz Bliss, University of Sussex’s Operations Officer for the Students’ Union, challenged Roger French, the chair of the debate and Brighton & Hove Buses Managing Director, on the subject of the ongoing price war with the Lemon Bus Company along University bus routes. To view the debate online go to  www.energyunion.eu/en/tour/brighton

Dan Glass, former Sussex Students’ Union President and environmental activist lectured on possibilities for environmental action after university to a small, but well informed audience.

He provoked discussion of how different approaches to activism, from lobbying and fundraising to public protest and occupation, can co-exist in Britain.

Glass said “as people grappling with the growing concerns around climate change and its social impacts, we need to empower ourselves in understanding the facts and the options for action. People have to challenge the root causes of the big problems in the world.

“Sussex Green Week is a pioneering and extremely well organised platform for supporting each other in being proactive, untangle problems and provide hope.”

Green Week is one of the on-going environmental projects at the Students’ Union – Thursday saw the launch of new drinking fountains in Falmer House, and campus cafes and bars will continue to offer special deals on ethically sourced meals as part of Fairtrade fortnight.

Elsewhere, the Bike Train meets every week day at the Level (8.30 and 9.30am) to offer safe rush hour cycling to and from campus, blasting out music as they go.

More information can be found at www.biketrain.org.

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