Green Week is over for another semester but it was a fantastic week with lots of different student groups pulling together to put on some great events and to spread the environmental message.
There was something for everyone: from film screenings and open forums hosted by Greenpeace and Transition to bread making workshops and debates from One World Society and the St Andrews Model UN, and from grow your own workshops and animal welfare stalls by Transition and AW Society to veg box schemes and much more besides, with the Environment Team hosting a successful Fairtrade bake sale, which raised £90 for the Fairtrade Foundation and generated awareness across the student body.
The Environment Team also invited Fife Diet to bring their smoothie bike along, allowing students to spend an afternoon outside the Union in the sunshine making delicious smoothies from local fruit by pedal power.
Green Week culminated in a conference event called Reclaim Energy, hosted by One World Society and People and Planet, with guest speakers from many different organisations.
Lauren King, an organiser of the day’s event, who has been working on an anti Tar Sands campaign nationally, had this to say about it:
“Reclaim Energy Day brought together passionate campaigners from across the UK, some from as far as Oxford and Brighton, to share ideas and motivation about campaigning on climate change in St Andrews Students’ Association this Sunday.
“The issues of Arctic drilling, Tar Sands and Fracking may seem a bit of a random focus for an event – but it is clear these unconventional fuels are the new challenge to environmentalists, releasing huge amounts of carbon and gases into the atmosphere. They are damaging the local environment and impacting communities – not just locally but globally.
“The day began with a powerful plenary by Villo Lelkes on ‘Ecocide’ – large scale environmental destruction that campaigners hope to make the fifth law against peace. Philippa de Boissiere and Louise Hazan from People and Planet network, the largest student campaigning network in the UK, introduced the problem of unconventional fuels.
“There were five workshops throughout the day – The Arctic Oil Ruch & Scotland hosted by Paul Daly from Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace St Andrews; Taking on the Tar Sands by Ruthi Brandt from UK Tar Sands Network; Challenging Fracking in Scotland; Taking action against New Coal by Coal Action Scotland; Tar Sands Free Europe by People and Planet climate campaign coordinators.
“I decided to organise this event because I feel there needs to be more communication between the different campaigning groups working on unconventional fuels and climate change issues. There are lots of us, but we can sometimes get caught up in our own campaigns that we forget the bigger picture – we forget that damaging resource extraction is happening all over the world, and even more locally than we may imagine.
“The day ended with an open space, in which anyone could bring ideas and set up a discussion group. People were able to move freely between different topics. Issues that were covered including: coal bed methane in Scotland, starting an unconventional fuels group in St Andrews, green economy and the ecocide campaign, among others. Organisers hope that these discussions will continue and evolve throughout the year, ready for the People and Planet unconventional fuels campaign to take off in 2013.”
“It was inspiring to meet young activists from across Scotland” said Philippa de Boissiere, People and Planet Tar Sands Campaign coordinator, “and to explore the potential for action in the face of increasingly extreme forms of energy extraction. From Canadian Tar Sands and the arctic to local coal bed methane projects, the event provided the space to engage with complex underlying issues and consequences. It was great to strategise with young people in this way.”
Photos from the event can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ricjl/8067626730/
The Environment Team would like to thank everyone who organised events, and to Nate Ruby and David Bowers for coordinating.