University celebrates Environment Week 2013

August 13 / 117

Students at The Climate Movement and Coal Communities Workshop.
Students at The Climate Movement and Coal Communities Workshop.

The Melbourne University Student Union’s (UMSU) Environment Department hosted a range of events in August to celebrate Environment Week 2013 and the ways in which students and staff engage with the environment.

Environment Week included workshops, presentations, film screenings and other activities covering a wide range of environmental topics, such as climate change, forest protection, ethical eating and sustainable agriculture.

The week also included themes such as Indigenous Australian water rights, gender politics for activists and gentrification of lived environments.

UMSU Environment Officer and co-director of Environment Week Vicky Fysh said a central principal of the week was the recognition that environmental issues cannot be isolated from issues such as sexism, racism, and classism.

“The week is designed to meet the needs of a diverse range of people, from those who have been involved in environmental activism and lifestyles for a long time to those who are just finding out about these issues,” Ms Fysh said.

“One of the most exciting workshops was an introduction to permaculture given by an ex-University of Melbourne student, Ari Heart. The workshop had a great turnout. Most people did not know a great deal about permaculture so it was a great learning experience with many fascinating revelations.”

The Environment Department hosts various events and activities during the year such as ‘Ride to Uni’ free breakfasts, and ‘Play with Your Food’, a free weekly vegan dinner.

Ms Fysh said students could eat and shop at the Food Co-op in Union House, which was another place to meet fellow environmentalists while also exploring non-commercial, low food impact options.

“If folks are interested in sustainable gardening and agriculture, they can also become involved with the Melbourne University Community (MUC) Garden. They can learn how to grow vegetables, herbs and other edible plants, harvest food, save seeds and compost,” she said.

“If students would like to become more directly involved in environmental activism, they can join the Environment Collective meetings and be part of a campaign. This year, we are focusing on Fossil Free MU, a campaign to divest the University of Melbourne from fossil fuels.

“It would be great to broaden the audience of Environment Week. We would love to have academic and non-academic staff along as well as students from all parts of the University,” she said.

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