The green conference for locals and students alike

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Held on the 13th and 14th of June, Footprint is a student organised conference which aims to generate discussions on climate change. Indigo caught up with this year’s organisers, Will Jollans and Jess Chadwick, to ask what the conference entailed, why they were organising it and what they hoped to achieve.

What is Footprint?

Footprint is a free environmental conference that aims to foster open discussions between staff, students and local residents of Durham City around climate change. The aim is to create a creative forum and welcoming environment where people can feel comfortable discussing many different aspects of climate change, such as sustainable fashion, philanthropy and technological solutions.

We hope that opening up the conversation to all parts of the Durham community will encourage greater collaboration and a more environmentally aware and active city.

How did Footprint come about?

Footprint was started last year by Sarah Mercer and Matthew Warren, this year however we have moved it outside of the University and into the Town Hall in the hope of making it a more inclusive, community-focused event. Hopefully this will bring a larger audience as a result.

Sarah started Footprint as a climate change conference with a heavy emphasis on discussion and audience participation. Rather than being lectured at, Footprint aims to foster discussion between audience and speakers with all being on the same level.

What do you hope to achieve with the conference?

The main aim is to generate a discussion on climate change with a wide range of people, hopefully this will remove the taboos surrounding climate change discussions. We’d like to encourage people to make a difference in whatever way they can and inform them about the many aspects of their life affected by climate change that they otherwise wouldn’t have thought about.

For example, a lot of people don’t acknowledge or realise that climate change is already having an effect upon our lives: last year $135 billion was paid out in insurance due to climate-related issues, another $195 billion is estimated to have been lost altogether.

What will happen at the Conference?

The conference compromises of a two-day event, running 10am to 5pm and held in Durham’s historic Town Hall, and will be constituted of speeches, workshops and art pieces. The aim is to have speakers from both a local and national level, from a variety of sectors and backgrounds to speak about how climate change will affect their fields.

For example, we have a workshop from the local REfUSE café who are discussing how to use food that is being thrown out or is unnecessarily past its sell-by date. Moreover, we have a group called ‘Climate Conversations’ coming to help educate attendees on how to talk to people about the issue of climate change.

There will also be talks from the likes of Mike Berners-Lee – author of ‘There’s no Planet B’ – who is a leading expert in carbon footprinting. As well as the UK CEO of the Global Green Grants Fund, who have donated $71 million to climate change issues since 1993.

How can students get involved?

The best way for students to get involved is to come along to the conference – it’s free! If you wish to attend, you can sign up for your ticket now.

If you’d like to help out on the day or with the conference, then please contact us as all help is greatly appreciated.

Visit the Footprint website for tickets and information; alternatively, contact footprintconference@gmail.com

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