Local councillor declares climate emergency

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The Extinction Rebellion Leicester protestors outside the Town Hall.

By Beatriz Ferreira and Isobel Rix

A leading Leicester City councillor has declared a climate emergency following a meeting with campaign group Extinction Rebellion Leicester at the Town Hall on Thursday night (JAN24).

The decision was made public by Councillor Adam Clarke, the Deputy City Mayor with responsibility for the Environment, on his Twitter page.

The activists’ ultimate aim is a national declaration of a climate emergency as they believe this will unlock the required policy changes and funds.

The group believes that Leicester should help by demonstrating successful climate change emergency initiatives.

After being recognised as Britain’s first Environment City, Leicester has now joined 15 other councils around the country which have already declared a climate emergency.

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The Extinction Rebellion Leicester protestors outside the Town Hall.

A member of Extinction Rebellion Leicester said: “[declaring a climate emergency will show] whether the city council will be prepared to create a citizens assembly to have an informed debate on the ecological collapse we are facing, to get to a carbon neutral future, cut pollution and waste, and attempt to rebuild our democracy to sense the interests of the population.”

He outlined the importance of getting younger generations involved: “The more students we target the better, it is their future we are talking about. This is happening now. We are staring the abyss in the face.”

Extinction Rebellion Leicester issued a statement on its Facebook page after the meeting: “The conclusion of the council’s meeting today in short was that Deputy City Mayor Councillor Clarke declared a climate emergency. These were positive words but XR Leicester will now be pursuing definite commitments from the council to recognise the urgency of our situation. A good start but more work to do. Watch this space!”

 

Leicester City Council recycling service encourages student power at DMU to reduce waste and save money

By Alexander Hodgkins-Jones

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Common items found in student accommodations such as glass bottles, aluminium bottles and cardboard can be recycled

The Orange Bag Recycling Service is reminding De Montfort University students that they can play their part to help the environment, after a recent Leicester City Council study showed that 67 per cent of Leicester’s black binbag waste could have gone somewhere better.

The study looked at the contents of black binbags from several hundred homes across the city, finding that 14 per cent could have been put in the service’s free orange bags.

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Bins aren’t all rubbish             Credit: Leicester City Council

Jodie Angold, Service Development Officer for Waste Management at Leicester City Council, said: “We give free information [regarding recycling] at the freshers fair; it can be challenging though, as we know students are bombarded with adverts and messages and bins aren’t as exciting as free food!”

Talking about bins isn’t all rubbish though as recycling can have a massive impact on both the environment and potentially on your pocket.

The Orange Bag Service provides free recycling bags to most households in Leicester, meaning students need not fork out for reams of black binbags to rid themselves of perfectly recyclable cans and bottles which are so often a staple of undergraduate life.

Students in halls can simply empty their rinsed recyclable waste directly into the orange lidded communal bins – no black bags required.

Recycling goes towards helping the environment by reducing landfill and saving energy.

If every student recycled one more drink can it would power a library for over a month, which is certainly one way to get your dissertation done.

With students leaving accommodation over the next few months, Jodie also offered sage advice regarding a problem regularly seen by the council.

She said: “Students often struggle with extra waste when they leave properties, but the council offers free bulky waste collection, where up to five items of furniture or waste can be removed.

“If these items are left on the street, students can be fined for fly tipping.”

The message is clear – reduce, reuse and recycle.

For more information on what you can recycle and how to get yourself some orange bags please go to: www.leicester.gov.uk/your-environment/recycling-and-waste/reduce-and-reuse/recycling-for-students

Meet Leicester’s new up-and-coming comedy group

By Tristan Bryant

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Pictured: Joseph Johnson (left), Luke Sterland, and Tarun Chelley (right)

A mostly-local, progressive and diverse group of comedians are raising money for five charities.

Comedy Village is a group of 12 comedians, all equal to one another, who organise their own events and donate the money they make to five charities.

They performed last night (FRI JAN25) at Blue’s Bar and Grill in Raw Dykes Road, Leicester, and were raising money for St Andrew’s Play Association and New Park’s Play Association.

Joseph Johnson, Luke Sterland and Tarun Chelley gave us their thoughts on the cause.

Joseph, “I am one of the comedians, the villagers as we like to call each other.

“We all meet up as friends, we tell our jokes… we grow together as comedians and support each other – and we all have sex.

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“It’s more of a PR builder than for profit… a word-spreader if you will.

“I’m feeling good about the whole thing, I enjoy the atmosphere… I have fun.”

Luke Sterling is looking to see how far the group can take it. He said: “I would love to give up my day job for it, I really would.”

“Comedy is a difficult circuit to try and break into… unless you’re gonna do something new.”

He believes that’s what Comedy Village is, adding: “We’ve all got different styles, focusing on issues close to the bone.”

Tarun Chelley chimed in: “I’ve done plays… I’ve written novels, I’m trying to move away… to a solo act.

“Its freer… it’s your own material and you find out quickly if it doesn’t work.

“Comedy is harsh but harsh in a good way. Be as silly as possible, that’s how we are.”

Comedy Village will be back at Blue’s Bar on February 22, tickets cost £20.

Leicester Comedy Festival returns for 26th year

By Samuel Gill

Leicester Comedy Festival is set to return for a 26th year with as usual big names aplenty descending on the month-long event known to many as a mini Edinburgh.

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Acts include Josh Widdicombe and Jason Manford as well the likes of Russell Howard, Nish Kumar and Tom Rosenthal all performing Work in Progress shows before arena dates and/or Edinburgh at the end of the year.

Also the likes of Jo Brand and Tom Allen are taking part in the annual A Conversation With.. shows which take place at Curve Theatre and attract large crowds to see the big names in comedy interviewed by Festival Director Geoff Rowe.

Shows take place at intimate venues such as The Cookie and Firebug as well as the likes of De Montfort Hall and the aforementioned Curve, giving comedy fans the chance to see stars in both an intimate and larger setting over the course of the festival.

Mr Rowe spoke to Leicestershire Press about the festival and what it means to him going into it’s 26th year.

“I think it’s the way it helps to bring the city alive,” he said.

“People tell me the buzz about Leicester during the festival, the excitement, the energy around it are all things that make it special to me after a long time.”

In terms of who to look out for this year, he spoke of how all shows are seen as big as each other.

“We don’t have headline acts, all 840 shows are as important to each other. So for some people Nish Kumar or Jason Manford will be the highlight.

“While some people will get excited about the smaller venues and the smaller acts so I think it’s important the festival doesn’t have a headline act.”

Staff and students react to De Montfort University’s digital detox

By Luke Pawley

Students and staff members have provided positive feedback after De Montfort University launched a ‘digital detox’ last week.

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Journalism students Samuel Gill and Andre Sobol ignore their mobiles to engage in the art of conversation.

All of the university’s social media channels fell silent for a period of six days – from January 16 to 21 – in a bid to improve social inclusivity and promote positive mental health.

Speaking about the initiative, first year Journalism student James Wynn said: “I’ve not really engaged with the digital detox, to be honest. Because of the fact that I study Journalism, it’s hard for me to avoid social media in the modern age, really.

“Although I can see why the university have done it and I do think it’s a really good idea. People can get too tied up in social media sites and it’s always beneficial to take a step back and pay attention to the ‘real world’ for a while.”

The university launched a range of #HealthyDMU activities to encourage everyone at the university to focus on their well-being.

Vice-Chancellor Dominic Shellard praised the positive impacts of the digital detox, although he conceded that his eyes have been opened to his bad social media habits.

“I’ve also realised that I do some bad things with social media. Particularly waking up first thing in the morning and the first thing I do is check my Twitter feed and late at night I scroll through and wonder why my brain is racing when I’m trying to go to sleep.

“It’s been a tremendous thing for me to do and made me think about re-calibrating my relationship with my Twitter feed. But I won’t come off Twitter completely because I see it as a wonderful source of news and I’ve really missed that.”

The detox has opened up some new hobbies to some students and staff members, with origami, mindfulness and Tai-Chi sessions well attended over the six-day detox period.