By Mark Ross, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Deadlines, illnesses, protests – what do Bristol students think of the week’s top stories?
Earlier this month, teenage members of Extinction Rebellion’s Youth Wing blockaded an Airport Flyer bus next to Temple Mead’s station.
The protesters were rallying against the ongoing plans for the expansion of Bristol airport, as well as the decreased funding to regular bus services in the city.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion Youth Bristol have blocked an Airport Flyer bus at Temple Meads pic.twitter.com/mQDpFM2XFn— Martin Booth (@beardedjourno) November 5, 2022
This is just one of several similar stunts that the group have coordinated recently. In March of this year, they staged a ‘die-in’ at the airport, where protestors played dead in the terminal.
In the context of similar activist groups carrying out equally disruptive and provocative protests – such as Just Stop Oil’s spoiling of Van Gogh’s masterpiece painting, ‘Sunflowers’ – eco-warriors are becoming a controversial topic of debate. Do these groups make a difference, or do they just invite acrimony and resentment towards a movement which needs all the support it can get?
The students have had their say.
For UoB students, the answer is ‘no’.
This is an unexpected response from a demographic traditionally affiliated with protest and activism.
Perhaps this reflects a growing feeling of powerlessness amongst students. The climate crisis is drastic and verging upon irreversible, leaving students feeling as if nothing – even the most extreme protests – will make a difference.
Or maybe students see this stunt as raising awareness of an issue which people already care about. As the Social Change Lab in London put it, ‘due to existing high levels of climate concern in the UK, it’s possible that broadly trying to increase concern for climate change is now less effective than it was in previous year’.
Fresher’s Flu has been and gone, but the turning weather has kept a cacophony of coughs and sniffles audible around campus.
And when students fall ill, the University’s GP doctor service is there to look after them.
In light of this, how satisfied are students with the health service’s current performance?
This response mirrors national statistics. According to the latest statistics, more people (41 per cent) in the UK were dissatisfied than satisfied with the NHS.
Whether we will see in improvement in satisfaction rates over the winter remains to be seen.
If you are struggling with wellbeing, both physical and mental, the university health service can be contacted here for support.