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Pesticide-Free Cambridge Colleges Campaign 

Make your college greener, healthier, & more inclusive!

Synthetic pesticides – including herbicides and insecticides - are routinely used in and around the built environment, and in green spaces to treat unwanted vegetation and insects. However, pesticides are damaging to the environment; they are also a public health and disability rights issue. Together with other harmful practices such as over-mowing, they are a major cause of biodiversity loss, and by killing off invertebrates they also drive other animals such as hedgehogs and birds towards extinction. Pesticide exposure is linked to cancers, and Parkinson’s disease, as well as  chronic conditions such as autism and ME/CFS. Young people and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to pesticide injury, while low-dose exposure can present access and inclusion challenges for people with allergies and sensitivity-related conditions.


For the last few years, Pesticide-Free Cambridge has been working with Cambridge City Council and other stakeholders to make the city pesticide-free (find out more about our other campaigns here).  It is now joining forces with Cambridge Climate Society to tackle ongoing pesticide-use in Cambridge’s colleges so as to complement the council’s own Herbicide Reduction Plan. 

While the manicured lawn has become part of the iconic Cambridge look, the current trend of the mono-species lawn devoid of buttercups and daisies is generally the result of excessive mowing, watering, and the use of selective herbicides and fertilizers. Some colleges have made significant progress in this area, with some already having adopted organic gardening practices, while the King's College wildflower meadow is a triumph. It should be noted, however, that the remaining 60% of King's green estate is still managed with synthetic chemicals and regular


We are now inviting students from all constituent colleges of the University of Cambridge to sign up as College Student Reps to help to create healthier and more biodiverse environments in which you study and work.  Since our campaign began in January 2024, we now have 18 Student Reps from ten colleges. We held a preliminary information / training event on 31 January 2024, and will be holding a follow-up session on Thurs 26 April 2024.  To register your interest as a potential College Student Rep please complete the form below. You will then be contacted with further details about how to get involved in the campaign, and how to access this and other training/information events.

Please sign up using the Google Form here.    


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