The first York Environment Week will run from 28 November – 6 December with more than 20 online events showcasing the range of environmental activities and groups in and around York.
Organised under the themes of energy, food, nature, resources and waste, and transport and travel, the wide-ranging programme encompasses eco-housing, Doughnut Economics, the history of Amsterdam’s cycling revolution, flood risk management, the environmental impact of mobile phones and much more.
Researcher and environmental writer Mike Berners-Lee, author of the ground-breaking (and recently updated and expanded) book, ‘How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything’ and ‘There is No Planet B’ will also be giving a keynote for an event launching a revitalised One Planet York.
Other events during the week take a ‘how to’ approach, looking at haybox cooking, draught-proofing your home and creating small solar power systems.
York Environment Week is also an opportunity to learn about the work of groups and organisations, including St Nicks Environment Centre, Good Food York, Edible York, York Greenways, Extinction Rebellion York and York Community Energy.
The festival, which coincides with National Tree Week, originally had 15 planned outdoor events for people to take part in practical activities tending to trees, but these have had to be postponed due to a second national lockdown. However there are still opportunities to learn about and celebrate trees through virtual events including a guide to New Earswick’s trees, a chance to learn about Rowntree Park Forest School and an introduction to a community tree planting scheme from Greener Pocklington, as well as an event on the “Slow the Flow” programme to help reduce downstream flood impacts through upland tree planting.
Trees – and housing design – were a passion of campaigner and long-serving York Environment Forum secretary, Philip Crowe, who was a founding member of Treemendous York and York Tomorrow (set up to oppose the Coppergate II scheme). A special event is being held to commemorate architect and illustrator Philip, who died on 13 September, bringing together architects Richard Partington (of York’s Derwenthorpe development) and David Mikhail, who has been commissioned to design York’s pioneering Housing Development Programme of around 600 homes to Passivhaus standard.
The programme has been put together by members of York Environment Forum and aims to celebrate and promote the work of local environmental groups and amplify “The voice for the environment in York”.
The Forum’s Chair, Penny Bainbridge, said: “We know the environment – built and natural – is a big concern for York people. A recent survey showed York is the greenest city in the UK in terms of residents’ eco-friendly habits.
“David Attenborough’s huge following shows that people want to know what they can do and learn practical, sustainable things to make the living world a better place.
“We hope York Environment Week will help them to do that, and to connect the global problems of species extinction, climate change and environmental degradation to positive solutions that they can get involved with locally.
“We want to show just how much work is already going on in and around the city. There are so many groups full of passionate, knowledgeable people, and they don’t always get the credit – or the support – that they need and deserve. We want York Environment Week to shine a light on them.”
Organisers also want the week of activities and events to create further momentum for implementing York’s climate emergency target of net-zero emissions by 2030, as well as establishing the foundation for a bigger festival in 2021 in advance of the UN climate conference COP26, to be held in Glasgow in November.
Many events will be recorded and uploaded to the YEW YouTube channel so that they are available to watch again, which is also designed to create a legacy of resources and information.
Listings for all events will go live on Sunday 8 November on www.yorkenvironmentweek.org.uk
All events are organised by, and the responsibility of the individual groups running them and require pre-booking.
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