What do YOU want YEW to do?

York Environment Week is about the city and its people. To begin tackling the multiple, interconnected issues that contribute towards the climate and ecological crisis, we need to bring as many people as possible on board. That’s why we’re keen to hear what local residents want from the YEW programme and to include a wide range of voices in this year’s week of city-wide green events.

We launched YEW2023 at the York CliConnect event on 8 June, where we asked other attendees: what do you want to see on the programme? We gathered responses from a range of people involved in climate education, communication and campaigning across the city. Here’s what they thought was important:

Exploring and connecting with local nature

The nature that we have on our doorsteps here in York is something that people were keen to celebrate. There were suggestions that the programme should include a workshop to co-create a game about the city’s biodiversity and events to explore wildlife in local green spaces.

Building connections with schools and universities

Education about the climate and environment is central to YEW and this is clearly something that residents also care about. At the CliConnect event there were multiple staff members and students from the city’s two universities, some of whom showed an appetite for hosting live events to share their knowledge. It was also suggested that YEW should connect with local schools and involve them in the programme.

Sharing resources on sustainable living

As well as raising awareness, some attendees were keen for YEW to provide practical advice for local people on how to live more sustainably. This might include talks and workshops on how to form community initiatives, such as those developed by Planet South Bank, as well as explaining what individuals can do.

Reaching out

We were challenged to engage with groups who may not usually feel involved or welcome in spaces talking about environmental issues. This is something we are keen to do better at this year, ensuring that these conversations include as many people and groups as possible.

Engaging with City of York Council

Politics plays a key role in responding to the climate and ecological crisis, both nationally and locally. Some attendees wanted to engage directly with City of York Council and its environmental policies, suggesting a series of online events throughout the programme. 

Taking action!

Finally, there was a clear desire for not just education and discussion, but tangible action. One attendee suggested that the programme could open with a large march to demonstrate how many of us in York care about the environment. There was also a suggestion of reviving the idea of a climate choir, who could perhaps be involved in a mass action and make it more impactful.

If you’ve been inspired by any of this, then please do get in touch. We’d love to hear more about what you want from YEW23 so we can do our best to deliver it in partnership with local groups and organisations. If you have thoughts on what you want to see in this year’s programme, or if you know of people and organisations we could be reaching out to, contact us by email or social media. Or – even better – apply to host an event yourself!