About YEW

York Environment Weeks 2024 (YEWs24) is the fifth annual city-wide festival aimed at showcasing and celebrating the work of environment groups active in York. 

YEWs24 offers groups and organisations the opportunity to work together to promote environmental activity, and to access shared publicity through the YEWs programme. 

YEWs is for anyone who cares about protecting local nature, increasing biodiversity, thinking about  the impact of the built environment  and making the city more sustainable. The programme makes it easier for all those interested in making York a greener place to find out more about how to get started and who and what can help.

YEWs24 is run by a core group of volunteers and if you would like to join us then do message us on info@yorkenvironmentweek.org.uk.

In previous years, thousands of people have participated (in person or online) in YEW events. Event organisers reported that participants’ feedback showed many were planning to change behaviour such as volunteering, joining a group or going to future events. A further positive outcome for participants was the ‘networking’ – finding out about groups, activities and services that were new to them. 

Groups organise and host their own events, offering them for free to all, though many ask for donations. We believe that everyone can be involved in engaging with environmental issues and so we encourage a wide range of organisations to contribute. Last year’s festival included everything from spoken word and yoga to events focused on the role of trade unions and the medical and social impact of climate change.

This year the festival will be spread over four weeks from 14th September to 12th October. And for the first time, in tandem with York Climate Commission (www.yorkclimate.org.uk), we will have a ‘festival within the festival’ of ‘York Opens Green Spaces’ (the weekends of 28th/29th September and 5th/ 6th October), where organisations that are protecting and enhancing green spaces in and around York can open up their land to visitors.

As we live through this time of climate emergency and ecological collapse, YEWs24 is an opportunity for people to engage with and understand the environment and our impact on it. This is a crucial step towards supporting and engaging with the positive actions that are urgently needed to mitigate the impact of climate change and address the crisis in nature.

YEW is organised by York Environment Forum (YEF). 

The Forum is a member-led organisation established over 10 years ago, and plays an active role in local consultation processes, as well as taking a proactive stance on engagement with topical environmental issues. YEF’s aims are to comment on policies and strategic issues in York that affect the built and natural environment; to encourage community initiatives that improve sustainability; and to enable information exchange and networking.

Traditionally, the Forum has functioned as a ‘critical friend’ to the Council, commenting and writing reports on policies and strategies as they relate to York’s environment. Each political party represented on City of York council may nominate a non-voting representative to be part of YEF. 

YEF is open to all groups and individuals who are interested in environmental issues and how they affect York. More information and how to apply for a membership can be found here.