Meet the YEW organising team

As we move closer to the deadline for event submissions for York Environment Week 2023, we wanted to share a little more about us – the people behind the programme.

We’re a small team with different backgrounds and motivations, but we all care passionately about environmental issues and the natural world. Read on to find out more about why we’ve all chosen to get involved with YEW…

Maddie Brace: “I’ve found doing something practical can relieve some of the weight of climate anxiety that so many of us experience. If for no other reason than your own wellbeing, get involved in a group or event and try to make a difference for the better – you’ll feel less alone, less afraid, and might have fun!”

Kate Hignett: “It’s about joining the dots. There’s lots of community environmental activity going on across York and it needs to be more visible. Taking part in YEW is one way to do this. YEW showcases how members of the community in York are working hard to do their bit on climate change. We want to celebrate them, and inspire many more to join them.”

Kay Harrison: “York Environment Week is now in its fourth year and has fast become a staple of the city’s festival line-up. I love that it makes talking about, and taking action on, the climate crisis a more accessible and less daunting prospect – whether that means getting your hands stuck into home-gardening for the first time or learning more about climate activism. There are lots of groups in York who do amazing things to help us protect our planet, and bringing them together during York Environment Week is a great way to help people discover a new community of like-minded people – and maybe even a new hobby!”

Debby Cobbett: “I have been involved with YEW in different ways since it started in 2020 and see no reason to stop now as we need to work as hard as we can to build a healthier, fairer and greener world.”

Catherine Love-Smith: “Since moving to York, I’ve always been looking for more ways to support climate action and to celebrate and protect the natural environment. When confronting the climate and ecological crisis, it can often feel overwhelming and it’s easy to wonder what you can possibly do as an individual. The great thing about York Environment Week – and one of the reasons I’ve got involved this year – is that it connects people and organisations who want to take action. Working together, I believe we can have so much more of an impact.”

Adam Myers: “The natural world has been an important part of my life, the backdrop to my day to day living and the focus of holidays. I am acutely aware of the loss of biodiversity in my lifetime, and the environmental crisis. As I became involved in protest about climate change, I felt the attention was more on climate than on the parallel ecological crisis. I was aware that I was unusual in my connection and understanding of nature. And then I heard there was the possibility that there would not be a York Environment Week this year. I felt that it was crucial in the current context and I advocated strongly that YEW should happen. Having advocated strongly for it, I felt I had to put my energy into backing what I said was so important. So here I am, doing my best to support YEW23 to happen.”

If you feel inspired to get involved yourself, why not host an event in YEW 2023? It’s a great way to reach out and connect with like-minded people in the city. If you want to talk to us about your ideas, you can contact us on email or social media. Or if you already have an event in mind, simply fill out the online form.

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!

York Environment Week 2023 – Call for Events

York Environment Week will be returning in 2023 for its 4th year, running from Saturday 23 September to Sunday 1 October. Our Call for Events will be launched on Thursday 8 June, for all groups who would like to get involved.

We have partnered with York CliConnect, a project funded by York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI) at the University of York, for this event and hope to see you there!

Click here to visit the event page and reserve your free ticket.

Read the press release here.