Great Big Green Week is the UK's celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature". Each word is important.
First "celebration". The situation is so severe, and even though we can still escape the worst, it often seems so bleak, that we need to celebrate. Then "UK's". It is national, not just a local jamoree. We all need to pull together, to work together; there is much to be done. And it celebrates "community action"; the pulling together that is already starting.
So in Shaftesbury and Donheads, in Gillingham and Tisbury, in Motcombe and other areas nearby, local organisers are organising events for our community hub, one hub amongst many across the nation. It has never been easier to fight climate change or the biodiversity crisis. Each person you tell about Great Big Green Week is one point for the good guys. And each event you attend is one point; two if you tell someone else that you are going! It is too late now for individuals tweaking their lifestyle to do enough to stop climate change. Community action is the only thing that can do it.
The heart of this is the Green Vigil. Part of the Green Vigil is the Green Vigil Candlelight Walk which takes place each evening of Great Big Green Week. Tesco have agreed to pop a tea light in any green jam jar presented to them at the start of the candlelight walk, which will then start at Tesco's main entrance. The walk will continue fairly slowly to the Town Hall. The idea is that during the walk, the walkers keep their thoughts on climate change and the nature crisis.
Sir David Attenborough said "If working apart we are a force powerful enough to destabilise our planet, surely working together we are powerful enough to save it". Let Great Big Green Week be your "way in". Join the celebration. Coming to a GBGW event is one of the best things you can do. Talking to friends about climate change is the best. And if you don't feel you know enough facts, try here. And if you want to consider further, look at Planet Shaftesbury's website here. Planet Shaftesbury is a network of individuals who are concerned about climate breakdown and the ecological emergency is the driving force behind Great Big Green Week Shaftesbury. You can see their web site here.
If you have a request, offer or suggestion then please email chris@GreatBigGreenWeekShaftesbury.org - You might want to run an activity, have a stall at the green market (if we have one), or just say "I don't have a partcular idea, but just want to help."
Great Big Green Week is about celebrating action taken by communities. It is concerned with climate change and the biodiversity crisis, and it is designed to give you a voice. If you love nature, if you have something to say, then please join the celebration. For specifics, just ask yourself "What do I really enjoy?"
Example 1: If you have an allotment, then you could show people around (remember it will be June), perhaps give some detail on how you grow the veg, tell them when you plant each type, do you use no-dig?, make them a cup of mint tea from the mint which you pick in front of their eyes, (many will not know that that is possible).
Example 2: The "here is one I made earlier" approach. Show off your garden, to give context. Have little pots of tasters and spoons so that people can connect with actual fresh taste. If even only one person notices the difference, it will have an enormous effect. Sir David Attenborough said " ... people were coming to care for the natural world, as they became aware of the natural world".
Example 3: If you keep bees then show people a hive inspection, perhaps offering honey from the comb.If you have a pond, offer pond dipping for children. Do you have a wormery? composting system. Team up with neighbours and have a mini begonia trail between three houses. Herbs; in taste and in healing
Whatever your connection is with nature, simply show it. Audiences will be friendly, on-side and eager to learn.
If you want to chat about ideas, please email email@example.com
> Admin: guide at wildlifetrusts.org/wildlife/how-identify. Consider meeting at local RSPB Reserve, Wildlife Trusts Nature Reserve or Woodland Trust Wood.
Hedgehog help – describe how to make a hedgehog box, make runway networks, talk about understanding and helping hedgehogs.
Nature Photography competition – sections for newts, bees, insects, general.
Green Man competition, Green Woman competition, Green Child competition.
Run demonstrations (with handout instructions) - of building bat boxes, hedgehog boxes, bird boxes.
Arts & Music Festival - singing, community singing, art (inc. Come & paint), poetry & haiku, drama.
Volunteers Gateway - organisations like Trees for Shaftesbury and Climate Change Activists .Org (we don't march, we plant trees) are always looking for extra hands to help fight climate change.
A sculpture which people can add to using natural materials or recyclable materials.
Give a talk – nature or climate change related.
Tea parties (mad hatters tea parties).
Green face painting.
Mindfulness groups in the grass.
Seeing the stars.
Name the plants competition.
Pollinator-friendly planting session.
Plastic-Free Picnic - meet, discuss climate issues, march to the picnic.
Recipes - to help you reduce food waste.
Litter Pick - finishing at a cafe or community hall (connect with the local council so they can collect the waste).
Homes & Heating - visit a local low-carbon home. greenopenhomes.net/about organise visits to people who have made energy saving improvements and who open up their homes to share their experiences.
Home activities - some for adults, some for children – stuff on the website, Internet research, playing a simple game, making a simple game, learn to identify local trees - guide at woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/british-trees/how-to-identify-trees/
Plot the trees - we need to collect tree seed to grow saplings to fight climate change. For a climate-changed SW England the Forestry Commission recommens Oak, Beech, Aspen, Wild Cherry, Sweet Chestnut and Norway Maple. Make a map of an area (perhaps print one out from Google Maps), and plot where examples of such trees grow in order to help seed collectors.
A Bake Off - nature themed.
A sponge cake competition – nature themed
GBGW has only been running for two years and internet research shows significant activity in GBGW in Barnet, Barton, Bedford, Berwick, Berkhamsted, Burton, Carlisle, Cumbria, Eynsham, Frome, Guildford, Henley, Kent, Kirby Lonsdale, Leicester, Lyme Regis, Marsh Gibbon, North Somerset, Oxfordshire, Salford, Stockton, Watford, Weston, Woking and Yately. This is growing quickly. If we get behind and push, it could be a really positive force.