The UK is due to host a major climate summit in November – COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties.
The conference is a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change, bringing together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree co-ordinated international action against climate change. The conference is a big chance to call for the UK to take faster and more decisive action. But what opportunities are there to get involved and make your voice heard?
This September, the Climate Coalition is running The Great Big Green Week, a nationwide grassroots event, and the biggest climate change focussed event the UK has ever seen. We’ve listed events happening in the Chilterns below, as well as online opportunities and volunteering opportunities at the bottom of this article.
‘Good planets are hard to find’ Print by Hannah McCague
18th – 27th September is also Landscapes for Life Week – an annual celebration of all things AONB (Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty), and this year’s theme is climate change, and landscapes and language. Follow us on social media to see more.
What’s on in the Chilterns for The Great Big Green Week?
Berkhamstead Big Green Week
Sat 18th Sept – Sunday 26th September, Civic Centre
A week long programme of events bringing together local people and groups to explore how we can get to net zero emissions as soon as possible. The programme will include:
- Berkhamsted Live Goes Live (Wednesday 22nd September, 7:30 to 9:30pm)
- Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is (Thursday 23rd September, 6 to 7pm)
- The Berko Beer Fest Green Comedy Night (Friday 24th September, 6 to 9:30pm)
- Look for updates on the many other informative and fun events happening in and around Berkhamsted between 18th and 26th September here.
Wallingford Great Big Green Week
Sat 18th September from 9am – 1pm
Market Place, Wallingford
Local green groups, businesses and community organisations will have stalls in the Market Place. Discover what’s been happening in your town and how you can get involved. There’ll be no speeches or lectures, just fun activities and conversations.
Includes a Pop Up Exhibit by Ayres House Studios Sat 18th Sept from 9am – 1pm in the marketplace
Local artists will be sharing new art work reflecting on observations of nature. See a mosaic made from recycled broken china, striking drawings and more
Left: ‘Starry, Starry Night Tree’ – Pique assiette wall plaque made from unwanted, broken china and reclaimed plywood by Cracktpot Jo. Right: ‘Heart of Nature’ – Drawing by Karen Goonewardene Artists at Ayres House Studio in Wallingford
Arts workshops from 18 – 26 Sept at Ayres House Studios, Station Rd, Wallingford OX10 0JZ
Throughout the week, Ayre House Studios will be putting on a programme of arts workshops that you can join, from mindfulness to weaving to mosaics, and engaging with climate change through art. Some of the creations made in these workshops will be shared in their November exhibit, ART-COP26.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
The Last of the Honeybees
St Mary Le More Church, marketplace, Sat 18th Sept Wallingford 11am – 12.30pm
Learn about the history of the extinction of feral honey bee colonies in Cholsey, and a local company’s work to stop this happening anywhere else.
Tolhurst Organic Farm Walk for the Public
Sat 18th September
A chance to visit one of the longest running organic farms in England and gain an understanding of organic farming methods. Tolhurst Farm has held the organic soil association symbol for 30 years and also the ‘stock free organic’ status since 2004. This Farm Walk is aimed at interested public, growers, researchers & students and is also a way to mark Organic September.
£20 per person, places limited to 20. Hardwick Estate, Whitchurch-on-Thames, South Oxfordshire, RG8 7RA.
Contact Tolhurst Organic Farm via the website to book.
Nature Alliance Climate Crisis Event for Young People and their Families
Sat 18th September 2 – 4pm at Lindengate, Aylesbury Rd, Wendover, HP22 6BD
An event for young people from Buckinghamshire to have their concerns and voices heard. Visit the stunning 5 acre site at Lindengate and take part in a climate change photobooth, bring something for the clothing exchange and make a placard.
Henley’s Vanishing Species Treasure Hunt
18th – 26th Sept Henley Town Centre
All week, Henley’s town centre shops will dress their windows with pictures British endangered species for families to hunt for. Henley library are putting on a British wildlife and habitats display in the library windows too, by members of the Toad Patrol and Hedgehogs group.
There will also be themed menus at The Watercolour Café, the Little Angel in White Hill, Geo Café and Sage and Squash.
Sat 25th Sept – Great Green Bazaar in Henley Market Place will showcase community green schemes with stalls selling fairly traded produce.
Read more here:
Find more updates on Great Big Green Week events in Oxfordshire on the Green Week Oxon website, here.
The Chess Valley Challenge
Sunday 26th September variable start times
Challenge yourself, friends and family to walk the 10 mile Chess Valley Walk from Rickmansworth to Chesham – and raise funds for the Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to help protect local wildlife. Find out more, register and start fundraising here.
Big Green Week Bulb Planting in Watlington
Image by Sole D’Alessandro G (Unsplash)
26 Sep, 1pm
Watlington, Recreation Ground, Love Ln, Watlington OX49, UK
Come and join the bulb planting party on the ‘rec’, to raise awareness of the COP 26 United Nations Conference in Glasgow. Then enjoy some refreshments and camaraderie! Watlington In Bloom in association with Watlington Climate Action Group have gained permission of the Parish Council to plant bulbs in the Recreation Ground.
Build a Bug Hotel with Chesham in Bloom
Sat 25th September Lowndes Park
Bring along pine cones, moss, dry leaves, straw, twigs and moss, and help build a bug hotel for your local park. Contact Chesham in Bloom via facebook for more info.
Can’t Attend Events? Webinars, pledges and ways to make a difference in your own back garden:
Fight Climate with Trees – free Woodland Trust webinars for adults and young people:
image by Simon Wilkes (Unsplash)
How to plant free trees for the Big Climate Fightback
7pm Monday 20 September 2021
You can now order free trees to plant with your community next March for the Big Climate Fightback! Join us to find out how to order trees, where you can plant your trees, and what to consider on planting day.
How to be a young campaigner: fight climate change with trees (18-24 year olds)
7pm Thursday 23 September 2021
Calling all young activists! Learn how to campaign for climate action in your community by fighting for woods and trees, and hear about opportunities to campaign with us during COP26 this November.
RSPB online events
The RSPB is running events on gender equality and the fight for our planet, racial justice and the fight for people, nature and our planet, and disability rights and environment.
Year round things you can do:
Small Actions: Make a Pledge for our Planet with the Soil Association
Not sure where to start? Start small! The soil association offers a chance to Make a Pledge for our Planet and the website is full of ideas for tiny actions and small changes you can make in everyday life to help combat climate change. Pledges range from little changes around fashion and lifestyle, food and diet and Zero Waste – and you can choose the pledges that suit you. Visit the website to make a pledge.
Gardening for Change
Here’s an article on gardening to combat climate change from the RHS explaining how you can combat the causes and effects of climate breakdown in your own garden through creating diversity, saving water, going peat free with your compost and even planting climbers to cool your house down!
Want to help protect our green spaces and wildlife all year round? Why not volunteer with our partner organisations and learn conservation skills and knowledge?
Chiltern Rangers offer fantastic opportunities for conservation volunteering. There’s a Green Thursday conservation group and chances to be a volunteer warden or office volunteer.
For young people aged 15-20, our very own Chilterns New Shoots free conservation programme will recruit for its new programme from 2022-23.
The Chiltern Society also has regular opportunities and vacancies for volunteers as footpath wardens, fundraisers, leaflet droppers and more.
You can also join local community climate change action groups such as Sustainable Wallingford and Watlington Climate Action.