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Your Guide to Environmental Initiatives

We all know that protecting the environment is the most important issue affecting our future. However, it’s a big topic, one that’s easy to feel overwhelmed about. It’s also easy to think “what difference can I make?”

This is where Environmental initiatives come in. These are a great source of information and inspiration – and also remind us that millions of people across the planet are getting involved too. There are so many, so here part 1 of your Guide to Environmental initiatives:

JANUARY

Veganuary – this doesn’t necessarily mean we all need to instantly give up eating all meat, fish and dairy. It could mean checking if your cleaning or beauty products are vegan. This feels like an easier place to start. You could also try cooking 1 vegan meal at home (although this isn’t something you need to wait until next Veganuary for!) Or if that feels too much, check if there’s a vegan option next time you’re eating out. It’s nowhere near as hard as you think. Pitta and houmous is vegan! A piece of fruit is vegan. Break down those barriers in your head and just take 1 step forward…

Big Garden Birdwatch – You’ll need to register ahead of these dates, then count the birds for one hour between the 26th and 28th January. Once you have your count, go online to the RSPB website and record what you saw. This helps us understand what species are increasing or decreasing and whether there are indicators as to why any changes are taking place.

FEBRUARY

World Wetlands day – this falls on 2nd Feb and is a day held to raise awareness about these rapidly decreasing and essential ecosystems. Wetlands help to clean our water and support a variety of wildlife. They also help to protect against flooding as well as protecting us against climate change due to storing carbon.

MARCH

World Wildlife day – on 3rd March we mark a day to celebrate wild animals and plants around the world. There are different events happening in different parts of the world. Keep an eye on the official website to find out what events are occurring near you.

The Great British Spring Clean – Organised by the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, The Great British Spring Clean is held between 15th and 31st March. It simply encourages everyone to clean up their community by picking up litter.

Global Recycling day – 18th March. This is another area that feels overwhelming. There is all the information you need in the UK on a website called Recycle Now. It gives you everything from explaining the different symbols on plastic packaging to a handy search facility that tells you where you can recycle specific items in your area.

World Water day – held on 22nd March. Every year, since 1993, the United Nations raises awareness about the importance of freshwater and the staggering 2.2 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to safe water. The main purpose of World Water Day is supporting the aim to provide everyone with water and sanitation by 2030.

APRIL

World Earth Day – 22nd April. Earth Day was first held in 1970 to show support for environmental protection. It came after a massive oil spill in California in 1969. The Earth Day Network works towards changing things for the better when it comes to: Climate Action, Science and Education, People and Communities, Conservation and Restoration and Plastic and Pollution.

Stop Food Waste day – 24th April.  Did you know that 33% of all food produced globally and 45% of root crops, fruit and vegetables produced globally is lost or wasted per year? 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions each year are due to food loss and waste. 25% of the food wasted around the world could feed all of the 795 million undernourished people in the world. There are so many simple things we can be doing to reduce this, such as having 1 or 2 ‘chuck it all in’ recipes. Meals like soups, curry’s, risottos, stir fry’s etc are all adaptable so you can use up any veg that’s nearly past it’s best.

MAY

Mend It May – it’s so easy just to throw things away when they break. Do you ever stop to see if something can be fixed first? Mend it May encourages us to think about what can be repaired. If you’re not sure whether you have the skills, look for your nearest Repair café as they are now popping up all over the country

No Mow May – Letting your lawn grow allows all the important dandelions and other wildflowers to flourish. These encourage our vital pollinators to your garden. As we know, bees numbers in particular are in serious decline. As we rely on pollinators for 1/3 of the food we grow, it’s vital we do all we can to support them. At the very least, we can leave a border or a few areas unmown for 1 month of the year.

World Bee day – 20th May. As explained above, bees are vital – and under threat. The widespread use of pesticides and insecticides, along with the appearance of the Asian hornet in the UK that kills dozens of bees a day are all contributing to the serious decline. Planting as many bee friendly flowers in your garden and creating a bee bath in the summer – a small dish filled with stones and water so the bees can drink safely – are easy things to do.

JUNE

30 Days Wild – The whole month of June is ’30 Days Wild’. 30 Days Wild was created by The Wildlife Trusts to help everyone be more connected with nature by doing something ‘wild’ every day. When you sign up you’re sent a digital pack with ideas for you and your family.

Let it Bloom June – Following on from No Mow May, is Let It Bloom June. Allow the flowers to grow in your garden and leave them be for the wildlife, and you, to enjoy.

World Environment Day – 5th June. This one needs no explanation! We rely on the environment for everything. When it’s health suffers, our does too. Chemicals, microplastics and pollution are all damaging the place we call home. Thinking about what we can change and taking control of living that little bit better, means we’re doing what we can for our future health and safety.

World Ocean day – 8th June. The official site suggests ways you can take action to support our oceans each month. It also helps you to visit or plan events in support of organisations that are doing incredible work to clean up the worlds water.

Great Big Green week – 8th to 16th June. The Great Big Green Week is the UK’s biggest ever celebration of community action to tackle climate change and protect nature.

World Refill day – 16th June. This is such an easy initiative to be a part of. Essentially, if you already own your own water bottle or reusable coffee cup, you’re taking part. So what else can you refill? Have you looked in to the nearest zero waste store? They’re so much more affordable that you realise, particularly for cupboard staples such as cereals, pasta and rice. To find your nearest store, head to localzerowaste.com. There’s also an app called Refill that shows you where you can top up your water bottle for free – so always remember to take it with you!

Clean Air day – 20th June. Air pollution is linked to 43,000 deaths per year in the UK alone. The Action for Clean air website has some useful resource for individuals, schools and businesses to help them tackle this issue.

World Rainforest day – 22nd June. World Rainforest Day celebrates the importance of healthy, standing rainforests for climate, biodiversity, culture, and livelihoods— and convenes a global movement to protect and restore them.” Working alongside a variety of rainforest organisations, indigenous groups, businesses and artists and creatives, World Rainforest Day has one purpose – “to spark action and drive resilient forest protection”.

There are many more, however this list should give you plenty of inspiration. Watch out for the next Blog which will look at initiatives for the rest of the year. Please remember – you are not in this alone!