Organised by the Climate Coalition, the Great Big Green Week will run from 18th to 26th September and aims to biggest event for climate and nature ever in the UK. Thousands of events are due to take place across the UK to celebrate how people are taking action to tackle climate change and protect green spaces.
In Leicester, the city council has successfully bid for funding to host a week of activities aimed at children and young people and offer grants for local schools and groups to hold their own events.
The week’s activities launch in Leicester on Monday 20th September with a four-day green-themed film festival at Phoenix cinema. All screening will be free of charge for schoolchildren and their families and friends, but tickets must be booked in advance.
Then, on Tuesday 21st September, schools will take part in a UN-style climate conference hosted by the city council. The young delegates will be invited to represent a range of countries present their nation’s pledges on climate action in the morning, before taking part in activities based on Leicester’s Climate Emergency Action Plan in the afternoon.
Leicester’s week of activities will culminate in a schools’ climate action march to a celebratory plastic-free picnic in Abbey Park on Friday 24th September, where they will be making their own climate action pledges to share with the major UN climate summit, COP26, due to hosted by the UK in Glasgow this November.
The week will also feature awards and celebration events for the Jane Goodall Roots and Shots program ‘Letter to the Future’ competition and the city council’s Eco-Schools and Food for Life schemes.
Great Big Green Week in Leicester has been organised by city council’s environmental education team, which is also helping local schools lead the way in the national Eco-Schools Green flag scheme. In total, 52 schools in the city – including primary, secondary and special schools – now have an Eco-Schools Green Flag – the highest number in any local authority area in England.
The Eco-Schools Green Flag – handed out by Keep Britain Tidy – recognises excellence in schools across a wide range of environmental activity. For example, projects which reduce waste or energy in schools, help pupils learn more about living sustainably, or examine environmentally-friendly ways of travelling to school could all contribute towards a Green Flag.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transport, said: “The forthcoming COP26 summit in Glasgow this year means the UK has a real opportunity to raise its ambitions in terms of the action it is taking on climate change.
“I know personally that our schoolchildren want to hold decision-makers to account. Hosting the city’s first ever young people’s climate assembly played an important part in the development of our local response to the climate emergency.
“In Leicester, we so proud that our schools and children engage so meaningfully with issues around the climate emergency and nature conservation. We wanted to celebrate this during the Great Big Green Week, and make sure that our young people’s voices are heard as part of this national call for action on climate change.”
Schools can still apply for mini-grants of £100 to host their own events and activities within their school or local community. More information is available at https://schools.leicester.gov.uk/GBGW