​Millions to take part in Great Big Green Week

Grand Design's Kevin McCloud (photo: Getty Images)Grand Design's Kevin McCloud (photo: Getty Images)
Grand Design's Kevin McCloud (photo: Getty Images)
​I keep hearing about an initiative called the Great Big Green Week, what is it and when is it? The Great Big Green week has been going since 2021and is a brilliant initiative by the Climate Change Coalition, which represents more than a hundred organisations and a staggering 22 million people across the UK.

Great Big Green week is a big celebration of the environment and highlights just how many people from all walks of life are involved in helping to protect our planet and tackle the issues its facing.

Great Big Green Week is a call to action for us all to learn about our impact and start doing more to help.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Communities, schools, businesses and faith centres are all invited to get involved in the vast array of initiatives that are happening across the country.

Swap turpentine for white spirit to clean brushes (photo: Adobe)Swap turpentine for white spirit to clean brushes (photo: Adobe)
Swap turpentine for white spirit to clean brushes (photo: Adobe)

The main idea this year is to start swapping. There are so many swaps we can all do to make changes and help the planet, nature and our local environment.

From neighbours swapping skills in repair cafes or allotments, to businesses swapping burning fossil fuels for solar panels, to friends swapping fast fashion for second hand finds - every swap adds up to make a big difference together.

Whether it’s swapping actual things and skills or whether it’s more about swapping ideas or swapping practices for greener ones, there’s hashtags #letsswap and #swaptogether that will give you plenty of ideas about what people across the country are swapping.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

While it starts on June 8 and lasts a week, it doesn’t have to be a temporary initiative.

Swaps are a great way of helping the planet, saving money and potentially saving time too.

If you’ve got kids, swapping lifts with parents means less cars on the road and more time freed up too.

If you’re friendly with neighbours, does everyone need to buy a lawnmower or can you buy one for your patch and everyone share it, which we do on our street?

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you’re gearing up for the wedding season and have a few celebrations over the summer, why not get together with friends and have a swapping session so everyone gets a new outfit without everyone having to pay for it and then less clothes end up in landfill too.

The initiatives and potential for The Great Big Green Week are limitless, nothing is too ‘out there’ so if you have work colleagues or family members who are keen, why not ask them what they’d like to do for the week?

You can come up with a week of activities and include things like a litter pick, making bird feeders, taking clothes to the charity shop, going meat free for the week, walking instead of driving short journeys

There are almost 67 million people in the UK if all of us decided to get involved and make changes for the week or the month of June, the impact would be huge.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

For more information on how you can get involved in the activities visit the www.greatbiggreenweek.com website.

Celebrity spot

Grand Designs’ Kevin McCloud (photo: Getty Images) says going green is great for UK economy: “Hull, where my family’s from, used to be a really thriving fishing city, went into almost terminal decline in the 1970s and 1980s. It’s now almost completely revitalised. Siemens has a huge factory making wind turbines where all the fishing boats used to be and the boats in the harbour are installation vessels for erecting those turbines in the North Sea.”

Green swap

​If you’re planning on painting at home or you’re an artist, swap white spirit for turpentine (photo: Adobe) to clean brushes. Not only is it made from pine so smells nice, it’s also low in volatile organic compounds so it’s better for environment and your health.

Conservation helping with global diversity

Much is rightly written about wildlife and nature in decline, particularly due to intensive farming and global warming however, international researchers have found conservation is making a positive change to global biodiversity.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The team of international researchers spent an entire decade looking at all sorts of conservation measures, from the eradication of invasive algae to hatching Chinook salmon.

They looked at projects that started in the noughties and also at projects that started in the 1890s too and found that conservation actions improved the state of biodiversity or slowed the decline in 66 per cent of cases when compared with no action.

The research and findings were published in the Journal ‘Science’ and 665 conservation trials were assessed and measured.

While some of the studies didn’t have the intended consequence to nature the scientists intended, Dr Langhammer from the research said there were still benefits.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"One of the most interesting findings was that even when a conservation intervention didn't work for the species that is was intended, other species unintentionally benefited."

The example cited by the researchers for this is the fact that creating marine protected areas for Australian seahorses, meant more of them were eaten as their natural predators' populations had increased as a consequence of the numbers of seahorses increasing.

A staggering one out of every three species monitored by science is currently endangered because of human activities.

While that’s terrible news though, the study found some incredible success stories thanks to human intervention and activities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

So while humans have undoubtably been a big part of the problem, we’re also potentially a huge part of the solution.

The success stories include from the research found deforestation rates have fallen by 74 per cent in the Congo Basin, following the introduction of management plans to reduce tree loss.

In Florida Least Tern breeding rates have doubled because of predator management on the islands.

When studies like this are released that extrapolate such huge numbers and look at things in a global context, it can serve to really galvanise support for conservation.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And there’s much we can do too to support wildlife in the UK. From leaving fresh water out in the hot weather for wildlife, to avoiding using pesticide and buying organic food when possible.

Knowing long term plans and conservation are making such an impact on a global scale is fantastic news and something definitely worth celebrating.

Fact or fiction


The number of days above 35 degrees in the past 30 years.


There’ve been seven days since 1994 that have seen temperatures rise above 35 degrees in the UK. Five of them have happened since 2019.

Related topics: