Berkhamsted Great Big Green Week – Sept 2021

What a week it was.  We have in the past been able to hold one-off events, with a hundred or so attendees, but this was something else, with several events over the whole week.

The idea was to raise awareness of the crucial climate talks coming up in Glasgow, while shining a light on the businesses, groups and people locally who are doing their part, and also helping to amplify the voices of those running similar events around the country to persuade our politicians to up their ambition.

The week was organised by a group of capable individuals from various organisations around the town, with a lot of the groundwork co-ordinated by the indomitable Wendy Conian, now Deputy Mayor of Berkhamsted, and long-standing member of the TTB Steering Group.

The week of 18-26 September was chosen to match the timing of the national Great Big Green Week events, under the banner of the Climate Coalition, with talks, marches, litter picks and much more all over the country, by local groups, NGOs and even Manchester United.

There were an equally diverse plethora of events here in Berkhamsted.  There was a kick-off event on the Saturday with various councils, the Rotary club and others talking to interested Berkhamstedonians about sustainability in the Civic Centre.  A steady stream of interested, enthusiastic and sometimes bemused people came through the door to find out more.

Over the week, there were tips for gardeners, dance events, talks on investing money wisely, a swish clothes swapping event, a youth climate march that garnered a lot of interest in the local press, a successful community litter pick and a well-attended comedy night, where Simon Brodkin (otherwise known as his sometimes stage pseudonym of Lee Nelson) got lost on the way to the Civic Centre.

The week took inspiration from the way that the annual Sustainability Festival in St Albans is run, where the intention is that events are organised by a wide range of organisations in the town, and a central team promote them as part of the week, alongside their own promotion activities.  That way, the work of organising the events is distributed widely and the network grows.  We organised a workshop with Sustainable St Albans earlier in the year for them to describe how they go about organising their festival, and were able to invite people from groups all around Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, as well as the Climate Coalition themselves, who took the learning to their wider network.