Kent Year of Green Action may be coming to an end, but our new year’s resolutions are a great way of committing to new green actions across 2020. In this blog we look back at the Kent campaign and look forward to our environmental challenges in the new year and beyond. If you would like to pick a green new year’s resolution, our list of ideas may provide you with some inspiration!
Across Kent County Council and the county there are a wealth of initiatives and projects aimed at improving both our environmental understanding and promoting opportunities to act whether it be in our homes, schools or workplaces. Kent Year of Green Action brought all this together in a popular online campaign and though an award-winning stand at the Kent County Show.
Supporting the Kent Environment Strategy and reflecting the government’s national Year of Green Action, the campaign was based on the themes of connecting with, enhancing and protecting our environment. The campaign was launched in February, at Sevenoaks Primary School where staff and volunteers from North West Kent Countryside Partnership were working with the school to create not only a pond but also a pond-dipping platform. This pond is now well established and is providing a great way to enable children to take a closer look at the wildlife that has already adopted it as their home.
Having contact with nature at an early age is good for children’s mental and physical heath and can create a lifelong interest in the environment. Kent Children’s University took an active part in Kent Year of Green Action, promoting an environmental challenge and will continue to provide environmental activities for children to do both at home and at our Country Parks and other locations.
Whatever age you may be and from whatever background, being in contact with nature is good for you and even a short walk in the park or time spent in your garden can improve our wellbeing. However if you want to do that bit more for wildlife, we have been promoting plenty of opportunities to volunteer at County Parks , nature reserves and other sites across the county. Many volunteer events are captured on our events stream.
Our day to day decisions can make a real difference for the environment; energy conservation, recycling, reduced use of plastics and the adoption of green travel choices are all great examples of green actions that collectively will reduce our impact on the environment. Promoting these approaches were a big part of Kent Year of Green Action.
In July at the sweltering Kent County Show, the KCC Year of Green Action stand was one of the few to have a water refill station, much appreciated by visitors but also a great opportunity to promote the use of reusable bottles and the reduction of single use plastics. Amongst other things, the award-winning stand also distributed seeds for growing your own pollination plants for bees and promoted government grant applications for new ultra- low emission vehicles, as well as well as grants to help install electric charging points.
In September as part of the Great British Beach Clean, the Explore Kent Team took part in a Guardians of the Deep Beach Clean at Warden Bay on the Isle of Sheppey. The Great British Beach Clean is slightly different to a normal beach clean – in addition to getting litter off our beaches and shores, it also collects data on the type of litter we are seeing. Data like this can help to get laws changed and promote global action, by providing solid evidence about the scale of the problem.
In November eighteen year old Eleanor Burnaby-Rouse, Chair of Kent Youth County Council led a social media takeover of Explore Kent as part of the national #iwillweek which this year focused on Youth Social Action around the environment. Across a whole day of activity, Eleanor did a great job of encouraging young people to make their own pledges for green action to improve the environment.
“Green Action” has been a great way of promoting Kent Environment Strategy initiatives, the Warm Homes scheme is a partnership project between councils and wider agencies, to help residents in Kent and Medway save energy and money in their home. This was successfully promoted around Kent libraries at the end of the year under the banner “Kent Green Action at home”.
As 2019 ends, there is greater global recognition that we are in the middle of both a climate and ecological crisis. It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the challenges, but initiatives such as Kent Year of Green Action have demonstrated that through both individual and collective efforts, we can all make a difference.
Local authorities in Kent are responding to the climate emergency with their own climate emergency plans, all focused on becoming carbon neutral. You will hear more about this during the year through #kentgreenaction posts from Kent Environment Strategy @KES_KENT and Explore Kent @ExploreKent will continue to post “Green Action” information on the website and social media, providing further inspiration and advice.
Happy New Year to you all and don’t forgot to draw up those GREEN RESOLUTIONS!