Written by: Kimberly White

In January, Environment Secretary Michael Gove called upon people to join together to protect the environment.

While speaking at the ZSL London Zoo, Gove launched the Year of Green Action,  a government initiative aiming to raise awareness and to inspire people to take action for the environment.

Initially proposed in the 25 Year Environment Plan, the Year of Green Action seeks participation from people of all backgrounds but puts youth involvement as a top focus.

To help children from disadvantaged backgrounds get better access to nature, the Environment Secretary announced that the UK Government is pledging £10 million to connect children with nature.

“As the future stewards of our planet, children and young people have a vital role to play in this. The £10 million boost outlined today will help ensure there are no barriers for young people to access the benefits of the natural world and importantly enable them to play their part in environmental protection,” said Gove.

The £10 million will be distributed as grants to projects focused on creating greener school grounds and increase the number of school visits to local parks, wildlife sites, and National Parks.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi stated, “We want every child to have the best possible start in life and grow up healthy and happy. This £10 million investment will ensure even more children can enjoy the many benefits of discovering nature, from improved mental wellbeing to better physical health.”

The Year of Green Action seeks to build upon the 25 Year Environment Plan. Within the Green Action toolkit, they explain how while the 25 Year Environment Plan has strong backing from the government, the government cannot do it alone, “Action from all of us will be required to improve the environment over the next 25 years. The Year aims to inspire, to build momentum and to help us all understand how the choices we make affect the environment. Together we can improve the environment through collective action and better achieve our environmental aims.”

According to the toolkit, a ‘green action’; is defined as any action that delivers against at least one of the three themes:

  • Connect: raising awareness and improving understanding of environmental benefits and impacts personal actions can have on the environment.
  • Protect: aiding communities and businesses in reducing their environmental impact and encouraging more sustainable-minded decisions.
  • Enhance: encouraging individuals, organizations, and businesses to enrich the environment.

Step Up to Serve, a charity promoting youth action in the service of others, launched the  #iwill4nature campaign for the Year of Green Action. The campaign promotes environmental youth social action and will support a series of activities for youth that delivers against the three themes.

Earlier this month, HRH The Prince of Wales shared more about the #iwill4nature campaign.

Step Up To Serve Trustee Pauline Meyer stated, “#iwill4nature recognises the impact young people already have on improving the environment and challenges them and others around them to make an even bigger difference. Whether it is looking after and appreciating their local green spaces, encouraging friends and family to make different shopping choices or choosing a commute that pollutes less. In the process you also get to develop skills, experience and boosting their mental health and wellbeing. I hope young people all over the UK can be inspired and supported to connect with the natural environment.”

To learn more, please visit the Year of Green Action 2019.

Video Courtesy of #iwill (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 UK)

Header Image: Rawpixel /Shutterstock.com