Climate Cymru’s Green Tour of Wales – Great Big Green Week

During the recent Great Big Green Week, the UK’s largest celebration of the environment and nature, Climate Cymru toured Wales to showcase and celebrate the action being taken for nature and climate across communities.

The logo for Great Big Green Week 2023 by the Climate Coalition

As part of the Great Big Green Week, Climate Cymru organized the Green Tour, a sustainable journey across Wales using electric cars. Stops included Swansea, St. Davids, Aberystwyth, Wrexham, Bangor, Llangollen, Pontypool, and Cardiff. In each location, Climate Cymru collaborated with local partners such as the Environment Centre (Swansea), Eco Dewi (St. Davids), and Heads4Art in Pontypool. They also engaged with schools, associations, and groups, including visits to primary school Ysgol Llanilar – near Aberystwyth – and St. Albans High School in Pontypool.

At each stop of the Green Tour, Climate Cymru delivered presentations highlighting their Nature Positive campaign. This campaign centred around an open letter addressed to the First Minister of Wales, Mark Drakeford, urging immediate action for a Nature Positive Wales. The campaign’s goals include reversing the alarming decline of nature and wildlife populations and achieving a Nature Positive Wales by 2030. Additionally, the campaign calls for the establishment of an independent environmental watchdog to ensure effective governance and protection against nature-related crimes.

A Nature Positive presentation being delivered to children from Ysgol Llanilar, near Aberystwyth

The Nature Positive presentations during the Green Tour were structured around the two aims of the campaign itself. They began by showcasing the wonder of nature while addressing the pressing challenges we face. They underscored the wide-ranging benefits of a Nature Positive Wales, touching on aspects such as the economy and mental well-being. Additionally, as part of the presentations, participants were invited to engage in a guided meditation experience, imagining a place that was special to them and thinking about how it would have looked like if nature were truly blossoming around it. When asked about how they felt, many responded that the exercise evoked feelings of warmth, tranquillity, and happiness.

Students raise their hands to express their emotion during a guided meditation workshop.

In a thought-provoking twist, however, participants were then asked to envision the same place with nature gradually disappearing. This time the exercise evoked emotions of anxiety, sadness, loss, and loneliness, serving as a stark reminder of the perilous path we currently tread. To conclude the presentations, attendees were provided with leaf-shaped pieces of paper on which they could write messages to their local Members of Senedd. These messages, added to the Nature Positive campaign’s mailing list and open letter, symbolized the collective voice advocating for a Nature Positive Wales. The symbolic leaves were then affixed to a wooden 3D tree cutout, representing the blossoming of Wales and the rejuvenation of its nature.

The Nature Positive campaign resulted in the largest open letter to a First Minister in the history of Wales. With over 2,000 individuals and 400 organizations adding their signatures, the campaign showcased a widespread commitment to safeguarding Wales’ natural heritage for future generations.

A student attaches her message on the cutout of the tree.

Climate Cymru extended heartfelt gratitude to all the partners involved in the Green Tour, including the dedicated team at Eco Dewi in St. Davids, the welcoming Environment Centre in Swansea, and Joe Wilkins, whose efforts secured a picturesque venue by the sea in Aberystwyth for a memorable demonstration. Their unwavering support and collaboration played a pivotal role in the resounding success of the Green Tour.

To learn more about the Nature Positive campaign and join the movement for a Nature Positive Wales, please visit the Climate Cymru website.

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