2019 is the Year of Green Action, which is an opportunity to encourage connection to the natural environment and collective action to improve it.
One year ago the UK Government published “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment”, setting out its approach to protect and improve the environment and demonstrate leadership on conservation, climate change, land use, sustainable global food supplies and marine health.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has pledged to the #iwill campaign, which aims to make social action a part of life for 10 to 20 year olds across the UK. The national campaign, launched by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2013 with cross-party support, will focus on growing environmental youth social action – or green action – with the launch of #iwill4nature.
Examples of green action include taking part in environmental volunteering such as litter picking or planting pollinator-friendly flowers, fundraising for to maintain or enhance green spaces or campaigning for the zero plastic waste agenda.
The 2017 National Youth Social Action Survey, commissioned to run alongside the #iwill campaign, found that 44% of young people who had not been involved in social action in the past year were interested in addressing environmental issues (including animal protection).
24-year-old Step Up To Serve Trustee Pauline Meyer, and chair of the launch event, said:
“#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.”
Throughout the year, activity around #iwill4nature will draw together local and national initiatives in order to inspire green action. Hosting the launch event, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has also pledged to inspire future young people through experiences with wild animals, inform them of future career opportunities through conservation, science and animal welfare programmes, and actively engage young people in campaigns to protect natural habitats such as the world’s oceans.
ZSL Director General Dominic Jermey, and host of the launch, said:
“ZSL is committed to our vision of a world where wildlife thrives, and we believe that creating positive relationships between wildlife and people is key to achieving that. We want people to build lifelong connections to wildlife and we know that we have a vital role to play here at ZSL London Zoo. “By pledging to support #iwill4nature, we commit to further inspiring, informing and empowering young people as we continue to provide a shared space where learning, supported by our scientific research and conservation expertise, will help people to feel closer and more connected to wildlife.”
How You Can Support #iwill4nature
Cynnal Cymru is proud to be working with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action WCVA and Invest in Nature to raise awareness of the #iwill campaign and to provide practical support to businesses wanting to embed social action as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy. We are keen to hear from businesses in Wales that are interested in supporting the #iwill campaign and #iwillfornature.
Below is a list of resources to get you started:
– WCVA’s guide on how to get started in developing an employee volunteering programme
– The WCVA’s Youth Volunteering and Social Action Charter sets out a number of commitments encouraging organisations to provide the best possible social action and volunteering experiences for young people. The charter also outlines expectations for young people that take part in these experiences.
– The #iwill guide for inspiring and enabling youth social action draws together advice and best practice examples from leading businesses including EDF Energy, British Gas and PwC.
– Invest in Nature’s new Environmental Volunteering Toolkit is packed full of ideas for getting involved in environmental volunteering and celebrates fantastic projects making a difference in Wales through people like you!
The #iwill Campaign
The #iwill campaign is a collective effort involving over 900 organisations from the public, voluntary, education and business sectors with a vision to make meaningful social action part of life for all 10- to 20-year olds by the year 2020. In addition to Defra and the ZSL, organisations pledging to support #iwill4nature include Action for Conservation, Canal & River Trust, Global Action Plan, Groundwork, The Wildlife Trust, WWF, Royal Botanical Gardens and more.
The #iwill campaign was launched in 2013 with cross-party and multi-sector support after research into how the business, education, public and voluntary sectors could support young
people to engage in social action.
The #iwill campaign is coordinated by Step Up To Serve, a charity registered in England & Wales (no. 1154588). For more information, visit www.iwill.org.uk and follow @iwill_campaign[:]