Join Greener Henley and help environment

Round & About


Join Greener Henley and friends for Great Big Green Week and find out how together we can tackle climate change and bring nature and wildlife back to its full glory

The UK’s biggest celebration of community action to protect the planet is back, showing that people everywhere are wanting to help create a better tomorrow.

Greener Henley have organised a week of events for local residents to enjoy, bringing people together to celebrate, and get involved in, what’s happening in and around Henley for climate and nature.

From 8th to 16th June, we’ll have walks, talks, film, art sessions, gallery exhibitions, poetry, and a sustainability workshop for local businesses. Our Nature Discovery Day, down by the River at Mill Meadows, kicks off the week and includes something for everyone, with nature-focused activities for all ages. We’ll have conservation groups and local experts on hand to explore and discuss everything from butterflies and birds to fungi and river water quality, plus a wildlife photography session. Collect your free native wildflower seeds and take part in our Nature Squared campaign, helping Henley get closer to our total of 500m2 of plants for pollinators.

Why not bring a picnic, join the wildflower walk, butterfly sweep, or bug hunt and make a day of it. Pop into the River and Rowing Museum’s Kirkham Gallery to see work from our local students for our Schools Environment Science Challenge on the theme of ‘Pollution’, alongside artworks from the wonderful waterside arts & ecology project that is The Beautiful Blue. In the afternoon you can, let your creativity and love of nature entwine at The Gardening Drawing Club, a family friendly art and gardening session at Henley Library.

Our guest speaker, Professor Chris Merchant talks ‘climate’ on the evening of 10th June at the Town Hall Council Chamber, at ‘In Our Hands: Our Climate Future’. Find out about the key science that makes climate change a formidable challenge, and how ingenuity and determination can meet the Net-Zero target.

Kate Oldridge, Greener Henley’s Chair said: “GBGW is a wonderful opportunity for our community to come together to stand up for nature and fight climate change. There are a whole host of activities in Henley for everyone across the community to get involved in. We can all do something to help, whether that means taking part in our Nature Squared campaign by planting seeds for pollinators, continuing the conversation about something you discover at GBGW, or asking our local decision makers to support action on climate and nature. Let’s make this the biggest and boldest GBGW so far – come out, get involved, take action.”

Events currently planned to take place during Henley’s Great Big Green Week include:

Saturday 8th: Nature Discovery Day, 10am-2pm, Mill Meadows – participants include Henley Toad Patrol, Upper Thames Butterfly Conservation Group, BBOWT, Henley Car Club, chalk stream volunteers and many more.

Saturday 8th: Plant vs beef taste test: Which burger’s best? 12-2pm, outside Pavilion Foods.

Sunday 9th: Green screen: Elephant Mother, plus panel discussion, 2-5pm, Regal Picturehouse. Ticketed.

Monday 10th: ‘In Our Hands: Our Climate Future’ talk on climate change with Q&A, 7-9pm, Town Hall Council Chamber.

Tuesday 11th: Poetry Readings from ‘Tread Gently on the Earth’ poetry competition, 6-7:30pm, Henley Library.

Wednesday 12: Wilding, a special preview screening, plus expert panel, 8-10.15pm, Regal Picturehouse. Ticketed.

Thursday 13th: Greening Your Business seminar & networking event with speakers, 5.30pm-7.30pm, Thames Room, River & Rowing Museum.

Week-long events:

Fun scavenger hunt: Find the letters hidden in crafted flowers in 10 shop windows around town and work out the mystery word.

Henley’s Big Green Road: Choose from eight books that make for interesting reads and start the conversation!

Exhibitions in the Kirkham Gallery, River & Rowing Museum: running alongside each other from 23rd May to 17th June: Pollution: an exhibition of work by local students in response to Greener Henley’s Environmental Science Challenge and The Beautiful Blue: exploring water and our human relationship with it.

More information on individual events and how to book at GBGW 2024 – Greener Henley

Make 2024 more sustainable

Round & About


The New Year is always a great time to consider making positive changes. Here are suggestions from Wokingham-based Plastic Free Home when it comes to living more sustainably in 2024 and beyond…

1. Shop smarter
Aim to only buy and consume what you need, to help reduce your footprint and the amount of waste you produce. Support local and independent businesses wherever possible and explore how you might rely less on big supermarkets and major retailers. Is there a zero waste shop or business, butchers, greengrocers, bakery and so on near you? Aim to buy sustainably sourced, ethically produced, high quality and long-lasting products. Think – where has the product come from, who made it, under what conditions and where? What from? How is it packaged? And how can it be disposed of, reused or recycled afterwards?

2. Lightbulb moment
Energy is responsible for around a quarter of our emissions. If you haven’t already, switch to a renewable energy supplier, or at least a green tariff with one of the larger ‘big six’ energy companies. From insulating your home and avoiding endless devices and gadgets to using central heating sensibly and washing your clothes on a cooler setting and drying them on a line, consider ways to reduce your use of energy at home. And the old classic – turn off lights, appliances and devices and don’t leave things on standby where avoidable.

3. Staycationing
Taking one medium to long-haul flight generates more emissions than an average person in many countries produces in a whole year. In recent years we’ve all been reminded of just how much the UK has to offer – get out there and explore it more before venturing further afield. Even cutting two annual overseas holidays down to one can make a big difference.|

4. Plan ahead
We live in a fast-moving and convenience-led world, which has resulted in us becoming lazier and far more wasteful. Plan ahead when going out – carry a refillable drinks bottle, take a packed lunch or picnic, and if you can’t live without caffeine, a reusable coffee cup too. The same goes for a reusable bag – you never know when you might need one. If you are buying on the go, consider the less packaged and more eco-friendly options. Planning ahead is also a good idea when doing your weekly shop. Make a shopping list and stick to it, to avoid unnecessary impulse buys. And when buying gifts all year round, share lists with family, friends and colleagues or find out what the recipient(s) really like or need to avoid giving something they won’t enjoy or make use of.

5. Not so fast fashion
The fashion industry is responsible for around 10% of global emissions and globally just 12% of the material used for clothing ends up being recycled. Buy far fewer clothes and aim for organic or naturally derived textiles (e.g. 100% cotton) and clothes that are responsibly sourced and made. If the company offers a closed loop option, allowing you to return items for recycling when you no longer want them – even better.

6. Waste not, want not
Nowadays, very little should end up in ‘the bin’. Be sure that you are disposing of, recycling and reusing everything you use correctly, from kerbside, food and garden waste collections to supermarket recycling points and local TerraCycle schemes. And if you can donate, pass on or sell something, do.

7. Nurture nature
Nature was there for all of us when we needed it most during pandemic times. Now it’s our turn to be there for it. Plant trees, wildflowers and pollinator friendly plants, add bird, insect and animal feeders and create habitats, litter pick locally, support a wildlife charity. Don’t pave over a large area of your garden and avoid artificial grass. There are many ways to show you care.

A green Christmas

Round & About


Local dad David Lamont, founder of Plastic Free Home, offers his tips on how we can enjoy a more planet-friendly season

‘Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more…” It’s not often that I quote the Grinch, but in this case Dr Seuss’ fictional character is spot on. Christmas is magical but it’s also a time of unnecessary waste. Here are our top tips…

1. Avoid the gimmicks
From pre-packed ‘reindeer food’ (what’s wrong with a carrot?) that’s bad for the birds, to Christmas Eve boxes, don’t get sucked in.

2. Presents
Think quality not quantity and avoid plastic. Wooden toys are popular again and look to ethical smellies, made from natural, cruelty-free and vegan ingredients. Give handmade gifts or experiences too – homemade nibbles, something knitted, a meal/afternoon tea.

3. Wrapping
Lots of wrapping contains plastic. It’s not an exact science but if you scrunch into a ball and it stays that way, it’s more likely it’s plastic free. Use recycled brown paper and/or reusable bags. Crucially, avoid plastic sticky tape! Paper tape is easy to buy online.

4. Cards
The obvious answer is to avoid them entirely but that may be easier said than done. Aim to buy cards that use recycled or FSC (sustainable) paper, free of non-biodegradable glitter, badges and plastic wrapping.

5. Crackers
Again, you could avoid. Or make your own or source reusable. If buying, look for those that don’t contain plastic toys and are recyclable.

6. Trees
If you already own an artificial tree, use it for as long as you can. In need of a new one? Consider a real tree that’s FSC or Soil Association approved. Or even rent a real tree!

7. Advent calendars
Make or buy a reusable one and fill with homemade or plastic-free treats. Foil-wrapped or Divine chocolate are better. Keep it traditional.

8. Food
Buy meat (and cut down) plastic-free from a local butcher, and veg unwrapped from a local greengrocer or farm shop.

9. Drinks
Wine bottles with a cork are better than screwtop. If you’re buying beer, avoid plastic packaging and go for glass over cans. For soft drinks, swap plastic bottles for glass or cans.

10. At the end of it all
Recycle and dispose of everything correctly. If in doubt, look online, contact your council or us! Prep bags or boxes ready for things like cardboard and recyclable plastic. Donate unwanted stuff to a charity shop or food bank.

Green Christmas

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