Nurture Islington: The Environment and you – working together to protect and restore

How to score your score your street and see if it’s a climate safe street – a fascinating webinar with Divya, Climate Safe Street champion and Will from the Healthy Streets Scorecard Alliance on 21 April. Islington is one of 6 London boroughs at most risk from climate change and there are ways to help mitigate this risk. We found out about the 5 principles of a healthy street and a healthy street = a climate safe street ! Slides here:


Sunday 20 March and we were on the move for another walk with Footways guru, David, with I-Spy by Rachael, for anyone keen to spot many unusual carvings, monuments or animals en route. We set off from Camley Street Natural Park, recently reopened after a big redevelopment and well worth a visit (what far-sighted people campaigned for that space decades ago) and ended up in Cross Street, newly calmed by some very welcome planters.


Melanie Etherton’s presentation on 15 March encapsulated everything which this series of events and webinars is trying to do. If we all made one or two relatively easy changes to our life styles, they would add up to significant mitigation to climate change as well as to our health and wellbeing.   The main policy report Melanie referenced is ‘ A healthy future – tackling climate change mitigation and human health together (2021)’ from the Royal Society and the Academy of Medical Sciences, website here.


Sunday 6 March was a lovely early spring day and perfect for visiting a parklet, now in its 3rd spring. It was a real community event; lots of chatting, meeting new people, sharing plant knowledge, planting up pots with children and, as promised, totally fabulous cakes. Thanks to Lynne, Helena and supporters. Hard to believe that it’s under threat from the council ………..


On 23 February, we learnt about ‘How to create a community parklet’ with Hackney’s queen of parklets, Brenda Peuch, also a founding member of the London Parklet Campaign. Community parklets were first spotted in San Francisco way back in the early 2000s but have since delighted people in cities all over the world. The process isn’t simple however; councils are suspicious, neighbours can be critical and it can take years, yes years, to get community parklets on your street. As with growing plants, you need patience ! Here’s the audio of Brenda’s presentation and have a look at her slides which will be available shortly.


Webinar number 3, on 26 January, told the inspiring story of how Lucy, a founder member of Islington Clean Air Parents, brought 200 trees to Islington. These trees are desperately needed as we have the least green space of any borough in the UK as well as being the most densely populated. The trees came from Somerset House where they had been greening the courtyard as part of the 2021 Design Bienale. Listen to their journey to their forever homes in Islington here:

And here are the slides


Our second webinar on 13 January was a fascinating insight into how our birds are coping with climate change. Mike from Islington Swifts has swift-facts at his fingertips; they live for 20 years, return back to the same site (and partner) every year, can travel up to 50 miles a day in search of food and their numbers have declined by 50% in the past 20 years mainly due to changing habitat. We need green roofs, brown roofs, moss roofs, swift bricks and boxes and to leave ‘untidy’ corners of our gardens so that biodiversity can flourish. Recommended reading here. Listen to Mike on the link below.


Our first webinar on 7 December was on the topic of an environmentally sustainable diet and provided much food for thought (couldn’t resist that). Big thanks to Ursula for tacking this complicated topic – key message was ‘eat more plant protein and drink more water’ ! The Q&A covered packaging, the pros and cons of meat eating, the means by which food arrives in the UK and what does ‘local’ mean to us here in London. Here are Ursula’s slides so that we can refer to them in all their fascinating detail.


If you missed the launch of Nurture on 30 November, don’t worry, we recorded it !

  • Rachael : context and introduction to NurtureIslington 02:08
  • David : keynote speaker: 07:04
  • Ursula: environmentally sustainable diet: 32:30
  • Mike: why should we care about birds: 44:26
  • Emma/Rachael: I-Spy and Footways local walks: 50:09
  • Brenda: how to achieve community parklets: 56:42
  • Lucy: why trees are our friends: 01:02:26
  • Melanie: our health, the NHS and the climate emergency: 01:09:46
  • Farmer Tom: regenerative farming: 01:12:44

A series of practical workshops to provide the tools you need to nurture your family, your environment and yourself – launch 30 November 2021 at 1930h

Gain a better understanding of climate change, its impacts, and how you can make a difference in your life and local community. Each session will have a guest speaker and an opportunity to ask questions and share ideas. Whether you are just beginning to engage with climate change issues or are already involved in positive change there is something for everyone. We have created a wide range of events in this series of workshops covering key aspects of environmental issues, such as eating well, planting and growing food, play streets, local wildlife, tree planting and more.

Discussions about climate change have dominated the headlines over recent months. Firstly, in August the IPCC report proved Global warming is a result of human greenhouse gas emission and that it’s having a catastrophic effect on our planet. The report said it’s “code red for humanity”. The global United Nations summit, COP26, spent two weeks talking about climate change and how countries are planning to tackle it . The United Nations has made clear that the world needs ‘urgent climate action’ to limit carbon emissions and keep temperatures below 1.5C. COP26 outcomes are disappointing but life goes on.

However, we know it’s not ‘business as usual’; colossal change is required and it needs to happen fast. Islington is the 6th borough most vulnerable to climate change (source: GLA Risk of Climate Change). We are a very densely populated area, with very little green space (and a lot of concrete). Climate change can seem very overwhelming. The planet is our home, and our home needs protecting. We cannot solve the global crisis on our own, but we can all make a difference in our daily lives by taking action.

This series of webinars is designed to make taking personal action over climate change more manageable and seem less daunting. Join us and our guest speakers as we fast-track you to finding practical solutions in your daily lives:

  • Get informed. Understanding the problem helps us find solutions;
  • Get involved in positive change – small efforts can make all the difference. You can change your own life and be an inspiration to others;
  • Encourage your family, school and employers to live in an eco-friendly way; and
  • You can make a difference in your life with positive action.

Launch event: Tuesday 30 November 2021 at 1930hregister here

Keynote speaker:   David Saddington FRGS 

Head of International Nature Campaign COP26 Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) 

As a climate change communicator David works to raise the profile of the issue through blogging for media outlets like the Huffington Post, writing book contributions and organising innovative large scale public awareness events in the centre of UK cities involving outdoor cinema, interactive science experiments and panel debates. He is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to engage the public and is currently exploring using Virtual Reality technology to tell the story of climate change. After leading education reforms to get climate change on school curricula, David has pursued his own academic work studying climate science and a broad range of climate impacts from the environmental to economic, security & health implications. And as a local resident, he is with us for the launch of our Inspiring Sustainable Living series of workshops. There will be an opportunity for Q&A so come with questions.

Following David’s presentation, workshop leaders will then outline their dedicated workshops and why you should sign up to find out more.

Environmentally sustainable diet: what it is and what it is not

Ursula, British Dietetic Association – Workshop 7 December 1930 Zoom

There is much debate and discussion about environmentally sustainable diets, so it is not a surprise that there is also confusion. But it is not really that difficult.The challenges are ways to eat that are healthy (provide the right balance of nutrients needed), with less damage to environmental parameters, and with less generation of carbon and always, least food waste.

Register here for Ursula’s workshop

Why should we care about birds in a climate emergency?

Mike from Islington Swifts – Workshop 13 January 1930 Zoom

There is already evidence that our wildlife is being affected by climate change. This affects our flora and fauna in a number of ways; birds lay eggs earlier in the year than usual, plants bloom earlier and animals come out of hibernation sooner. Birds are migrating and arriving at their nesting grounds earlier, and in some countries the birds don’t even leave anymore, as the climate is suitable all year round. However, there are hidden dangers in what seem to be positive changes. So in this global climate crisis, is there still value in helping our local birds and wildlife, and what can we do to ensure they survive a changing environment ?

Register here for Mike’s workshop

Footways – the benefits of a stroll on your doorstep

David, Rachael and Emma; Footways in conjunction Islington Clean Air Parents on three guided walks – with I-Spy !

  • A winter walk round Islington – 9 January 2022
  • A spring walk round Islington – 20 March 2022
  • A summer walk round Islington – 22 May, details below

Footways is a network of quiet and interesting streets for walking in London and has been designed to connect major places with appealing and accessible streets.  The places include mainline train stations, popular destinations and green spaces.  It prompts Londoners and visitors to choose walking as the most emjoyable, efficient and healthy option.  What better to do one afternoon than to have a stroll round Islington and play I-Spy with the family en route

To join us on Sunday 22 May register here Meet David and Rachael at Highbury Fields near the playground at 1:30pm. We end our walk at the Ecology Centre. The walk will start at 2pm, it’s worth arriving early to enjoy the small nature park before we head off. Please wear comfy shoes and weather proof clothing.

How to grow a forest in Islington

Lucy, joint founder of Islington Clean Air Parents ( ICAP) – workshop on 26 January by Zoom

Trees make a big difference to our environment; they store carbon and clean the air; they absorb water and can help to regulate flash floods, they provide shade cooling our streets on hot days, and are natural habitats for a wide range of insects, plants, fungi, birds and animals. Hear about Islington Forest for Change, a project to plant more trees in our urban, crowded inner city borough and find out what you can do to help trees thrive in your neighbourhood.

Register here for Lucy’s workshop

How can we achieve community parklets?

Brenda from London Parklet Campaign – interactive digital workshop on 23 February,   followed by on-site parklet visit on 6 March.

Guerrilla and pop-up parklets are very popular and bring people together. So why are they such a threat to authorities?  How can we adjust our car dominant society to allow more space on our streets for parking people, plants and flowers rather than cars?   In her workshop, Brenda will discuss the benefits and types of parklets and how one might persuade the community and politicians to try these out,  This will be followed by a weekend visit to a parklet here in Islington with an opportunity to talk to the parklet creator on how she created, maintains and shares her parklet with her local area.

Registration details for Brenda’s workshop here

Registration details for community parklet site visit here

Connecting the NHS and health to the climate crisis 

Melanie, The Academy of Medical Sciences – workshop on 15 March by Zoom

According to the Ipsos MORI Issues Index, around half of people cite healthcare as the nation’s chief worry – in contrast to climate change, which only broke into the top ten concerns in 2019. This means a key way to raise climate change in the national consciousness is to show how climate connects to health and wellbeing. Join Melanie and find out how to reduce costs for the NHS, improve your health, and save the planet, all at the same time!

Sign up for Melanie’s interactive digital workshop here.

Why a climate safe street is a healthy street

CSS Champions and Healthy Streets Scorecard webinar on 21 April at 1930 by Zoom

Learn about how to score your street using the Healthy Streets Scorecard methodology of five key measures and why, if these are implemented, your street becomes a climate safe street. Hear from one of Islington’s Climate Safe Street champions, Divya, and from Will of CPRE, one of the six organisations making up the Healthy Streets Scorecard coalition.

Sign up for this webinar here

Regenerative farming

Farmer Tom of Full Circle Farms

Tom set up a unique farm in Sussex – which produces amazing full flavour vegetables on small scale whilst never using a single drop of pesticide or herbicide. These farms are also used to educate people on where their food comes from and help people through horticultural therapy. The solution to climate change is under our feet !

Registration details to follow

Other topics which will be included in the series: planting with children, depaving & Rewilding, ethical finance and how to live within your carbon budget. If you are passionate about a topic and would like it to be included in this series, do get in touch; we’d be delighted to chat.

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