Great Big Green Week 

This September, Zero Carbon Guildford is bringing the borough together to hold a climate festival as part of the national Great Big Green Week. Guildford community groups, organisations, and businesses will be showcasing the work being done locally on food security, environmental protection, and mitigation and adaptation to the climate and ecological crisis. 


Read on to learn more about the exciting events across the festival, and if you’d like to get involved, either as a volunteer, or to host an event during Guildford’s Great Big Green Week then get in touch with us today!

What Is Great Big Green Week?

Great Big Green Week is a WWF initiative billed as ‘the largest event for climate & nature ever seen in the UK’. 


This is a brilliant opportunity for local organisations and businesses working on regenerative, sustainable, or adaptive strategies to showcase their efforts outside of the usual circles, and for community groups and organisations to engage their membership in the community-led climate action plan that Zero Carbon Guildford was launched to build.


We want to hear from you! What would you like to see in a week-long climate festival in Guildford? It doesn’t matter how off the wall, how big or small your idea is, we’d love you to get in touch. 


We’ll be updating this page with a schedule of events as it develops. So stay tuned, or sign up to our mailing list for all the latest updates straight to your inbox.


What Does This Project Achieve? 


Community Cohesion

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Emissions Reduction 

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Waste Reduction 

Guildford's Great Big Green Week 

Great Big Green Week can provide the springboard for uniting the Guildford community, the council, the Uni Of Surrey, and local organisations, in the beginnings of a collaborative strategy building that will ensure we are prepared for the potential food shortages, flooding, heat stress, and the mental health crises which will accompany accelerating climate breakdown in the coming years and decades. 


Around 30 events will take place across Great Big Green Week, hosted by different organisations, in multiple locations across our beautiful borough. Some of these events will be all-day carnival style events, some will be workshops and interactive demonstrations, some will be talks and seminars, and some will actively encourage people to get out into nature or highlight the alternatives to our current ways of life. 

If you'd like to host or hold an event, want to volunteer, or just be part of this exciting work moving forward then get in touch with Zero Carbon Guildford. 

What's On In Guildford During GBGW?

There are still some final details being hammered out on a number of events not yet listed, so keep checking back for more updates, or sign up to our mailing list to stay informed. 

Saturday 18th September


Doughnut Economics - Guildford's Role On A Changing Planet - 10am - 1pm  

Location: ZERO 

Run By: Doughnut Economics Action Lab 

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth was instrumental in opening a conversation around the failings of our current economic system. Any model which ignores that economics takes place in the biosphere, promoting growth as the ultimate goal - as our current system does - can only result in the collapse of the ecological systems which support life on earth. This is happening around us right now, and it is crucial that we stop listening to the contrived false dichotomy of capitalism or socialism. To believe these are our only two choices is a complete failure of the human imagination, but a very strong tool for vested interests to maintain the status quo. This Doughnut Economics workshop will focus on how Guildford can stay within planetary boundaries whilst remaining an enjoyable and prosperous place to live, whilst also addressing our role in the global changes needed to escape the worst of the climate crisis. 


River Wey Festival - 11am - 8.30pm

Location: Dapdune Wharf

Run By: River Wey Trust 

After a year off (Boo Covid) the fantastic River Wey Festival returns on Sept 18th. With boat rides from early until late, loads of activities for the kids, and local food vendors it's looking like a great day out. A pirate boot camp and wood turning are - in this buccaneering carpenters opinion - the highlight of the day, though you might find the stunning illuminated pageant the pinnacle of the day, as boats decked out with fairy lights, and accompanied by music from the Croydon Steel Orchestra, to be the perfect way to spend a saturday evening supporting our local community. 

Sunday 19th September

Vegan Market - all day

Location: High Street 

Run By: Ethical Vegan Events 

The vegan market by Ethical Vegan Events is back after a year of empty town centres. If you've not been to one of these events before it's well worth checking out, with a huge range from hot foods to tasty treats. A plant based diet is one the most impactful ways that individuals can mitigate the climate crisis, and whilst the stock response of meat-lovers might be 'oh I could never do that', it sounds like you're giving up before you've even tried. Sure, in the past this might have been true, but there are so many amazing vegan alternatives - including the 'No-Hog roast' and Godalming's own All Out Burger that you're actually missing out if you don't try. Not to mention the health benefits of cutting meat out of your diet. Check it out, you won't regret it. 

Monday 20th September 

Climate Interactive EN_Roads Workshop - 7pm

Location: ZERO 

Run By: What Next - Godalming Climate Emergency Centre 

The En-ROADS Climate Workshop helps build support for strategies to address climate change via interactive testing of the cutting-edge simulation model En-ROADS. The resulting experience is hopeful, scientifically-grounded, action-oriented, and eye-opening.

The workshop has been run for the U.S. Congress, Stattnet in Norway, a community group in Atlanta, the Energy Transition Forum in London, the U.S. Climate Action Network, the UN Secretary-General’s Office, and many others. Participants at GreenBiz 2020 rated it the best session of the conference (learn more about En-ROADS use in the business sector).

Tuesday 21st September 

Creative Courage Circles - Keep and eye on Boileroom's website for tickets & details

Location: Boileroom 

Creative Courage Circles are one of the few good things to have come out of multiple lockdowns! Launched as a one-off, the popularity of the event quickly led to this event becoming a regular fixture at The Boileroom, Guildford's top notch music venue. Based around an ethos of connection and female solidarity, each event features performance artists and creatives showcasing their work, from music to creative writing to poetry - and this month's installment feature's Zero Carbon Guildford's very own Poet For The Planet Susie Campbell. 

Sharewear - 7pm 

Location: ZERO

Sharewear is a charity set up to combat clothing poverty. Now in their 8th year Sharewear have provided essential support to countless individuals and families in need of clothing, bedding, and shoes. At the heart of Sharewear’s model is restoring dignity to those in need. Their users can choose from racks of clothing to ensure they have the dignity of deciding how they dress. The charity’s model relies on a combination of donations from the public as well as directly from suppliers and manufacturers local to each Sharewear outlet or franchise. 


Thanks to Sharewear’s hard work over the years they have formed excellent relationships with companies who have genuinely ambitious plans for revolutionising sustainability in the industry, and the majority of clothing on offer is unworn, and often still tagged. Sharewear has helped to drive schemes that have saved a huge amount of clothing from going to landfill. Louise Cooke, founder of Sharewear will be joining us in ZERO to present a short film about how Sharewear operates followed by a Q&A session, discuss the successful campaigns its worked on, and how the community could help to bring Sharewear to Guildford.

Wednesday 22nd September

Vertical Farming Workshop - 1pm - 4pm

Location: ZERO

Run by: Zero Carbon Guildford, Uni Of Surrey

Zero Carbon Guildford are teaming up with local partners, including The University Of Surrey to hold a workshop on vertical farming. The session will include a mix of theory and practical lessons, and discuss the benefits of vertical farming as a food security strategy, as well as the limitations we might face when employing this growing method as a community. Participants will help us to build a working installation that will be housed within ZERO, and which forms the basis of an ongoing community growing strategy as well as providing social benefits to local residents. You'll learn how to form vertical growing towers from scratch, irrigation and power set up, and key tips on germination and crop selection. This is a free workshop, and it will be the first time we've run it, so it will act as a pilot for the ongoing scheme. Come along and be part of the team figuring out how to make the most benefit of this high yield space saving growing method. 

Climate Cinema - 7.30pm

Location: ZERO

Run by: Zero Carbon Guildford

Great Big Green Week will see the launch of ZERO, Guildford's new community climate hub, and this in-house cinema screening will be the first in our regular Climate Cinema installments. Come join other locals for a screening of an environmental film followed by lively discussion about the relevance of the material to our life and work as Guildford residents, and how we might adopt some of the subject matter as we look to build a community-led climate action plan to help the borough adapt to a changing planet. Movie still TBC, watch this space. 

Thursday 23rd September 

Welcome To The Anthropocene - Concern For Our Planet - 7pm

Location: ZERO

Run by: Guildford Environmental Forum

Talk by Colin Summerhayes, Emeritus Associate at Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute.

Human civilisation has never existed outside the very stable climate of the Holocene period. Yet we stand at the beginning of a new geological epoch, the first one driven entirely by human activity. In this talk Colin will cover the new geological age that has replaced the Holocene as a result of our burning, since 1950, of 90% of all fossil fuels ever burned. ..known as ‘The Anthropocene’.

Colin will discuss the latest IPCC report on Climate Change and what we can do to limit future Climate Impact on our planet. 

Bike Repair Workshop - 2pm - 5pm

Location: ZERO

Run by: Bike Project Surrey

Bike Project Surrey is an invaluable local service which teaches the community how to maintain and repair bicycles. Part of Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership, the Bike Project focuses on reskilling community members, promoting an ethos of care over consumerism. The Bike Project takes bike donations of unwanted or scrap bikes, and refurbishes them for re-sale at affordable prices, making a significant contribution to reducing the amount of scrap metal going to landfill locally. Not only does the team’s model help to cut waste and manufacturing, but also can help to increase the accessibility to active travel for individuals and families who may be excluded from cycling by financial constraints. 

Nature Writing With Alice Fowler - 11am - 1pm 

Location: ZERO

Run by: Alice Fowler 

Alice is a local creative writer and winner of the Historical Writer's Association Dorothy Dunnett Short Story Award. A keen environmentalist, Alice will lead this workshop on nature writing for local residents interested in learning or developing this craft. Art can play an essential role as we look to shift from a purely 'growth' based system to a new model of living and working which embraces human and planetary wellbeing, and the reward from creativity is a vital part of this. 

Friday 24th September 

Learn To Scythe With Clive! - 9.30am - 3.30pm - check GEF's website for tickets & pricing 

Location: Rosamund Community Garden 

Run by: Rosamund Community Garden & Guildford Environmental Forum

Scything is a FAR more environmentally friendly way to keep your grass and garden in check than a mower, causing minimal disruption to the minibeasts hiding in your law, resulting in less need for herbicides, and lowering both fossil fuel use and embedded manufacturing emissions of machinery. This 'Introduction To Austrian Scything' teaches you everything you need to know about scything, to setting up a scythe and maintaining it to proper technique, stance, and troubleshooting. It's BYOS (Bring Your Own Scythe!) but if you don't have a scythe you can borrow one on the day. This event has been held annually and is popular, and places are limited so book now

Willow Weaving & Hedgelaying - All day, start time TBC

Location: Guildford Cathedral 

Run by: Hedges & Hurdles

Using willow to create fences, hedges, and art is an ancient woodland craft, and a willow fence always catches the eye when you pass one in our beautiful Surrey Hills.  This workshop run by local crafts folk Hedges & Hurdles will teach you all the basics of the artform, giving you the skills and experience to make small decorative pieces as well as more elaborate structures. More information will be published in the next few days about this event. 

Saturday 25th September 

Guildford Takes The Jump - 11am - 5pm

Location: Guildford Cathedral 

Run by: Zero Carbon Guildford, The Jump, CUSP, University of Surrey

The Jump is an exciting new platform designed to help individuals and organisations address their environmental impact by highlighting the most effective decisions we can make as communities to tackle the climate crisis. We’ve teamed up with The Jump to tailor the platform for Guildford, building in local solutions to reduce waste & emissions, and we see exciting potential in the role this could play in building new economic models which put human and planetary wellbeing at their centre. A big focus on this will be shifting the focus of our economies toward care, creativity, and human connection - and with world leading research department on this very subject matter CUSP right on our doorstep we have a great line up happening throughout the day, including talks from CUSP professors and fellows, a workshop on our relationship with consumerism, comedy and live music. Watch this space for full line up details! 

Willow Weaving & Hedgelaying - All day, start time TBC

Location: Guildford Cathedral 

Run by: Hedges & Hurdles

Using willow to create fences, hedges, and art is an ancient woodland craft, and a willow fence always catches the eye when you pass one in our beautiful Surrey Hills.  This workshop run by local crafts folk Hedges & Hurdles will teach you all the basics of the artform, giving you the skills and experience to make small decorative pieces as well as more elaborate structures. More information will be published in the next few days about this event. 

Mobile Community Fridge - 10am - 4pm

Location: Rotunda aka The 'Magic Circle' aka the round bit of pavement we all love at the bottom of North St

Run by: Mid Surrey Community Fridges 

If food waste were a country it'd be the 3rd largest emissions generator, behind the US and China! Pretty sobering for an entirely avoidable issue! Food waste occurs at every stage along the supply chain, and much policy change is needed to eradicate it, but as communities there is plenty we can do to cut our own food waste impact. Mid Surrey Community Fridges is a Dorking based charity which saves literal tons of food from going to Surrey's landfills every year by stocking community fridges across the county. They already have 8 community fridges, and ZERO is teaming up with them to install their 9th in our premises in Guildford town centre. On Sept 25th they'll have their Mobile Fridge moored up in the Rotunda, so pop along and find out what MSCF are about, and how you can help cut Surrey's waste footprint as part of a climate mitigation strategy. 

Sunday 26th September

Car Free Day - All day, start time TBC

Location: High St, North St, Friary St

Run by: Guildford Borough Council

It's finally here! After much demand from the local community Guildford Borough Council is hosting Guildford Car Free Day, and event designed to show what our town centres could be like without the fumes, particulate pollution, and when our high streets work to maximise residents' experience. With al fresco dining, a vegan market, antiques market, and a big focus on active travel and air pollution there'll be loads to see throughout the day. ZERO will be hosting a number of events around these themes, and there'll be live music in the Rotunda right outside our premises, so pop in and see the brand new centre and see how you can get involved with a community led climate plan! 

Kilo Sale - All day 

Location: ZERO

Run by: Zero Carbon Guildford, To Be Worn Again

We're still hammering out the details of this fixture, so keep your eyes peeled for more info. A kilo sale is a chance to get some classic vintage clothing at a great price! The fashion industry is a huge contributor to the climate crisis, with an obscene amount of even new and unworn clothing finding its way to landfill each year. This is an are individuals and communities really can make a huge difference in climate mitigation through some simple behavioural change, and understanding the destructive cycle of consumerism that leads to us throwing our hard earned cash straight into the bin whilst trashing the planet. Quality vintage clothing is a great way to break this habit, so come along and see what's on offer. 

The Worst Air Pollution In England - 2-3pm

Location: ZERO

Run by: Guildford Living Lab, GCARE 

The title none of us wanted, parts of Guildford now have the worst air pollution in the country! This is a public health crisis in the making, and aside from the obvious impacts of childhood asthma, heart and lung disease, high levels of air pollution also correlate closely with elevated depression and mental health issues. Air pollution that is constantly at illegal limits is simply unacceptable, and an avoidable problem, yet one local decision makers are trying to push more cars onto the road through A3 expansion and even the ludicrous proposal of a tunnel! Living Lab conduct research and provide solutions that we can implement to cut the impact of these pollution levels, so come along and join the discussion about how we can ditch this unwanted title and work together to prevent emissions and health risks increasing through unnecessary and proven ineffective infrastructure proposals.