Great Big Green Week is sadly behind us for another year. We're in quite a different place to this time last year - we didn't even have the keys to ZERO for last year's GBGW, and now we're the largest volunteer organisation in Guildford! What a year it's been.
Below we recap what the ZERO team and our partners got up to over the week. We had an absolute blast and engaged a ton of residents on a number of different topics.
First of all though, an enormous thank you to all the volunteers who helped us navigate the week smoothly, starting out at Uni of Surrey's Fresher's Fair on Friday 23rd Sept and finishing on Oct 3rd with the Guildford Kilo Sale. As always. we wouldn't exist without all the heroic efforts of our volunteers. But the biggest pat on the back is reserved for Emily in our marketing team, who lead the Great Big Green Week organising from the middle of summer, kept us all on track, and ensured the week went off without a hitch.
Having ZERO means we don't just stick to 1 week of the year, but can focus on the critical issues of protecting our countryside, building food security & energy independence, and pushing Britain to become a leader in tackling the climate crisis year-round. We have amazing events throughout the year, sign up to our mailing list today to keep informed of all our great events and more.
Car Free Day - ZERO's Great Big Community Feast
It's tough to pick one highlight of the week, but our Car Free Day Community Feast in Guildford town centre has to be right up there. We were basking in the sunshine on Upper High Street, holding the Great Big Community Feast at our pitch with food surplus donated by local outlets from the likes of Hoxton Bakehouse's delicious pastries to Pizza Express pizzas!
It proved a great engagement tool, and we think the ZERO pitch was probably the busiest in town - at least until we ran out of food!
Initiatives like this work so well because they speak to common values. We all hate waste, it’s a unifying message. So common sense initiatives like community fridges which cut down on waste are a great way to open conversations because of these shared values, making it far easier to lead into the big issue - like the fact that food waste creates around 8% of human-made emissions, and is a totally avoidable issue!
Bats & Foraging & Applegarth Farm Tour
We teamed up with our good pals Guildford Environmental Forum to hold several events on the theme of environment. These were all a massive hit, with both the Bats Walk & Talk and the Foraging Tour selling out. Surrey Bat Society got absolutely rave reviews, with people loving being out in the dark trying to catch a glimpse of the local bat life.
A group of around 20 people also went over to Applegarth Farm near Hindhead, run by Will Benson of Seedleaves. Will helps us with our hydroponics towers, and has a small vertical farm, which supplies Applegarth’s farm-to-plate restaurant. They're currently going through planning for a large dining conservatory - making the most of natural energy sources - filled with vertical farming towers.
Applegarth Tour, Foraging Walk, and Bat Spotting With Phones
Open Mic Night
The ZERO open mic night is a monthly installment, but the Great Big Version was our biggest and best yet. It was also extremely high quality - with the possible exception of the closing ‘Livin' On A Prayer’ sung karaoke style by a group of ZERO volunteers. (more than prayers needed for this lot you feel).
The feelgood story of the evening was the chap who had just moved to the UK 2 days prior to open mic, happened to wander past ZERO, and came in and stole the show!
Watch the video recap of open mic night above, and sign up for the next one on Oct 29th here!
Guildford Kilo Sale
The Kilo Sale was back for the closing weekend of GBGW! Every first weekend of the month we host To Be Worn Again who fill our first floor with 2nd hand vintage clothing. Saturday morning started out with a queue from the stairs to the street, and the kilo sale team had one of their biggest weekends, selling over 1800 items of clothing. Check out the next Kilo Sale here, happening 5th & 6th November.
We host the kilo sale because it’s a great solution to the horrifying impact of fast fashion on the climate crisis and natural world. Changing how you shop can have a huge impact on your personal carbon emissions, and for ZERO it’s a no-brainer to encourage residents to shop more sustainably.
Versus Guildford residents buying new, those 1800 items of clothes sold in ZERO in just one weekend equates to:
12.5 tons of CO2 equivalent
5.4 million litres of water
Net Zero 360 Business Course
Our Sustainable Business Network team joined forces up with Surrey County Council's LoCASE to start delivering Clean Growth UK’s Net Zero 360 course. Small & medium enterprises overwhelmingly want to start cutting their emissions, but it can feel hugely complex and overwhelming.
This course provides a free, Science Based Targets Initiative method to help SMEs create carbon management plans, measuring and reducing their carbon hotspots to hit net zero 2030 targets.
Alongside the course, monthly SBN events and workshops provide ongoing assistance and practical support to local SMEs. Meanwhile our partnership with the Uni of Surrey grants SMEs access to their knowledge exchange partnerships, and access to post-grads and cutting edge facilities, whilst LoCASE can provide grants of up to £20,000 to help SMEs undertake the practical steps to decarbonisation. Drop us an email today if you want to take advantage of some of these amazing free offers to support your business. email@example.com
The next SBN event focuses on energy, with a panel of experts discussing how businesses can reduce energy, cut bills, and influence their landlords on retrofit.
For the GBGW installment of climate cinema we screened The Atom: A Love affair, accompanied by Q&A from writer & director Vicki Lesley. As you might expect for a film about nuclear energy it was a lively debate, with excellent feedback that the film made people consider their pre-conceived stance on nuclear.
Climate Cinema returns in November with another in-person writer / director Q&A! This time we’re screening Rebellion, the film about Extinction Rebellion’s rise from nothing to its shifting the dial on public awareness of he climate crisis. It also features warts and all coverage of the internal struggles of XR - a soap opera in itself! Sign up here!
We also came back with another installment of Doughnut Economics, discussing how we move from the destructive, extractive systems which have led us to the brink of planetary collapse, toward regenerative and distributive economic models.
Finding ways to live as communities in the sweet spot of the Doughnut allows us to meet the social needs of society whilst not breaching environmental limits. Easier said than done, considering that as we provide more to meet societal needs our environmental footprints increase! Yet many cities, towns, and communities are now finding ways to do exactly this, with Amsterdam currently leading the way.
The Doughnut was born out of the work of Oxford University economist Kate Raworth, and is a fascinating way to explore the harmony between humanity and nature. Get in touch with us if you want to learn more.
Until next year!