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What was the Year of Green Action?

Logo: Year of Green Action 2019

The government’s 25 Year Environment Plan published in 2018 set out its ambition for a healthier, greener future, with action to crack down on plastic waste pollution, create richer wildlife habitats, improve air and water quality, and connect more people with nature. This could not be delivered by government alone, and making 2019 a year of action for the environment showed how we all have a role to play to ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we found it. Children and young people were to be at the heart of the year, and we partnered with the youth social action charity, Step Up To Serve, to engage the younger generation in practical action for the environment.

The Year of Green Action (YoGA) was launched by Defra’s Secretary of State, Michael Gove, at the end of January, alongside the launch of Step Up To Serve’s #iwill4nature campaign, designed to involve more young people in social action to improve the environment. Throughout the year, a host of events run by partner organisations promoted the three themes of YoGA – connecting with nature, protecting nature and enhancing nature.

Year of Green Action Impact

The YoGA’s impact has been far-reaching and stimulated green actions across the whole country, including:

  • 4,000 pledges made at events and on our website www.yearofgreenaction.org for individual behaviour change, to live more lightly on the earth
  • 18,000 visits to the YoGA website where we are promoting 70 top tips for sustainable living and advertising events and green volunteering opportunities
  • 10,400 followers to our Twitter account with over 12,000 #YearOfGreenAction tweets from stakeholders, spreading our sustainability messages far and wide
  • 1,000 public pledges at our silver-medal winning YoGA garden at the RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival. The Festival attracted over 40,000 visitors and the YoGA garden, designed by the Sensory Trust to show how to connect children of all abilities to nature through their senses, was featured on the BBC coverage
  • 6,500 participants and supporters at the Army’s YoGA-themed Ten Tors event, connecting young people of all abilities with nature in the magnificent Dartmoor National Park
  • Public sector partnerships – including in Kent, Liverpool, Birmingham and across the National Park family – engaging thousands of local people through running their own Years of Green Action in 2019
  • 50 #iwill4nature youth ambassadors recruited through our partnership with Step Up To Serve to engage and inspire change
  • Over 100 individual events promoting access to nature and environmental action, supported by the YoGA team and captured in an end of year review. They included a Boardroom in the Forest, which brought together young ambassadors and influential business leaders to drive corporate pledges for shifts towards more sustainable working practices
  • A series of sponsored awards which recognised stellar examples of green action. These included the Park Protectors Awards for NGOs, the Social Prescribing Awards for nature based health interventions, the Bees Needs Awards for primary schools, Groundwork Awards for community groups, the Brilliant Civil Service Awards for Government Departments, Advancing Healthcare Awards for healthcare providers and IEMA awards for businesses
  • Increased uptake of environmental volunteering in the Civil Service and developing green staff networks across government

The year stimulated lots of green action, which we hope will continue to grow and grow – please visit our website to read more!

Some highlights from the year [with photos]

Year of Green Action garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival

Year of Green Action garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival
Year of Green Action garden at RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival


Go Wild Week in Kettering

Go Wild Week in Kettering


YoGA award runners-up: Butterfly Conservation’s All The Moor butterflies project staff with Defra Minister Rebecca Pow

YoGA award runners-up: Butterfly Conservation’s All The Moor butterflies project staff with Defra Minister Rebecca Pow


Defra Director General, Sonia Phippard, at the launch of the Youth Forest

Defra Director General, Sonia Phippard, at the launch of the Youth Forest

Launch of the Kew children’s garden

Launch of Kew children's garden
Launch of Kew children's garden

Defra staff litter picking along the Thames Path

Defra staff litter picking along the Thames Path