Southampton National Park City; Greening the City Festival November 2021

by Margaret Booker

Southampton National Park City; Greening the City Festival November 2021

Corona virus and climate change have brutally torn away lives, but it has also revealed some home truths about who and what is really  important.

The value of our natural environment has become clearer: for our health; mental and physical and helping prevent social isolation tackling pollution, a major issue here in Southampton. For food, leisure, sports and exercise. Whether walking in your local park, growing vegetables in your garden, allotment or balcony and having green areas where every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning.

The impacts of climate change and the importance of COP26 have made it an urgent mission for us all to do everything we can to preserve and improve the green and blue environment of Southampton.

Our ambition for the city to become a National Park City is driven by this agenda. And a mission to enable us all to contribute to make this a reality.

But how often do we recognise the value of our local green heroes? Our citizens: young and old, who voluntarily give up their time and energy. They  constantly share their skills, experience and knowledge in order to make our city greener, cleaner and healthier.

So, we wanted to thank them and draw residents’ attention to the important work they do and to inspire many more people to get involved in what is probably the most important mission for all of us.

So, we decided to hold a Greening the City Festival during the Cop period. A chance for us all to get our hands dirty! And get involved in open days ,communal gardening and opportunities for all to learn more about plants ,food growing, protecting our green spaces and wildlife and even wider potential opportunities such as skills, training, and possibly jobs for local people.

If we all do something to improve whatever space is available, we can all help to create a city which is greener in the long-term than it is today and where people and nature are better connected. A city which protects its parks and green and blue spaces and where buildings and public spaces aren’t defined only by stone, brick, concrete, glass and steel, a city that is rich with wildlife.

And the Festival was a joy! Meeting so many dedicated, cheerful and knowledgeable folks who work hard to improve their patch of Southampton  and to create a much better environment for us all, deserve our thanks and recognition. Many of us returned home with new friends, valuable information, more enthusiasm and determination to do our bit help create a better, greener City and often with plants, fruit and veg and muddy hands and knees!

You can get involved by joining us on Southampton National Park city and find green organisations you can get involved with or start your own local a green group.

We plan another event next year and we really need to hear from as many of you as possible so the next festival will be bigger, better and more impactful…

– Margaret Booker