This Autumn, world leaders will meet in Glasgow for COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference. This summit is a crunch point for tackling climate change. Countries will need to agree and meet some highly ambitious targets to reduce Greenhouse gases. Ahead of this event, communities across the UK are holding their own Great Big Green Week fringe festivals, stepping up their actions to reduce emissions and urging world leaders to ‘step up’ too. Pontypridd is holding its own Green Week and is so far topping the bill for the number of events and activities on offer compared to the rest of Wales.
Angela Karadog is a project coordinator for the European CEYOU project which explores ways of engaging young people in the circular economy. “Initially, I registered Pontypridd Green Week expecting to run maybe a single event for the project combined with some social media through the week. But the people of Pontypridd had other ideas! Now we have partnered with Climate.Cymru and the local Friends of the Earth and we are organising what is shaping up to be a really full week of activities, workshops, arts, presentations and celebrations, we are even writing a bill of rights for the river!”
Pontypridd Green Week even has its own poet in residence, Rufus Mufasa, former Future Generations Act Poet in Residence for Wales and a leading artist in promoting and mentoring young voices.
The week kicks off with a community fancy dress litter-pick followed by drop-in engagement sessions, presentation of the CEYOU products, an upcycled art project, a recycled catwalk (come along in your favourite hand-me-downs and strike a pose), David Attenborough documentary film screening, and a youth forum session. On day two, members of the youth forum have been invited by Mick Antoniw MS to visit the Senedd.
During the week there will be social media challenges, community engagement sessions, volunteer gardening sessions, an eco book club and shop window displays to entertain and engage passers by. We will be encouraging everyone to add their voice to the Climate Cymru campaign to tell world leaders why action on climate change is so important to the people of Wales as well as sharing ideas for more local action.
At the end of the week we have a Repair Cafe, an introduction to permaculture talk, a plant and seed swap, and local councillor and assembly member, Heledd Fychan, will be collecting your views on the week and on how to keep up the momentum.
The Taff Rights
Throughout the build-up to Pontypridd Green Week local people have been contributing ideas to create a bill of rights for the Taff, the river flowing through the heart of the town. These rights, such as ‘The right to be free from litter’ will be incorporated into a handmade scroll crafted from local plants and natural materials and this will be presented during a celebration of the rights of the river. The Celebration will start with a river-side litter pick and go on to include poetry and song with the community choir, a parade, inter-faith blessings and words from local people.
Hayley Richards of Pontypridd Friends of the Earth explains “There is a steadily growing interest in protecting nature and our rivers, Frome recently tried to pass a by-law recognising their river as a legal entity, Cam have done something similar and there’s even a universal declaration of river rights. Pontypridd is still recovering from the 2020 Storm Dennis flood which devastated so many homes and businesses, climate change is literally at our doorstep. We thought this would be a positive way to bring the community together and raise awareness of the needs of the river as a natural feature and habitat, and to help us to connect with nature.”
CEYOU has circulated info packs to local schools and businesses. They are also available to download on the facebook page or drop us an email at pontygreenweek.gmail.com
Pontypridd Green Week runs from 18th – 26th September with events both in the town centre and online. For more info please follow the Pontypridd Green Week Facebook page.