Reassembling our Cities - A series of conversations hosted by PAN UK

Reassembling our Cities

Creating pesticide-free urban spaces for people, plants and wildlife

A series of conversations hosted by PAN UK

Our cities are home to vibrant communities of people and biodiversity. Yet, human health is routinely put at risk and wildlife dramatically depleted as councils and land stewards continue to use pesticides to control weeds and other pests in an effort to keep our urban spaces ‘neat and tidy’.

Ending the use of these poisons in our parks, playgrounds, pavements, verges and other green spaces is the first step in creating thriving cities which are abundant with life. Many projects forged by local residents to bring communities together in nature and to encourage wildlife are undermined by the continued spraying of chemicals by local authorities and it is time we followed the example of some of our European neighbours and banned pesticides in our towns and cities.

Going pesticide-free requires councils, local organisations and residents to work together to find adapted solutions – the right pieces to complete their unique puzzle. This series of talks aims to highlight the importance of valuing the green spaces and wildlife in our cities:

Our Resilient Neighbours celebrates the plants on our streets and how they came to be there.
Space for Us All investigates the diversity of our urban wildlife.
Connecting Communities examines the potential of our green urban areas to be varied and generous spaces for all.
And lastly, Abundant Green Networks reimagines our urban spaces as a patchwork of solutions to our many diverse needs.

We will hear from inspiring environmental communicators, educators and protectors who are leading the way in reassembling our cities into green and inclusive spaces. Find out more and book your free tickets below.

Our Resilient Neighbours - Celebrating the plants on our streets

Our Resilient Neighbours

Celebrating the plants on our streets 

This event is now over but do scroll down to watch it online.

Going pesticide-free is not just about replacing herbicides with mechanical weeding methods, or relying on communities that have the luxury of time to weed their own streets. It’s also about encouraging councils and residents to move away from the ‘neat and tidy’ mentality. We need to recognise the importance of pavement plants in supporting our mental health and the urban ecosystem as a whole. Let’s celebrate the plants on our streets by letting them grow freely where possible. Join us in conversation with botanists and plant lovers across the country who are showing our pavement plants the respect they deserve.

WATCH RECORDING

Joining us for this event:

Sophie Leguil - More Than Weeds

Sophie Leguil

Sophie is a botanist, writer and nature tour leader. She created ‘More Than Weeds‘ which aims to change our perception of urban plants.

Ali McKernan - The Fungi Guy

Ali McKernan

Ali (better known as The FUNgi Guy) likes to hunt, spot, prod, stroke, scratch and sniff fungi and wants to share the sense of wellbeing they can provide!

Rasheeqa Ahmad

Rasheeqa Ahmad

Rasheeqa is a herbalist and member of the Community Apothecary (a patchwork of community medicinal herb gardens) and the Mobile Apothecary (a street medicine distribution project) in Bethnal Green.

Leif Bersweden

Leif Bersweden

Leif is a writer, botanist and science communicator. He is author of The Orchid Hunter and leads plant identification courses for The Species Recovery Trust.

Space for us all - Sharing our cities with urban wildlife

Space for Us All

Sharing our cities with urban wildlife 

This event is now over but do scroll down to watch it online.

Using pesticides in our urban spaces directly and indirectly harms our vulnerable wildlife. Insect numbers are plummeting and many species are struggling to find viable resources and safe habitats. Nature is not only in our countryside. Our cities are also incredibly important spaces for many species and we need to ensure that abundant and varied habitats are created to support biodiversity in our urban areas. These green spaces need to be safe and pesticide-free in order for wildlife to thrive. Join us in conversation with conservationists across the country who are working to engage diverse communities with wildlife in urban areas.

Watch recording

Joining us for this event:

Dave Goulson

Dave Goulson

Dave is Professor of Biology, a brilliant author, Wildlife Trust ‘Ambassador’ and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Jenny Tse-Leon - Froglife

Jenny Tse-Leon

Jenny is Conservation, Evaluation & Research Manager at Froglife, a fantastic charity working to conserve UK’s amphibians and reptiles.

Nadeem Perera - Flock Together

Nadeem Perera

Nadeem is Wildlife Director for Flock Together, a birdwatching collective for people of colour, working to connect young people with nature.

Sylvia Myers - Natural History Museum

Sylvia Myers

Sylvia is Ecologist and Volunteer Manager in the Wildlife Garden of London’s Natural History Museum and loves wildlife that is overlooked.

Connecting Communities - Bringing people together through gardening

Connecting Communities

Bringing people together through gardening

This event is now over but do scroll down to watch it online.

Gardening can be an exclusive, and even environmentally-damaging, practice. Historically, those with access to land have set the parameters of what a garden should look like and who can enter. High walls, locked gates, manicured lawns, prescriptive plants and plenty of pesticides are a thing of the past. Gardens should surround us and be accessible to all. They have the potential to be varied and generous spaces which reflect local communities. Join us in conversation with community leaders working across the UK to provide access to gardening for all.

WATCH RECORDING

Joining us for this event:

Poppy Okotcha

Poppy Okotcha

Poppy is an ecologically focused grower, forager, home cook and star of Channel 4’s ‘The Great Garden Revolution’.

Sara Venn - Edible Bristol

Sara Venn

Sara is a horticulturist, writer, food activist and general disruptor. She founded Incredible Edible Bristol in 2014 to bring people together over food.

Sui Searle - Decolonise the Garden

Sui Searle

Sui is a trained gardener and writer. She founded @decolonisethegarden in 2020 to counter the harmful, exclusive, white-centric narrative within the horticulture industry.

Ashley Edwards - Horatio's Garden

Ashley Edwards

Ashley is Head Gardener at Horatio’s Garden at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore. The garden is a sanctuary for patients with spinal injuries.

Abundant Green Networks - Reimagining our urban spaces

Abundant Green Networks

Reimagining our urban spaces

This event is now over but do scroll down to watch it online.

We need to reimagine our cities to be greener, wilder and more inclusive spaces. Getting our cities to go pesticide-free is the first step in creating safe spaces in which people and wildlife can thrive. Yet there is no easy single replacement for a weed killer or insecticide. Communities need to develop a relationship to their local environment that matches their own diverse needs. Join us in conversation with inspiring campaigners, lawyers, and designers across the UK who are fighting to protect and increase access to nature in our urban spaces.

WATCH RECORDING

Joining us for this event:

Ellen Miles - Nature is a Human Right

Ellen Miles

Ellen is an environmental justice activist and founder of Nature is a Human Right and Dream Green.

Paul Powlesland - Lawyers for Nature

Paul Powlesland

Paul is a barrister and founder of Lawyers for Nature. He is an advocate for the Rights of Nature, giving legal rights to the natural world.

Sian Moxon - Rewild My Street

Siân Moxon

Siân is a Senior Lecturer in sustainable design and urban biodiversity at London Metropolitan University and founded the award-winning Rewild My Street campaign.

Carole Wright

Carole Wright

Carole @blak_outside is a project manager, community gardener, beekeeper and proud South Londoner.