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One Planet Week

One Planet Week runs every year during Week 6 of Spring Term to celebrate and share the University's sustainability knowledge and research to staff, students and the wider public. We are using Bioregional's One Planet Living® framework.

One Planet Week aims to provide a platform from which to promote awareness, and share knowledge and actions on sustainability to staff, students and the wider community. The title reminds us that we live on a planet with finite resources and that currently we're living beyond those limited means - every year the average European consumes 3 planet’s worth of resources (for the USA the figure is 5 planet’s worth)!

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Sustainability at York

This year we have a range of on-campus and hybrid events (face-to-face & online), with the online events also being recorded for catch-up on the Sustainability YouTube Channel.

For presentations given outside of One Planet Week, we have a range of sustainability and climate change themed talks within our York Ideas YouTube playlist.

“Sustainability is at the core of our university strategy, and is becoming ever more pressing. Our Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 is underway, so for One Planet Week this year I encourage you to find out more about what we're doing, and to get involved with the research, educational and social events planned by our students and staff.”

Charlie Jeffrey, Vice-Chancellor

One Planet Week 2023: Land and Nature

This year our One Planet Week theme is Land and Nature, with most events available in person and open to the public, and will be recorded. 

One of the 10 principles of One Planet Living® (a framework by Bioregional) Land and Nature focuses on creating, protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife.  It promotes positive impacts on natural ecosystems and not to harm them, from extraction to production and retail. It further outlines the need to source materials responsible and eliminate the use of materials associated with the destruction of natural habitats, while making a positive impact to local biodiversity. 

Through some of our events we will look at what biodiversity means now and through time, how natural habitats can be created on small and larger scales and how to work with and protect natural resources for the benefit of both people and wildlife. We also explore the importance of wildlife to human wellbeing through our on-campus guided walk and how it inspires us through our Art and Media competition. Entries for the competition are welcome from staff and students to be submitted by 3rd February. Voting on the shortlisted candidates will take place during One Planet Week itself.

Join in with our events

Our timetable for this year’s events is now live. Take a look below at all our events for this year's One Planet Week.

Living sustainability in North Yorkshire 11,000 years ago - 13 February at 6pm

For millennia, humans have faced dramatic changes in climate and their environment. In this interactive lecture, we explore how archaeological evidence from an 11,000-year-old site near Scarborough and across Yorkshire, inform us about the sustainability of hunter-gatherer lifeways, how people lived through climatic uncertainty, and whether we in the present day might learn from the resilience of people in the past.

Helping UK biodiversity thrive in the Anthropocene - 15 February at 12 noon

Examining how species are shifting their ranges to track climate change, and how we use this information to make recommendations for how to help biodiversity thrive.

The Yorkshire Naturalist's Union: 160+ years of recording biodiversity in Yorkshire - 16 February at 12 noon (online only)

A look at the origins and development of the Yorkshire Naturalist's Union (YNU) in the mid-19th century through to its activities today.

Re-wilding Campus East at the University of York - 13 February at 12.30pm

A key characteristic of the University of York is our lakeside campuses, which cover 117 hectares (289 acres) and are home to an abundance of wildlife. The evolving landscape is designed not only to provide a beautiful and tranquil environment for work and study, but a habitat capable of supporting an increasingly diverse range of animals and plants.

Working for a Wilder Yorkshire - 14 February at 11.30am

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is the only body that works to enhance wildlife and ecosystems across the whole of Yorkshire.  We have over 100 nature reserves and very active public engagement programmes. This is a talk about YWT's work and how you can get involved!

Cooper King Distillery: Adventure into sustainable spirits - 16 February at 6pm

A life-changing adventure to Australia led an architect and a scientist into self-building a pioneering distillery in Yorkshire. Discover how a deep-rooted, sustainable ethos can positively transform the landscape, influence others and inspire change.

Out of sight, out of mind: the abuse of our soils - 14 February at 1.30pm

Soil is the basis of all life on land, including ourselves, and yet we abuse it.  World-wide, soil is now being lost 100 times faster than it is formed.  The consequences of the neglect and abuse of our soils have always been horrific and will be so in the future unless we stop treating soil like dirt.

The Oil Machine film screening - 15 February at 5.45pm

Are you concerned about recent upheavals in energy security, the cost of living, and our climate? #TheOilMachine is a new documentary film that looks at how the drama of global climate action is playing out in the fight over North Sea oil. Join the Climate Change Network for a screening of this compelling new film. Come and discuss why the end of oil is crucial to all of us and discuss how we can build a resilient future.

Does sustainability need a radical change to land law? - 17 February at 12.30pm

There is clearly a need for a more sustainable approach to the way we use land. However, the meaning of this aim is potentially incredibly complex. Law will play a part in the process of developing sustainable approaches to land. In this lecture we will examine some radical options for reforming (revolutionising?) land law. In particular, we will consider home-ownership structures; the implications of the regulation of non-use of land; and land as part of the circular economy.

Nature-based farming in protected areas - 17 February at 6pm

Working with nature has become a central approach to providing solutions to climate and biodiversity challenges the world is facing. Schemes that support so called Nature-based Solutions (NbS) have been applied in the North York Moors National Park within the Farming in Protected Landscapes programme as part of a portfolio of activities that support the wider management.  We have been working to identify the level of intervention and to classify the most common archetypes, approaches, challenges, and ecosystem services delivered across the National Park. As well as identifying good practice we emphasise the gaps that should be filled to achieve the objectives of the Environmental Land Management scheme in the UK and how these are implemented across the wider landscape.

Transforming our senses for nature, reconnection, repatterning and hope - 14 February at 6pm

Given the enormity of the many challenges facing people and the planet, humanity has little option but to try and find ways to help support societal transformations towards fundamentally different patterns and ways of doing things. The challenge is working out how to get there, and fast. Importantly new relationships to the nature upon which we depend will need to be created. One way to start doing this is to come back to our senses. Re-connecting to our feelings by re-opening our senses to the natural world can remind us of the importance of what is beautiful, good and right.

Campus guided non-native tree trail - 13 to 17 February during lunchtimes

Come and enjoy some of the beautiful and special trees that live on Campus West.  You will be guided along part of our Campus West Non-Native Tree Trail by our student volunteers, who will tell you a little about each tree.  Maps are available to continue the full trail if you wish. 

Our Non-Native Tree Trail is part of a wider York Living Labs (YLLs) biodiversity initiative that aims to use our campuses as test-beds for sustainability solutions. Created by Environmental Sustainability at York (ESAY), the Living Labs provide powerful learning opportunities for our students, and motivate and empower everyone on campus to drive changes towards sustainability. 

Accessibility information: due to the nature of this walk, the route includes areas of uneven ground and steps away from central accessible walkways, and will therefore not be suitable for members with mobility issues. Please wear sturdy footwear and warm clothing as the walk will take place outside on the University grounds. You can also visit see our alternative accessible routes

Climate Literacy taster session and documentary night - 14 February at 6pm

In an age of climate anxiety, join us for a Carbon Literacy taster session run by one of our Carbon Literacy Trainers, Samantha Watson to learn what steps are being taken to address the climate crisis and how you can play your part! This event will introduce you to the carbon literacy sessions run at the university using a documentary screening to aid discussion.

One Planet Week Live Cooking Demo (online) - 16 February at 12.30pm

Join us for a live online cooking demonstration where our award-winning chefs will cook up something delicious and show you how you can do the same at home. The dish will support this year’s One Planet Week theme, Land and Nature. If you can't join us on the day, you can still sign up and we'll send you a link to the video along with ingredients needed, a step-by-step guide and some tips and tricks. Send us a picture of your recreation of one of the dishes for a chance to win £50 for local businesses in York.


Previous themes and events

Find out more about our previous One Planet Week events in the dropdowns below.

OPW22’s theme was Equity and Local Economy, which focused on a range of sustainable events revolving around the topics of local food, climate crisis, practical actions and sustainable businesses. It saw events such as a live cooking demo using locally sourced sustainable food, to learning about Yorkshire’s bioeconomy and business growth. There was a wide range of workshops and discussions with many social events and activities. Some of the presentations from the week can be found on the OPW22 playlist on our Sustainability YouTube channel.

We moved all our activities online for 2021 and covered sustainability related to Culture and Community, including sharing a virtual meal in our online cooking demo. We also looked at how different communities are affected by the climate crisis and how sustainability solutions can affect and interact with those with disabilities. Some of the presentations from the week are available on our OPW21 playlist on our Sustainability Youtube Channel

OPW20 was on the theme of Zero Carbon and included a range of educational and practical events to show how low carbon living could be achieved.  We teamed up with GIKI to help people find low carbon foods when they shop and ran a community volunteering event to plant 1000 trees for One Planet both on campus and on local school and community recreation grounds. Some of the presentations from the week can be found on the OPW20 playlist of our Sustainability Youtube channel.


OPW2019 had some great events from the Ocean Plastics Exhibition to Ethical Clothes Swaps, Quizzes, Tombola, Eco-cafe crawls and making your own Beeswax Wrap workshop.

We also had our "More Sustainable Options" labels in the Nisa in Market Square, which highlighted local and seasonal products, vegan options, Fairtrade accreditations, recycled materials, and/or use of sustainable palm oil.

Our calendar below shows all the activities which ran throughout the week.

The calendar is visible to all members of the University - you need to be logged into your University Google Account to see it. Click the +Google Calendar button (bottom right) to subscribe to the calendar.


In 2018 staff and students demonstrated their commitment to the theme (and principle) of Zero Waste! 

Starting with a Karaoke Night in the Courtyard, #OPW18 included a range of workshops from upcycling to fixing musical instruments; a college recycling audit competition; a Zero Waste Challenge; a virtual Wonder Wander in the 3Sixty Room; and building a bug hotel building - to name but a few.

What next?

Being more sustainable isn’t just for One Planet Week!

Check out our web pages to find out more things that you can do to make sure you're living more sustainable and within our one planet's resources.

What you can do

Contact us

Sustainability at York