Don't get frustrated about a lack of progress on sustainability issues and sit back and do nothing, we can all do something to make our planet a better place. Volunteer with a local organisation, sign a petition or write to/email someone. If you don't speak up then they may not realise there is even an issue.
If you would like to get involved in litter picking in the Borough then you can sign Epsom and Ewell Borough Council's Litter Picking Pledge and apply for a litter picking kit (subject to availability).
Keep Epsom and Ewell Tidy run a facebook page highlighting the work of volunteer litter pickers in the Borough and also arrange group litter picks. Take a look at their page to find out more.
Make taking an old bag and litter picker or glove part of your standard leaving the house kit along with your wallet, keys, phone, and reusable coffee cup or water bottle! If everyone just picked up a few items of litter each day our local areas would look much better. We can all be part of the solution.
Local Recycling Schemes
Our local Terracycle recycling collection points are all set-up by and run by volunteers. They appreciate help from residents with sorting and packing the items which are dropped off. If you would like to volunteer to help, contact one of the groups below directly:
Why not become a Tree Champion with the Epsom and Ewell Tree Advisory Board (EETAB)? Volunteer Tree Champions are people who feel that trees matter and who help to care for trees in their road or local park. Newly planted trees need watering during the hot summer months, ideally twice a week, Tree Champions help with this important work. They also have a local tree nursery where they grow on young trees for planting projects around the Borough. EETAB also have a facebook page.
The Ecovols are the volunteer group of the Epsom Common Association, they carry out a variety of conservation projects on the Common throughout the year in association with English Nature, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council and the Lower Mole Countryside Management Project.
The Lower Mole Partnership carries out a wide range of practical conservation tasks to implement improvements to the local countryside and they welcome volunteers to help with their conservation work, for more details check their webpage.
The South East Rivers Trust have a Pollution Patrol and are looking for local volunteers to join their Pollution monitoring scheme on the Wandle, Hogsmill and Beverley Brook.
If you'd like to volunteer at one of the borough's Local Nature Reserves as an Epsom and Ewell Countryside Team Volunteer then check the Epsom and Ewell borough council website for details of the local community groups and volunteering opportunities.
Ewell Court Library is run by volunteers and they urgently need more volunteers with various skills to keep the library functioning.
In normal times the library is open on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 5pm and Saturday from 10am to 4pm, each day split into two shifts.
The library is structured in the following way:
Management Team – Deals with the running and organising of the library, liaising with Surrey Library Service.
Lead Volunteers – run the day to day session they are on
Volunteers – assist in the general running of the library.
This is a rewarding task to take on and they look forward to hearing from you.
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or pop into the library and have a chat.
Citizen Science Projects
Anyone can participate in Citizen Science Projects, where volunteers and scientists work together to answer real-world questions and gather data. Some of these projects are annual events whereby residents count particular species on a certain date, others involve spending time analysing data for a one-off project such as the Urban Tree Canopy Cover project. Here are some projects you might like to get involved in:
The Big Hedgehog Map - Hedgehog Street have set up the Big Hedgehog Map where you can log any hedgehog sightings. The Hedgehog Street website also has lots of information about hedgehogs and how to help protect them.
Annual Citizen Science Projects
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch - The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place annually on the last weekend of January. If you take part you will be adding to over 40 years of data, which is vital to help us understand the challenges faced by wildlife.
PondNet Spawn Survey - The Freshwater Habitats Trust have an annual PondNet project where they ask for help collecting data on the whereabouts of frog and toad spawn across the country. The survey takes place from January until May each year and participants are asked to record both toad and frog spawn in their garden ponds, local community ponds, and any ponds they come across in their adventures in the countryside.
CPRE The Countryside Charity's Star Count - The Star Count organised by CPRE takes place annually for a week at the end of February/beginning of March. Participants are asked to look up at the constellation Orion and count how many stars they can see. The results from Star Count help CPRE to make a map of where star-spotters are enjoying deep, dark skies. By showing on a map where light pollution is most serious, CPRE can work with local councils and others to decide what to do about it.
The Big Plastic Count - The Big Plastic Count was set up by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastic and is a "simple yet impactful way to discover your household plastic footprint, whilst contributing vital evidence to push the government for long overdue change". The initiative involves keeping a record of all your plastic waste for one week and then submitting the data. The Big Plastic Count was first held in May 2022 and is expected to be repeated as an annual event.
The Great Stag Hunt - The Great Stag Hunt organsied by The People's Trust for Endangered Species is a project to record sightings of Stag Beetles whose numbers are in decline. They are usually seen from mid-May to late July. If you'd like to learn more about stag beetles, the Natural History Museum website has some interesting information.
The Big Butterfly Count - The Big Butterfly Count is organised by Butterfly Conservation and takes place from mid-July to early August. It is a UK-wide survey aimed at helping scientists assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) that are seen.
Sign a Petition or Support a Campaign
Signing a petition can be a great way to get you voice heard about an issue that is important to you. Here is a selection of active petitions we have supported:
Rewilding Road Verges Campaign
Plantlife's Road Verge Campaign has a petition you can sign which sends a letter to your local council which is the designated Highway Authority with responsibility for verge management. In our case this is Surrey County Council although the actual verge cutting work is delegated to Epsom and Ewell Borough Council, so you may like to contact your local Councillors about this issue too!
Ban urban and garden pesticides to protect bees, other wildlife and human health
This is a petition to the government to ban the use of pesticides in urban areas and end their sale for use in gardens. The petition explains: "There is simply no need to spray poisons in our streets, parks & gardens for cosmetic purposes, where they harm bees & other wildlife & pose a risk to human health. Safe alternatives are available, where necessary. " You can find more details and sign here.
Pesticide Free Towns Campaign
The Pesticide Action Network seeks to promote safe and sustainable alternatives to pesticides. A lot of information is available on the website, the “ Pesticide Free Towns Campaign” seeks to reduce and/or eliminate pesticide use in public spaces.
Write a Letter or Email
Your Local Representatives
Our local Government has a high impact on local sustainability so it is important that we are engaged with local politics, vote in local elections and communicate with our elected representatives to highlight issues that concern us.
To find out details of your local Councillors and how to contact them, use Epsom and Ewell Borough Council's Where I Live tool. To find out about decisions that are being made on your behalf you can read through the minutes of recent Council meetings online. Details of meetings for Epsom and Ewell Borough Council can be found here and the calendar of upcoming meetings can be found here.
If it is national decision making which concerns you then you could email your MP.
You could also consider writing to local businesses if you have suggestions about the sustainability of materials they choose and products they offer. You can usually find contact details on the business website. Be warned that if it is a large business and you are asking a difficult question then you may not always get a response...but persevere and if your first approach isn't successful seek an alternative method of contact. Larger businesses are often more responsive to queries through their social media platforms, due to the public nature of this medium!
Protests and Extinction Rebellion
XR Epsom and Ewell
Extinction Rebellion is the fast growing and international movement demanding urgent action in the face of the climate and ecological emergency. Extinction Rebellion Epsom & Ewell offer concerned local citizens a collective platform and voice to take action in averting this developing crisis. The time to act is now!