Located south of the river Thames, in the London Borough of Lewisham, the Horniman Museum and Gardens connects its audiences with global cultures and the natural environment, encouraging them to shape a positive future for the world we all share. In 2019, the Horniman declared an ecological and climate emergency as a renewed commitment to its ambitions to reduce its own environmental and pollution footprint, increase biodiversity, and inspire others to do so. CleanupUK are partnering with the Horniman to promote litter picking and local awareness of issues related to climate and the local environment.

CleanupUK has been speaking to Carole Destre about the work the Horniman is doing and how local people can get involved.

The Horniman taking on climate change, one action at a time

‘As a museum, we have a climate declaration and a sustainability policy. As a keen litter picker myself and a member of the Lewisham Climate Action group, litter picking seemed like a natural way for the Horniman to empower people to get involved in helping with their local environment. CleanupUK has provided us with equipment for our local community to use.

‘At the Horniman, we’re addressing climate change and our global impact systematically, making significant changes where we can. We’re committed to lowering our carbon and environmental footprint. Amongst our actions, we count: planting a micro-forest along the London Road border of our Gardens thus creating a green wall to improve biodiversity and increase local habitats, and to absorb CO2 in the medium to long term; reusing as much of our exhibitions material as possible to reduce our waste, and removing single-use plastic from our Café.

‘In our local community, we’ve taken this a step further; we have created our Environment Champions Community (ECC) Facebook group to connect people virtually, giving tips and information about sustainable food, waste and biodiversity, encouraging people to share their own achievements and difficulties. Through the ECC and litter picking events, we are hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of plastic and rubbish in general.

How litter picking can help the environment

‘Picking up litter is a great way to connect people to their environment, empowering them to make a tangible and positive impact on their local environment, protecting nature and biodiversity, as well as helping them to get some outdoor exercise and make new friends!

‘We are aiming to offer three litter picking events during the year. We want the Horniman to become a hub for climate-focused activities within our community and have run a symposium to find out from community groups what else they would like the Horniman to support them with.’

Get involved

  • If you’d like to take part in litter-picking with the Horniman Museum and Gardens, get in touch cdestre@horniman.ac.uk
  • If you are a community-based organisation and would like to speak to CleanupUK about becoming a hub for litter picking through our Community Partners Programme, then please get in touch. We can help with accessing litter picking equipment, logistics, health, and safety advice, as well as networking and promotion.