The 365 Ways Blog

Michael Norton is author of "365 Ways to Change the World", which provides an issue for each day of the year, interesting facts, inspiring case studies of people doing things to address the issue and ideas for action. Originally published in the UK, versions with local content have been published in Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. To find out more visit our website:

30 April 2007

Keep fit… in a green gym

You want to keep fit, so you go along to your nearest fitness centre. All those people pedalling away at exercise bikes or jogging along a treadmill… it all seems so pointless. All that Body Odour. And the membership fee will almost cost you a month’s salary. Well, here’s a green and healthy alternative – healthy for you and good for the environment.

The idea is called a “Green Gym”; and this is how it works. A local group will meet usually once a week for a 4-hour session. After some basic warm up exercises, you will be put to work doing practical gardening or conservation work. You might find yourself planting a new hedge, cutting back an overgrown footpath or helping build a community garden. When you get hot there will be cool down activities. You don’t need any experience, and you will be trained in the use of tools. You don’t need latest lycra gear or Nike trainers; you just turn up in some old clothes. And all sessions are free.

The Green Gym scheme was developed by BTCV, the UK’s leading environmental volunteering agency. There are now around 70 all over the UK. If there isn’t one near you, then start one yourself!

Green Gyms:

And when you have finished exercising, go out for a Green Drink

Every month people who work in the environmental field or who are interested in green issues meet informally.

There’s usually a lively mixture of people from NGOs, academia, government and business. Come along and you'll be made welcome. Just say, "are you green?" and regular Green Drinkers will look after you and introduce you to other people. It's a great way of catching up on the issues and for making new contacts. Regular members are asked to invite someone else along, so there’s always a different crowd.

Green Drinks groups are a self-organising network. The first was set up in London in 1989, and now there are over 200 Green Drinks groups in North America, Europe, and even in Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, South Africa and China. Check out if there’s a group near you, and when and where it next meets. Then just go along. The latest initiative is “Green Teens”.
Green drinks:

And then develop some great ideas for saving the environment…

This could be a big project that you will do with others (perhaps some of the people you have had a Green Drink with), or just small everyday actions that you and your family do to change the world.

If you have an idea (and if you live in the UK), then think about applying for a grant form UnLtd (which only makes grants to individuals with ideas, and not to already established organisations):

And two more things to do…

Sign up to receive the 365 Ways to Change the World newsletter at

And spread the word. Forward this to as many people as you can.


Blogger Tracey said...

Green Drinks Somerset here!

Just a short note to say, I set up GDS 2 months ago and both meetings were wonderful!

It's very inspiring and just great to spend a relaxed evening with people of a like mind.

I highly recommend it and can't wait until GDS No 3!

Kind regards,
Tracey Smith

2:38 pm  

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