A microclimate emergency

Our walls can't protect us from changes in the global climate. So we want to do something about it.

Founded in 1673 on the banks of the River Thames, Chelsea Physic Garden is London’s oldest Botanic Garden. The unique microclimate of the Garden made it the perfect place for The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to grow the plants they used to create medicines. For nearly 350 years the Garden has been a place of scientific understanding, healing, and enjoyment for the people of London. Unfortunately, the microclimate of the Garden is under threat. This is why we are declaring the world’s first “Microclimate Emergency”.


“Our walls can’t protect us from changes in the global climate. So, we want to do something about it. When we talk about the impact of climate change all over the world it can often be overwhelming, and we can find it easier to ignore it. By focusing on the impacts we are seeing here in our four acre Garden, we can help people to grapple with big ideas on a manageable scale. Our aim is to help them understand how to make small positive changes that can make a difference.”– Susan Medway, Director

Chelsea Physic Garden believes that tackling a Microclimate Emergency can be done with micro-interventions. A second rainwater collection tank for the Garden, a commitment to be single-use plastic-free in our retail operations by 2024, and removing peat from our compost are all small things that will have a big impact. We want others to join us. We are asking visitors to take make three micro changes that will have a positive impact right away.

  1. Collect rainwater for watering their gardens and houseplants
  2. Make their own compost if they can, or commit to going peat-free
  3. Use a reusable cup for hot drinks when on the go

It’s not just visitors we want to involve. We are calling on other Gardens to join them in declaring their own Microclimate Emergencies in the hope of creating a network of green spaces all tackling this issue together. The Garden has made all our weather data available online for anyone to use, and we have provided a template for other Gardens and Gardeners who want to start tracking the impact of microclimate change.

As a major centre of public engagement we lead the way in supporting businesses and individuals to reduce their carbon emissions. Our approach to the climate emergency:

Our mission is to explore, explain and conserve the world of plants for a better future

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