G7 Summit and the environment

The G7 (Group of Seven) is made up of the world’s seven largest so-called advanced economies, and is hosted by the UK in Carbis Bay, Cornwall from 11-13 June 2021. Ahead of the Climate Change meeting COP26 in Glasgow in November, Britain should be displaying its green credentials, with the pandemic and environmental issues high on the agenda.

Extinction Rebellion Red Rebels surround Smeaton’s Tower on Plymouth Hoe 5th June 2021

Activists for action on environmental and climate change issues were out in support of those marching to Carbis Bay as they passed through Plymouth, with another 85 miles to go. I joined them dressed as Poly-Mer, the hybrid fish made from plastic packaging.

‘Drowning in Promises’ was a popular slogan, reflecting the lack of progress on the targets set by governments across the world to try to keep global warming under 1.5ºC. Individuals can only do so much. Governments must implement laws and policies to make a difference. And we must not make these changes at the expense of the less affluent nations, who have been paid to bury/burn our plastic rubbish, plunder the oceans for fish, and cut down their forests to supply us with timber, cheap food and palm oil.
Friends from Plymouth with their home produced banners.

But we do not have to feel hopeless in the the face of this political mountain. We can write to our MPs regarding environmental issues, and join local groups that are making a difference. We can all do small things to minimise our impact on the earth, from avoiding plastic packaging and using a refillable water bottle, to using public transport, walking and cycling where possible, and shopping locally. Repair, re-use and recycle.

Tess Wilmot and some of the crew, including Poly-Mer, on the Food Plymouth litter pick.

Within 100m of Plymouth Hoe we picked up 5kg of rubbish, mostly plastic food packaging and bottles. Plastic takes hundreds of years to break down in the environment, and is a danger to wildlife as well as entering the food and water that we consume. In a survey of bottled water from a large number of companies over 80% contained plastic.

So-called ‘biodegradable’ and ‘compostable’ cups are not recycled locally so are incinerated.

Much of the discarded plastic finds its way into the drains, into rivers and into the sea.

‘Chalking’ brings the issues to the attention of passers-by.
Down the drain: plastic ‘confetti’, cigarette butts and bits of plastic bags

There were so many cigarette butts. Most of these contain plastic and take around 10 years to break down. Surely such cigarettes and filters should be banned!

Cigarette butts picked up on a short walk from Plymouth Hoe towards the city centre.

We finished our trip by visiting Louise at her new zero-waste shop Green Shoots Eco in Devonport, where you can re-fill your own containers with dry produce, olive and rape seed oils, fresh milk and eggs, fresh fruit and veg, as well as toiletries and cleaning products. She also stocks environmentally friendly alternatives to plastic washing up brushes, sponges and dental floss amongst other things!

Poly-Mer with Louise Bohana and Tess Wilmot at Green Shoots Eco in Phelps Road, Plymouth

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