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Programme Speaker: Rebecca Cecil Wright

Climate for Change - 27th to 29th October 2022

Blog by Sue Butler, SI Ilkley

Rebecca Cecil Wright is a founding member of Envirofest.

Envirofest promotes a healthy and stable way of life for our children by bringing environmental issues into the conversation – all conversations from the personal to the political.

We need a carbon neutral future.

Secretly is that beginning to sound like ‘same old, same old’ – so let me start with the second half of her presentation and why I made resolutions to further reduce my plastic use from this afternoon.

Rebecca showed us the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ which David Attenborough has called one of the most important films of our time.

Some awareness raising from that film:

  • Plastic travels thousands of miles across the ocean e.g from the USA to Antarctica
  • Seabirds eat it – surprisingly large pieces. It will not leave the seabird’s stomach. Thousands of sea birds die when their distended stomachs, literally as full as they will hold, will take nothing further in. An ecosystem starts to die too
  • Turtles eat plastic – polythene bags that look like jellyfish for instance – the bags release gas so that the turtle can no longer dive for food. More death; destruction of another ecosystem
  • In Manila whole canals have filled with plastic waste – to a depth of more than 10 feet so that vital fish stocks are lost
  • In Fiji plastic waste piles up on the beaches. Fijian mothers are seeing increases in ill health they relate to the plastics

A few facts:

  • Plastic cannot be thrown away
  • The record number of pieces of plastic found in one seabird’s stomach is currently 276
  • 96% of Americans have measurable levels of chemical derived from plastics in their bodies
  • American children and teenagers have levels of these chemicals twice as great as adults
  • These chemicals are harmful, for instance are oestrogenic
  • The majority of plastic waste comes from food packaging
  • During the hour that we watched the film nearly 3million pounds weight of plastic was thrown into the worlds’ oceans

We have the power to change – in Manila those canals have been dredged and now hold clean water and fish. The plastic has been buried. Remember – plastic cannot be thrown away.

We have the power to change – I shall stop using cling film from today.

I will stop accepting plastic cups from today.

I will stop buying wrapped fruit and vegetables from today.

What will you do?

Rebecca reminded us:
Change starts with the individual – raise awareness:

  • Create emotional connections (remember those seabirds)
  • Make opportunities to change
  • Others will follow you

WHAT WILL YOU DO? for our world and the generations coming after us.