Ever had the feeling that whoever is in the room when key environmental decisions are made and actions taken just aren’t the right people?
Summit attendees heard how communicators and activists in Ghana, West Africa are hard at work to change that, bringing young people from across Africa into the room, whether on projects that build better livelihoods through environmentally positive actions to raising funds to send young people to the UN climate conference COP27 being held next month in Egypt.
Emmanuel Ameyaw, Akosua Asaa Manu, Nadia Owusu and Abraham Bugre spoke of the irrationality of funding local environmental action via international NGOs and how important it was that the young people, facing into a world being transformed by climate change, are in the room.
It reminded me of one thing this here internet is good for. Anyone can find out about what this local action looks like. During his Small Ideas, Mighty Ocean talk, Abraham Bugre talked about the brilliantly named Waste Gobbler project – take a look.
“How do we sort this shit show out?” asked Wildfarmed’s charismatic co-founder (and ex TV presenter) George Lamb, in conversation with Iceland supermarkets’ MD Richard Walker about democratising good, sustainable food.
Organic and regenerative agriculture is brilliant for people who can afford it – but what about the millions with less than £25 for their weekly food shop, asked Walker. While scaling up sustainable food production systems can bring prices down gradually, the pace of change is nowhere near fast enough to bring about the transformation we need.
So instead of focusing on Organic certification – which, with its strict regulatory processes only makes up around 2% – Wildfarmed focuses on “a third way”. They’re working with over 60 wheat farmers to grow in a cleaner, nature-friendly way (with “the same North Star as organic”). And they’ve got scaling up to the mass market in their sights: they want to supply flour to Greggs, and get it into Iceland pizzas.
While 100% Wildfarmed flour in a loaf of bread right now would make it too expensive for Iceland’s customers, improving the flour in a pizza – where the proportion of flour is lower in its ingredients – could make a significant improvement on a national scale. And it would keep costs manageable for shoppers struggling through the cost-of-living crisis.
Taking these conversations outside of the hipster artisan food markets to consider how everyone can access good food feels like the way forward. I’m off to Iceland.
Sometimes it’s the sidelines where it happens. In between the programmed talks at Blue Earth Summit we got excited by inspirational conversations with individuals doing amazing things. Like Francesca Trotman and her micro, grassroots non-profit organisation, Love The Oceans.
Love The Oceans is working to support communities in Mozambique to establish a Marine Protected Area in Jangamo Bay, using a holistic community-led approach that revolves around research and environmental capacity building.
Fresh from filming a documentary with the Love The Oceans team, Stranger friend Kaushiik Subramanium told us about the incredible work he’s been doing with the organisation, working to upskill local talent to capture, spotlight and storify the project and its efforts to change the future for Jangamo Bay. Can’t wait to hear more soon…
There is (a lot of) work to be done when it comes to accessibility in, and to, the ‘great outdoors’. Listening to conversations around the campfire (stage), it was inspiring to hear from diversity champions Phil Young and Naveed Bakhsh, who are making waves in the outdoor industry to open doors, and keep them open.
“In the traditional white ‘outdoors’ it seems to be about exploration, hardship, battling nature,” said Phil Young, co-founder of Opening Up The Outdoors. “This is not always the case; what about joy, self discovery, community?”
The road of hardship, making the outdoors seem like something to ‘conquer’ or ‘achieve’ surely acts as yet another barrier to those who don’t already see themselves represented in the mainstream of the outdoor industry?
“Every faith wants to see the planet […] and people, and governments need to invest in what we’re doing,” said Naveed Bakhsh, founder of Boots and Beards on the importance of investing in grassroots initiatives and community access to the UK countryside.
If wielding the power of words to win hearts, change behaviour and amplify impact gets your pulse racing, then this may just be the role for you.