Tag Archives: Environment

Plymouth Youth Climate Protests

By Tobias Chalcraft

Friday 21st June saw dozens of Plymouth locals take part in a protest to raise awareness of climate-related issues. This was part of the youth protests taking place by schoolchildren across Europe, pushing for more action from elected representatives to tackle climate change.

Organisers say that approximately 1.5 million children in over 1,600 cities will be taking part in the ‘Fridays for Future’ school strikes.

We spoke to two protestors, Hazel (19) and Brendan (20), to get more perspective into the protests taking place in the city. These active citizens argued that their demonstration would provide a good platform to spread awareness among Plymouth residents and put pressure on local businesses and the City Council to take further steps towards helping the planet.

Unsurprisingly, demonstrators said Greta Thunberg, the young Swedish activist making headlines across the world for pressing elected representatives to move towards greener policies, was a driving factor for increasing turnout in these protests.

In addition, various protests carried out by environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion were seen to inspire some of the older protestors taking part. Brendan also referred to campaigner SustainaClaus, who harnesses the joy of Saint Nicholas to help spread awareness of sustainability.

When asked about the efficiency of Plymouth MPs’ fight against climate change, Hazel gave modest praise to the green efforts of Luke Pollard (MP for Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport). This included his recent proposal to have decommissioned nuclear submarines held in Plymouth recycled.

It wasn’t all applause for Pollard though. Hazel went on to highlight that the MP’s role as Shadow Fisheries Minister adds some hypocrisy to his environmentalism, as fishing contributes to the increasing depletion and pollution of our oceans.

Another protestor, who was excused from school to attend, was happy to present some of the signs created by herself and her peers. One poster displayed 10 key reasons for why these young people were motivated to strike, including a reference to the UN’s recent climate report giving us just 12 years to half emissions in order to avoid global catastrophe.

These inspirational young people had multiple recommendations for readers seeking to contribute towards a greener world. These included mutually beneficial fixes for day-to-day life, such as using more public transport. For more green recommendations, check out Generation Plymouth’s article Plastics are Suffocating our Oceans.

Urban Buzz

By Leila Hopkins

We tend to think of endangered wildlife as a problem in far-away places. According to the World Wildlife Trust however, Britain is one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth, with up to 56% of wild species lost in the last 50 years.

One of the main reasons for this decline is the loss of vital habitats, such as wildflower meadows, on which bees and other insects and their predators depend for food. A staggering 97% of Britain’s wildflowers meadows have been lost since WW2.

This is why the insect conservation charity, Buglife, launched its Urban Buzz project in 2016 with the help of Plymouth City Council. The results are now blooming in mini-meadows across the city, from the Derry Cross roundabout, to Pennycomequick, to Marsh Mills, to Drake Circus.

Insects may not have the same crowd appeal as other endangered species (such as polar bears and pandas, whose gradual extinction is more obvious due to their size), but the stark reality is that insects are disappearing eight times faster than mammals, reptiles and birds.

In fact, if insect numbers keep declining at this rate, they will become extinct within the next century. But, why does this matter? As the Buglife charity points out, insects are the backbone of our ecosystem and in the words of David Attenborough, “If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if the invertebrates were to disappear, the world’s ecosystems would collapse.”

Buglife’s B-line project aims to act as ‘stepping stones’ for pollinators, by linking a series of pollen-rich sites together and creating a network of insect pathways around the country, with Plymouth acting as a crucial stop on the insects’ tour. So, thanks to Urban Buzz, not only do the bees benefit, but Plymouth citizens can experience wild and beautiful nature on their doorstep.

For more information on Buglife and its aims visit:
https://www.buglife.org.uk/urban-buzz/plymouth