World Environment Day: #BeatPlasticPollution
June 5th is World Environment Day which has as its theme for 2023 #BeatPlasticPollution – search this hashtag on social media to find out what’s happening within the global drive to accelerate action by government, industry, and community organisations.
Here in the GSA Biosphere we are working with many and varied partners that are working hard on exactly this issue, from Sustainable Events that have gone plastic-free to volunteer groups that are cleaning up our coast all year round. Below we’re spotlighting just some of the local activities that are underway, many of which have opportunities to get involved.
- Finding shopping and entertainment options that are environmentally-positive can be daunting, especially when planning a special event or trip. The Biosphere Certification Mark for business offers reassurance to you as a customer or visitor that your spend is sustainable; every business that achieves this award has demonstrated that their operations are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Take a look at our directory of local sustainable businesses which covers multiple sectors from farming and food to the creative arts; following the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ are an essential criteria in certification and each qualifying business is doing their bit to combat plastic pollution.
- We’re privileged to be part of the Core Group steering the Machars & Cree Valley Climate Action Network, alongside its team of Trustees. MAC-CAN is a dynamic group of volunteers tackling local and regional climate and environmental issues, from sustainable food (via the MAC-CAN Croft and Community Fridge) to skill-sharing, crop-swapping, and running repair-and-reuse workshops. MAC-CAN welcomes new members and is a fantastic way to build social connections in and around Whithorn, Wigtown, and surrounding hamlets.
- Proud Supporter charity EcoArt, based in Kirkcudbright, invites you to join them in exploring art and creative pursuits that are a positive response to over-consumption, pollution and waste. Part of their offer is a workshop programme designed to inspire people to live more sustainably through upcycling and make-do-and-mending, reducing the demand on natural resources while learning about alternatives to plastic.
- World Environment Day leads naturally onto World Ocean Day on June 8th, and the Maidens World Ocean Day Festival taking place 10th-11th June. The plastic detritus of everyday life is now recognised as an urgent threat to marine life, exacerbating climate-related issues such as rising sea temperatures and increasing acidification of our oceans. The Maidens WOD Festival is all about raising awareness at a community level, celebrating our beautiful seascapes and marine resources, while expanding understanding and action in support of ocean ecosystems. Special gusts include the National Trust for Scotland, Arran Coast, the RNLI, and GSAB’s funders South Ayrshire Council.
- Closely linked with the above, The Solway Hoard was created by our friends at the Solway Firth Partnership in collaboration with Museums of the FutureNow and WasteStories. Imagine it’s 3023 and you have the opportunity to view a collection of artefacts from The Plastic Age – what would they be, mean, or represent? A truly unique invitation to pause and reflect.
- Our nature recording project The Biosphere’s Most Wanted is well underway with upcoming events available to book on GSAB’s Eventbrite page. Most Wanted brings citizen science to the palm of your hand, as we introduce the iNaturalist app and explore how it can be used to track some of the most fascinating species that live in southwest Scotland. The project is all about engaging with our immediate environment, learning about the plants and animals with whom we share space, and the challenges they experience through human activity, including the use and disposal of plastics and pollution more widely. Book via the link to join a Most Wanted session or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to host a nature recording session on your farm, at your business, or in community green space.
Finally: while World Environment Day is a global event, and it’s easy to feel subsumed by info from other people and places, a wee reminder that all the small things we do add up. Among our own team we have ‘hobbyist litterpickers’ (adopting a favourite lane and clearing it of plastic and cans once a month or so), and another who is on their third consecutive no-buy year, purchasing nothing that isn’t essential. Sustainability is a different journey for everyone and your UNESCO Biosphere is here to help! Let us know what you are doing, projects you’re involved with, and where we can assist. Or if you’re not sure where to begin take a look at our Proud Supporter scheme – a free-to-join network of individuals, businesses, organisations, schools and community groups with shared environmental goals. Proud Supporters receive our monthly e-newsletter plus invitations to GSAB events.