Speakers Corner on The Environment

At Speakers Corner we understand the value of a high-level sustainability speaker, who can talk with experience and intelligence about the state of our ever-changing world and expound wisdom on why businesses should always be aware of their social, geographical, political and physical environment. But as individuals, what aspects of climate change affect us every day? Or which environmental issues impact our daily existence? Each one of us has a different priority or gripe, but with universal awareness, we come together to accept that if people continue to disregard the wellbeing of our Earth, these changes will slowly erode the lives of every human being.

With eleven team members who live and breathe the daily grind and smog of London, a full spectrum of objections was expected – and duly delivered!

Jason says that he was a latecomer to recycling but it is something he has embraced and when his partner throws out an item that’s recyclable, he’s right in there, pulling it out, running under the tap and placing in the recycling bin. As a result he’s given himself the title of official recycling monitor for the household and he’s quite firm with transgressors! He was also oddly affected by a sloth hunting thing on TV once…

Paula is determined to recycle as much as possible to minimize pollution, save our wildlife and help our planet stay clean.

Louise says: “Where I live the normal refuse bin only gets collected every other week, if everyone could recycle more then the bins in our local area would not be overflowing. This could be helped by supermarkets and shops not using so much packaging for fruit and vegetables. It’s not necessary and creates more waste.”

Rhona gets angered by companies who have so much left over food at the end of a day or an event and they do not have a scheme that allows this food to be picked up and taken to homeless shelters or handed out to homeless people. She worked for a catering company in Australia and they threw out a ridiculous amount of food that hadn’t even been touched and just went in the bins. Pret a Manger has ‘Pret Sustainability’ and they donate around 2.5 million products to UK homeless charities every year. Pret also states on their website ‘Tragically, a few of our shops have no regular charities willing to collect our fresh, natural food at the end of each day.’ She feels that far more companies should have schemes like this and work with charities in order to feed homeless people in their countries.

On the same theme, Nick says “Surely there must be a solution to the ever expanding amount of cupboard packaging that fills our lives especially as we shop more and more online, what a waste of material. How much food is disposed of as it is ‘out of date’ or uneaten, surely sustainability starts from taking what is required and avoiding waste.

According to Helena, as a family hers is very passionate about recycling at home and she feels that Barnet Council is doing plenty to encourage others in the area to do the same.  In the meantime, it’s upsetting to see the amount of litter strewn across local streets which is not biodegradable and continues to be there for weeks on end.  Why don’t people respect their environment and try to use bins provided or take their rubbish with them?  More a common courtesy than thinking sustainably!

Debbie feels really passionately about recycling and is a real control freak about separating the paper, cardboard, plastics, glass, etc! Her boyfriend gets really annoyed when she screams at him for putting recyclable material in with the normal rubbish!

For Sophie, the thing she finds most distressing about the current state of sustainability is how readily and unthinkingly we waste as a nation. Not just food: everything. It feels as though things nowadays are built for the “now” and not for the long-term, and within a few short years we are chucking stuff out – clothes, technology, ideas! We live in a climate of “instant gratification” – and we’re all guilty of it: Herself included. What happened to the notion of saving, preserving and cherishing?

Rebecca says: I read in National Geographic last month that one of the largest tracts of intact tropical rainforest in the world was about the size of Kentucky. At first glance this doesn’t sound too bad but this area is a tiny pin prick in the Amazon basin – an area that should all be tropical forest. Instead, this reserve that the Kayapo Indians have fought to protect, is surrounded on all sides by deforested land and cattle ranches. We know it’s happening, but to see it so clearly on a map just makes me so sad.  

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