Cohort 4 BGF-er Tasneem recently attended the Cambridge Climate and Sustainability Forum. Read on below to see her main take-aways from guest speaker, Mariasole Bioanco:
On the 13th of June, I attended the online “Cambridge Climate & Sustainability Forum”. This year’s theme was “Towards a Sustainable Future: Local Actions, Global Betterment”.
One of the speakers was Mariasole Bianco who spoke about oceans, preservation and plastic reduction. It was highly interesting to hear her say that without the oceans, temperatures would be around 36 degrees higher today. This strongly emphasises the importance of our world’s oceans in regulating excess heat energy and CO2 emissions, as she described them as being our “best friend” in the fight against global warming.
She is the president and a founder of “Worldrise”, a non-profit social organisation, which develops projects to conserve and safeguard our marine environment. Many of these are based in Italy, however, we have some in the UK. In particular, one of their projects is called “No Plastic, More Fun” with the mission of creating a network of venues, bars and restaurants that pledge to eliminate the use of single-use plastics. Venues that have said no to single-use plastic include The Oval Space, The Pickle Factory and Temakinho, which are in London.
This project originated in Milan but the campaign has successfully spread to other European countries. 8 million pieces of plastic enter our oceans every day. By 2050 the weight of plastic in the oceans will be greater than the weight of fish. Just in one microbead face wash product, there can be over 100,000 plastic particles. This is why it is incredibly important to act and make a difference today in our actions, from differentiating waste correctly, recycling and making it a priority to use less plastic.
Another project is called “Worldrise Walls” which brings the beauty of oceans to cities through the use of street art. Its purpose is to connect people to nature, especially in urban areas.
Natasha Grist spoke about an innovative Biogas project in Kenya, which has been transforming cooking methods. I learnt the significant global potential of biogas as it could generate 6-9% of the world’s electricity. Local waste such as crops and food can be used and creates a slurry, which is then decomposed anaerobically. This is especially important in developing countries / LEDC’s as it burns clean, reduces the demand for wood and allows for flexibility in the day from not having to collect the wood. In fact, a study found that in India for example, women spend approximately 374 hours a year collecting firewood, precious hours that can instead have an important role in their empowerment. Invasive species such as the Water Hyacinth have also been used in the digester, which shows that it can provide many creative solutions.
Overall the forum was very interesting to hear about sustainability projects that are making a variety of positive impacts across the world, whether it be local or international.