Local Project: George and India's eco-stalls!

For their local projects, Cohort 4 BGFers George and India decided to raise awareness of environmental issues at a local #Showthelove event in their hometown of Belper. Read on for their reflections on the event:



George:


The following is a summary of the various things I did to prepare for my local project, the reactions people had to it, and the lessons I learnt during the duration of the project. I had a stall at an eco event called Show the Love on Saturday the 15th of February 2020 in St Peters Church, Belper. I wanted to encourage people to cut down on single use plastic. Show the Love is an initiative started by the Climate Coalition asking people to show the love for our environment.


To prepare for the event, I researched multiple alternatives to plastic, and how we can use it more sparingly. I emailed organisations such as Clipper Tea, Hairy Ballz, and ordered the products I had done the research on. This enabled me to give physical examples to people who came to my stall. I also ordered some compressed paper tea bags that you can fill with loose tea to show people it as an alternative as well. Another thing I did was read through the book 'How To Give Up Plastic', by Will McCallum, which, as the title states, has a lot of relevant information pertaining to what I was doing for my local project. I also took information from the film A Plastic Ocean, and from the YouTube videos from the channel Kids Against Plastic. Before the event I made a large stand up board to pin all my information and pictures on to, which I spent time meticulously laying out to make all the information fit. I decided to run a petition, which people could sign, to ask our local council, Amber Valley Borough Council, for better and clearer messages on what can be recycled. I had this with me on the day and spoke to multiple people about it. I also spoke about my petition to people in church, with my youth group, my local Youth Council, (of which I was a member at the time) and whilst helping out at Belper Farmer’s Market. I gave out copies of the petition to other people for them to gather more signatures and also sent Dave Wells, one of the Amber Valley Councillors, an email to ask for advice on the matter.



Since I personally struggle to find alternatives to plastic at times, I wanted to help people with a similar problem by providing them with alternatives I'd found to plastic, trying to send the message that if you looked hard enough, alternatives were out there. On my stall I had, the paper tea bags you could fill with loose tea, thin bags that you could put vegetables in rather than using supermarket plastic bags, paper bags for packed lunches, a wax wrap for wrapping things rather than cling film, (I made one of these myself) I also had glass jars that can be used when buying things loose, such as at Sue’s Sustainables, a plastic free shop in Belper, and finally, the Hairy Ballz to collect small bits of plastic when washing clothing.

On the whole, practically all the people I saw on the day, did in fact agree with what I was saying, and at times I ended up having heated discussions with one or two people over different alternatives, and I actually learned a bit in the process, with people giving advice about which brands of tea use plastic glue and which don’t etc. (I would name specific brands, but at the time of writing this I actually can’t remember the names.)


The event was a fun, yet tiring day. I arrived early to help set up, and I met all sorts of people. I talked to a few of the stall holders, such as Greenpeace, the Wildlife Trust etc. There was also a cafe at the event so people could spend time talking to each other, and we also had videos playing from the Climate coalition on a big screen, using a projector. And at the end I managed to put a Message up on screen to thank everyone for their hard work.

I came up with the name for the Facebook page, Belper Beats Plastic, which I am an admin on, and I can therefore post information on said page. The page has lots of information on it which tells people what they can use to substitute for plastic, and how else they can reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible.


India:

For my Bright Green Future project I decided to try to persuade people that eating insects could be a good alternative to meat. One of the ways of doing this was to have a stall at a local Eco event. The event took place on Saturday February 15th 2020 as part of Show the Love month. Show the Love was started by the organisation called the Climate Coalition and every year since 2015 they have encouraged people to declare February as Show the Love for the environment month. They want everyone to start having conversations about climate change.

I prepared for the event by researching different types of insects and finding out which were edible, contacting several companies until I found a company called Crunchy Critters which is an English company that sells edible insects. I bought some insects to try to make sure they were alright. I emailed Crunchy Critters, asking for leaflets and samples for my stall. They replied and sent me much more then I was expecting. Lastly I made a big board full of information about edible insects for people to read. I bought some flour made from insects, researched recipes and made brownies with the flour. From a different company named Bug Bakes I bought a bag of insect dog treats.



The message I was talking about was how big an impact meat farming has on the world, and how insects have the least impact with the same amount of protein. Insects use less food, water and space then cows and other animals that are commonly eaten. As expected many people didn’t agree with my idea, but many people didn’t mind trying insects, some even said it was their first time eating them. Most people ate the brownies I made, even if they didn’t want to try the insects just by themselves.


The event was great! The amount of people who came was amazing, I got to talk to a few other stall holders, including a lady called Jane who was representing Extinction Rebellion, who had a T-shirt printing stall. There was also a cafe where people could sit and discuss issues. Altogether there were about 18 other stalls like Refill Belper, the Woodland Trust, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Transition Belper, Greenpeace, Belper Permaculture, Derwent Valley Cycleway, Sharing not Wasting and Sue’s Sustainables.


I have also written an article about the advantages of eating insects for St Peter's Church magazine and for an eco booklet that was sold in aid of the Woodland Trust at the event. I designed the logo for the event which was a green heart and with a little man looking over it. It had the hashtag #showthelove on the logo. I designed and made lanyards for George and myself to wear at the event. Before the Show the Love event I made badges with my logo on. These were given away before the event to promote and advertise it. Altogether I made about 30 Badges.


For my next event, which I hope to be at Belper Goes Green I want to look a bit more into insect dog food. I had a few insect dog treats on my stall but didn’t have that much information. My stall at Belper Goes Green will probably have more space, having more dog food would help fill it.


Centre for Sustainable Energy

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Bright Green Future is managed by the Centre for Sustainable Energy and is part of a Big Lottery funded project called Our Bright Future, aimed at empowering young people to lead progressive change in their communities and local environment.