David Attenborough praises Glastonbury for going plastic-free
TV naturalist surprises festival crowd with a speech hailing their abandonment of single-use plastics
Prominent naturalist Sir David Attenborough visited the final day of the Glastonbury festival to congratulate the attendees for their eco-friendly choice. In light of the recent environmental developments, many of Britain’s independent music festivals (including Glastonbury and Bestival) vowed to “cut plastic waste”, with most large events having no choice but to follow suit. Sir Attenborough addressed the crowd with a heartfelt speech, giving his approval for the firm anti-pollution stance taken by the various establishments and encouraging attendees to do their best to steer clear of plastics.
“Now this great festival has gone plastic-free,” said Attenborough “That is more than a million bottles of water have not been drunk by you in plastic. Thank you! Thank you!
How plastics harm the environment
Easy to produce and convenient to use, plastics are a prime contributor to environmental pollution. If they find their way into nature, standard plastic items take hundreds of years to break down, making them a permanently harmful addition to the already fragile eco-balance. A large number of mammals, birds, fish and marine animals will often mistake the shiny pieces of plastic for food and go out of their way to eat them, resulting in severe internal damage and harming their hormonal balance. And as if this wasn’t enough, throw-away plastics are also dangerous to humans! They contain various chemicals, which can easily leach into our food and water, opening the way to a variety of health problems and disorders. I’ve outlined how plastics affect our environment in a separate article which you can read here.
Public Events and their environmental impact
Most public events, be they festivals, concerts, speeches, conventions, and even charities, will often generate heaps of plastic waste. All significant events are bound to come with numerous ticket counters, refreshment stands and food stalls, and they’re almost guaranteed to heavily rely on plastics, turning these gatherings into a hazard for the environment. Plastic drink bottles, straws, food trays, cable ties, glitter and toiletry bottles need to go, and they need to go now! There’s already a lot of reusable alternatives you can check out. You can start small with an eco-friendly option for your utensils. This bamboo cutlery set is a great example of a small but significant change we can make right now. You can also take your water on the go with this amazing glass water bottle.
The time for action is now!
Awareness of the impact of plastic on the environment has grown exponentially over the last few years.
The efforts of naturalists like Sir David Attenborough, however, have not fallen on deaf ears. As the visible effects of plastic pollution have continued to increase, the environmental awareness of the general population has also grown exponentially over the last few years.
In a bid to decrease the environmental impact of rampant plastic consumption, the UK government has decided to introduce new policies, aiming to control the distribution of single-use plastics throughout the country. The primary focus of the projected legislation is going to be the production and sale of plastic straws, drink stirrers, and cotton buds. The changes are expected to come into effect no later than April 2020.
Live Nation (the number one concert promoter in the world) has vowed to “eliminate single-use plastics” from all of its venues come 2021. Things are looking up for the UK audiences, as this means that we can expect events like Leading and Leeds, Wireless, Latitude and Download to be entirely free of harmful plastics in a couple of years. This change, in particular, is going to affect roughly 20 festivals and about as many venues, managed by the Academy Music Group. The list includes names like Brixton Academy, King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut in Glasgow, Manchester Apollo and Cardiff International Arena. According to the latest Live Nation statement, these changes are going to span across the entirety of Europe, with the aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, resulting from its activities by 50% come 2030.
The Drastic on Plastic initiative has conscripted a large number of festivals to the cause, with names like Boardmasters, Kendal Calling and Bestival, vowing to “rid their sites of single-use plastics by 2021.
Concert halls across the UK are also expected to get involved in the zero-waste effort, albeit a tad slower – the change is expected to take full effect by 2030.
Large supermarket chains and retailers have also found themselves in the very heart of the issue. Offices of Argos and Tesco have been bombarded with petitions and request to cease their marketing campaigns for single-use tents. According to the petitioners,” abandoned tents account for roughly 875 tonnes of plastic waste every summer”.
What comes next
All of these changes and legislations, implemented by the establishments, are a step in the right direction, but ultimately, the responsibility lies with us – the consumers. No matter how many laws get passed and how many policies get voted in, real changes will not come to pass until we are ready to take responsibility for our actions. At the end of the day, this is our world, and if we don’t protect it, who will? Here are a couple of things to consider going forward:
- Lower your consumption – Once everyone is ready to toss the plastics forever, the world will become a much cleaner and safer place. This, however, is still far in the future, and change needs to happen gradually. Begin your eco-friendly journey by limiting your consumption and think before you buy. This can extend far beyond simple plastics – think clothes, electronics, office supplies, vehicles …
- Cut your ties with plastics – nobody is expecting you to stop using plastic products overnight. Instead, try to gradually phase them out of your life and replacing them with reusable items. Which leads us to point #3
- Stop relying on single-use items altogether – one of the best ways to summaries zero-waste living comes in the form of a simple saying “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”. The more reusable items you incorporate in your lifestyle, the smaller your carbon footprint will get.