Thursday, 6 June 2013

World Environment Day

Cllr Rob Curtis with Michael Walsh and Kate Gwynn

To celebrate World Environment Day, two Eco-Committee representatives from year 12 took part in a Vale of Glamorgan Council event, hosted by Cllr Rob Curtis, Cabinet Member for The Environment.

The event's focus was food - one in seven people in the world don't have enough to eat yet 400 tonnes of food is wasted in Wales by households each year. If this waste food was recycled it could produce enough energy to power 19,000 homes a year.

Michael Walsh, year 12 pupil at Cowbridge Comprehensive School, said:

"The conference was very productive in my opinion as it brought together people from many different backgrounds, organisations and companies to discuss environmental issues, especially food issues, in the Vale of Glamorgan. There was a clear message - there has been good progress, but there is far more needed to be done to meet our targets, and it needs to be driven by young people, as it's our future.

"The panel of speakers each individually gave their own message to the four young people in the room. It was a very interesting day and I would recommend participation in environmental action to anyone, as it's so important. From this event, we can bring back new ideas to the school's Eco-Committee!"

A large number of organisations were represented at the event and speakers included Jasper Roberts from the Welsh Government, John Honfray from Cowbridge Compost and Elen Jones from FairTrade Wales.
Each of the speakers gave words of wisdom to the younger generation.

1. Use your influence to change your parents' behaviour, for example encourage them to recycle and to place wasted food in the food collection bin.
2. Don't follow the heard if you want to make a difference. 

3. Grow your own food and don't buy food that you won't need - plan your weekly food shop based on what you need.

4. Understand the difference between sell by, best before and use by dates on food.

5. Harness your enthusiasm. Don't be afraid to speak up and get involved.

6. Buy FairTrade cotton shirts and blouses for school.

7. Use your consumer power - if it's not FairTrade, don't buy it. Or if there's too much packaging, opt for a product with less packaging or recyclable packaging.

8. Go to the Energy Saving Trust's website and do the Water Energy Calculator. See how your house compares to your neighbours' houses and your family's homes.

9. Support the local economy, shop locally and buy local produce.
10. Join a campaign, any campaign, for example the Save the Bluefin Tuna campaign.

Cllr Curtis was delighted to host the Vale Council's inaugural World Environment Day Event. He was very impressed by the students' enthusiasm and encouraged by their eco-work at the school. Cllr Curtis' message to students is to find an environmental cause that they feel passionate about and join in - however small their contribution is, they can still make a difference.

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