Section: Environment

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What an environmental joke!

Plastic Free Axminster - Kay Pike

The tradition of crackers at Christmas goes back to Victorian times, before the days of plastic. Did you know that in the UK 40 million crackers and their contents are thrown away each year? The novelties inside crackers are largely made of single-use plastic (who needs a plastic moustache?), which will end up in the […]

Hello South West Water! No more poo, please!

Sonia Rai

Having noticed the increase in sewage smells in their bay, Jovi and Sonny send a message to local water company, South West Water, to clean up their act. In 2021, South West Water intentionally discharged 680 hours of sewage into the River Lim – the equivalent to the whole month of February, 24 hours a […]

Poo plaque protest! Eye-catching demo in Totnes to tell the truth about the sewage scandal

Michael Puleston

Dozens of protesters gathered at the Totnes Conservative Club at Station Road. to protest at the sitting MP Anthony Magnall’s environmental voting record, particularly with regard to voting against an important Lords’ Amendment to the Environment Bill during November 2021. The lively gathering today was made up of many diverse groups including swimmers, recreational water users, kayakers, paddle […]

No more greenwashing, Barclays! XR action in Exeter

Michael Puleston

On October 29, there was an excellent turnout of activists at Bedford Square Exeter from local Extinction Rebellion groups (Exeter, Totnes and Teignmouth/Newton Abbot), co-organised by Exeter XR and Exeter Samba Band. The objective? To call out Barclays yet again: the dirty bank of Europe. Barclays remains the number one bank in Europe and number […]

Who gives a damn – part 2

Malcolm Baldwin

Warning: contains reference to a distressing incident of animal cruelty. Ed Some notes towards understanding why we find ourselves so alienated from nature. Isolated events can sometimes coalesce together to make a coherent pattern. On a scorching day at the end of August I was driving past some pasture-fed cattle in a parched brown field: […]

You, too, can be a warrior in the war on plastic!

Anthea Bareham

I met Kay Pike when she brought the Plastic Free Axminster stall to All Saints, a village on the outskirts of Axminster. Kay is keen to stress that she is no expert on the subject – I beg to differ. The more she talks – passionately – about the subject of single-use plastic, the more […]

“Honour our knowledge… or get out of the way.”

Stefan Simanowitz

Stefan Simanowitz on a new platform for Indigenous voices ahead of COP and the Brazilian elections At the opening session of the UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last year, Maori activist India Logan- Riley laid down a challenge to delegates: “Learn our histories, listen to our stories, honour our knowledge…or get out the way.” A […]

Be the change, be kind and carry on

Jane Leigh

College lecturer and former Plastic-Free Falmouth champion Kirstie Edwards is gearing up to take on the role of Mayor of Falmouth next year. West Country Voices spoke to her about her career to date and her plans for the future. Kirstie Edwards’s CV isn’t short on variety. Having made Falmouth her home at the age […]

Beach Guardians put plastic in its place

Jane Leigh

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky … “ And all I ask is a litter picker made of recycled plastic, a bag made from an abandoned festival tent, good eyesight and the aim of saving the planet. Apologies to John Masefield, but I hope he would […]

Truss or Sunak? What the farmers think

Editor-in-chief

We rarely publish unsolicited press releases but this is an important insight into the challenges farmers face. Truss or Sunak? When it comes to food, farming and the environment –what should be the top policy priority for the next PM? The race to become the UK’s next Prime Minister is almost over. As the two […]

The sewage scandal: letter to the editor

Editor-in-chief

Dear West Country Voices, We have beautiful beaches in East Devon; Weston Mouth, in particular, is very special to me: pristine, crystal-clear water and I have enjoyed swimming there all through the year. I am very sad that since sewage has been pumped into the sea; ALL of the beaches in Lyme Bay are now […]

The interminable Battle of Jesmond Wood

Adam Sofianos

Sometimes a small issue can cast a big shadow.  It just depends how much light you shine on it.  A small story can act as a signpost to much larger concerns.  This is certainly one of those. In June 2022 a team of demolition vehicles entered a small village wood in Highcliffe, Dorset.  They arrived […]

Wildlife, wilderness and the English landscape

Mick Fletcher

The contrast was dramatic and instructive. Only a day after walking around the deer park at Petworth House, I took a footpath through the grounds of Knepp Castle, a pioneering ‘rewilding’ project in the heart of Sussex. The two estates are less than half an hour apart by car, but a world apart in terms […]

Ella’s Law – the right to breathe clean air

Tom Scott

A Bill led by Baroness Jenny Jones through the House of Lords received strong cross-party support at its second reading today and holds out a real opportunity to save tens of thousands of lives every year, while greatly improving the quality of life in towns and cities across the country – including the South West. […]

Ghost gear: meet the heroes cleaning up our ocean’s frontline

Kristy Westlake

With our oceans quickly filling up with plastic and fish stocks dwindling, it’s time to start talking about the massive whale in the room: ghost gear. An enormous environmental problem caused by commercial fishing and fuelled by our ever-growing appetite for seafood. Kristy Westlake talks to some of the heroes on the ocean’s frontline and […]

Our rivers are dying: protest action in Totnes on Saturday 11 June

Editor-in-chief

Ocean Rebellion (Torbay & South Devon) will be hosting an action “Our rivers are dying” at Steamer Quay Totnes, Saturday 11 June 15:30 to 17:00. The purpose of the action is to promote public awareness that UK rivers are in rapid decline and rivers globally are in poor biological health. Ocean Rebellion also intend to call […]

Rishi Sunak delivers a package to set the world on fire

Tom Scott

Unfortunately, it will do this all too literally, by driving up new oil and gas extraction while doing far too little to address the acute poverty that now faces millions. Tom Scott lays bare the shocking truth. The U-turn in government policy that everyone was expecting finally arrived today, when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a […]

Is Brixham in danger of being conned yet again?

Anthea Simmons

So many towns and villages across our region desperately need more funding to support the poor, the elderly and the young. Levelling Up funds strike many of us as a bit of pump-priming disguised as an ideological commitment to close the growing, yawning gap between the haves and the have-nots (the consequence of twelve years […]

Dorset Council environmental decisions: moral and economic madness?

Sarah Cowley

Moral and economic madness? That is the charge being laid at the door of Dorset Council, by local environmental activists, who question whether the Council understands the realities of the climate crisis. Just six months ago, the UK hosted the UN Climate Change Conference (‘COP26’) in Glasgow, in November 2021. That conference concluded with a […]

Portreath-based charity raises money by recycling the ‘unrecyclable’

Editor-in-chief

Upcycle Kernow, a Portreath-based community interest company, has raised more than £2,000 by collecting “unrecyclable” waste from the community to be recycled.   The waste collected includes cheese packaging, bread bags, personal care and beauty products and packaging, oral care products, home cleaning products and packaging, biscuit and snack wrappers and much more. This waste is not included […]

The joys of printing and XR

Leslie Tate
Tree of life

I interviewed Stroud-based printmaker and artist Nat Morley about her unique processes, her protest art and her time spent with Barrel Well Aboriginal Community, Australia. Nat was a prize-winning geographer at Oxford University, sings with Tewkesbury Abbey choir, and her artwork is on permanent display at the Cotswold Craftsmen Gallery in Nailsworth. Leslie: What are the main artistic medium/areas you work in? […]

How to solve climate change AND end our dependence on hostile regimes

Simon Oldridge
graphic of man with empty pockets held up by a fuel pump as if it were a gun

Earlier this month, the UN expert panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a major report detailing the impacts of the crisis. Inger Andersen, head of the UN Environment Program, told us that ‘climate change isn’t around the corner waiting to pounce – it is already upon us raining down blows on billions of people’.  […]

Cop 26 and ‘the fierce urgency of now’

Phil Shepherd
Storm - made out of rycled materials - at Cop 26

It would have been much cheaper to fly, particularly as the UK government had recently reduced air passenger duty on internal flights, but John Potter and I took the train to Glasgow for COP 26.   We didn’t have passes, or any kind of access to the conference, but wanted to see what ideas and […]