Moving from Thought and Talk to Action
5th February, 2018
Plastic is not Fanstastic
I might have mentioned this to a few of you – less than subtly 😉 I have been championing Plastic Free Coastlines in Perranporth. As somebody who would describe Perranporth Beach as my second home and outdoor Coaching office, I signed up as the PFC community leader on 12th November. I was super-excited when we gained our “Plastic Free Coastlines Community Status” on 29th Jan!!!
What does this mean?
Well essentially we have taken some positive steps forward swapping single use plastics for more sustainable alternatives and it is a very public pledge committing to making more progress in this area. We are supporting a number of pro-environmental initiatives and campaigns such as #ReFILL #TheFinalStrawCornwall and #2minutebeachclean in addition to carrying out regular community Beach Cleans. We also have a group of people responsible for driving forwards collective village actions to reduce marine litter both “at source” and from our coastline.
There were 5 PFC Objectives to fulfill… and gaining PFC Community Status is definitely a STARTING POINT. For more about these objectives if you would like to perhaps help your community, please CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE
So… Perranporth is really awakening and ready to #protectwhatwelove and I have been asked by a few people… How exactly do you mobilize a community to support PFC? Since helping people move from intention to action is kind of my day job, I can share only from my perspective in terms of Perran how we are collectively doing this… Here goes…
Start with the HEART: To be fair, we were helped in no small way by David Attenborough a much LOVED hero sharing the plight of our Oceans on the BBC.
Think about it… All long-term moral imperatives start with the heart… My US “Ocean Activist” friends often quote Jacques Cousteau…
“People protect what they love…
…But how can we love what we do not know?”
Raise Awareness: The storms were well timed to build upon Blue Planet 2’s charge, bringing a large amount of media interest to Perranporth – showing horrific scenes of Coastal Erosion and Microplastic debris. This beach can be a catchment area for marine litter washing ashore… and when I say marine litter I mean of course litter that we as a species have created. Plastic at the beach once within our collective consciousness simply cannot be unseen. There is a huge amount of press coverage relating to single use plastics and Surfers Against Sewage have been pivotal in raising the profile of this issue.
Of course we need to feel empowered to act when a task appears overwhelming, so how do we know where to start?
Get your HEAD around it: Creative solutions are required at all stages of the supply chain. Chunking down a huge challenge into bite-sized chunks makes it seem more manageable to make progress. The PFC Community Checklist is a great example of this… Sitting down with each individual business (our first wave of champions), I worked with them to make plans together, each of them exploring and researching possible / realistic changes… We then reconnected regularly, to review progress (checking in not checking up on) to ensure ongoing support and sharing of potential solutions. I am planning to continue supporting these businesses and will be encouraging our PFC group to get involved in helping even more local traders to become important members of our #GreenTeam … or perhaps being coastal that should be #BlueTeam
Look for the Good: Enthusiasm can be contagious, you know, and I am an advocate of towards-orientated leadership. Celebrating every positive step is important for creating and maintaining momentum. If we are going to build real shared ownership for the mess we have created and truly demonstrate our love of this place, naming and shaming is far less of a motivator than catching people doing something good. People will let us down… guaranteed… and when it happens if we turn our attention to helping them succeed it will be better use of everyone’s energy than finger pointing.
Get Busy: This takes Guts and Effort – roll up your sleeves and get on with it… I decided early on to take a Coach’s stance on this one… not to care who gets the credit… … Keep your eye on the ocean – that beach that I love to spend time at, that is the prize! Collective pride CAN of course help…. And if having PFC Status encourages even more of the community to get involved then GREAT… Let’s live up to the promise to improve our environment… Less talk more action, if you hear people (or yourself) say “oh yes we have been thinking / talking about this problem for a while”… dig deep to find / or help them find ways to act upon those intentions… Sooner rather than dreckly.
Balance and Tone: We might well see / show images of devastating plastics on social media, but adding… “and now what”…. focusing on “What CAN we do”… finding solutions, keeps us out of the moaning zone. It is great to share images of progress made and creative ways we can each make a difference, it reminds us WHY we are doing what we are doing… Take time to breathe in the view… at a macro level… The PFC campaign doesn’t advocate your entire focus is on sieving micro plastics every spare moment of your day… Get in the water, run with the dog, build a sandcastle with the family – connect with why you love this space and do your part, no more no less…. It is a team effort and everyone is responsible.
I am deeply grateful to all who are working to keep our ocean and shoreline healthy…. You are all LEGENDS!
Compassion Creativity Courage …. Intention / Attention / Action
#BlueMindAmbassador #SASRegionalRep #goingcoastalblue #plasticfreecoastlines