GreenbuildOnline and Chris Packham’s The Big Talk

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Date published: 7th September 2022

GreenbuildOnline, the virtual wing of North Norfolk District Council’s Greenbuild Festival began this week, with wildlife expert Chris Packham talking to North Norfolk residents on the environment, biodiversity and his roadmap for mitigating climate change.

Speaking to the online audience, he described a mixed sense of exasperation and optimism in the aftermath of COP26, discussing disappointment on action at a global level but great inspiration at a localized level – especially in rural areas.

His view was that everyone should be empowered to make the changes they can and to find a level of activism they were comfortable with – to come together as a community and work on the things they can affect in their local environments, from shopping locally and community growing projects to furthering awareness on climate matters. He encouraged people to find ‘imaginative’ ways to capture people’s attention and to hear our ideas, stressing activism had to be peaceful, democratic and polite.

Paying tribute to the farming fraternities in Norfolk, he acknowledged they are a key player in the fight for local climates; buying local produce benefits the farmers, in turn bringing a thriving agricultural economy. From there, it should be ‘made easy, profitable and enjoyable’ for farmers to become ‘eco-system engineers’ with their land and be encouraged to help with rewilding and biodiversity ‘from the soil up’, which has a rolling effect.

Reflecting on food and agriculture, Packham said:

“The impacts we make in Norfolk have far reaching consequences; we take food from all of the world, on every continent bar Antarctica, consumption of that food is exacting some environmental impact in some other part of the world.

We have total choice as to what we put in our mouth, which has an enormous impact across the board. Packaging, food miles, unsustainable ingredients such as palm oil are all adverse to the environment. Food is so important, the way it nurtures us, we need to be helping the people that produce it, and in return asking them to help us”

He also advised reducing meat consumption, or to eat Norfolk meat, with less food miles and supporting local growers and economies.

He acknowledged the risk our waters face, with serious problems surrounding significant run-offs from farmland such as sulphates and nitrates, calling for more investment to make sure the chemicals don’t make their way into waterways, dubbing the English coast the “dirty water ways of Europe” following terrible sewage spills and , and that algae is  more important than tropical rainforest in terms of carbon sequestration.

Speaking to NNDC after the event, Packham praised Greenbuild Festival:

 

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