Most of the G7 talks took place behind carefully guarded closed doors, and other than demonstrations in St Ives and Falmouth, access for NGO’s was not on the G7 agenda. However, OG did manage to find a way to have our voice heard during the side events that were happening during the preparation week whilst the delegates were settling in to Cornwall.

Our Voice was Heard

Cornwall Council hosted the G7 meetings and our founder, Jo Ruxton, was invited to represent Ocean Generation and take part in two of their side events. The first event was the ‘Y7 Cornwall Schools Eco Conference - No Planet B’.  15 schools took part in the all-day event, and Jo was asked to be a panellist along with 2 other Cornish NGOs: Surfers Against Sewage and Beach Guardian, academics, and local sustainable businesses.  A lively Q and A began with students from the schools having an opportunity to ask questions about our work, about climate change and the planet’s future. 

Jo said, “The enthusiasm and determination shown by these young people was heartening and reminded me, once again, of the importance of their voices and why we must arm them with the information they will need to become powerful Ocean advocates in their lives.” 

The second event happened on the eve of the main G7 talks and involved an audience of delegates and journalists by invitation only.  It took place at the Cornwall House in Falmouth where local businesses had the opportunity to showcase everything Cornwall has to offer from AI and Space research to wildlife protection and sustainable businesses working to protect the environment.  There were visits from world leaders during the main event.

The audience was one made up of people who genuinely care about the environment and many whose work was based around its protection.

What Did We Discover?

Jo said, “So much is now known about the problem however, my 8-year journey to make the Netflix documentary, A Plastic Ocean, involved 20 locations around the world and I was hoping there would be new information for them to discover.  I discussed the scenes I had personally witnessed at the Ocean centres, the marine life we encountered during filming and the people we met who are drowning in plastic waste because there is simply nowhere for it to go.

There is a difference between reading about something online and witnessing it personally and I felt I was able to relay my thoughts and feelings as I showed clips from the film.  There are always ‘behind-the-scenes’ stories to tell, including scenes that never made it into the final production but that were, in themselves, mini-stories.  Although the film touched upon potential solutions, there are many more tangible ones that have come to light since its release, so an update was important. 

The reaction from the live, audience that night and the feedback as they came to speak with me afterwards, made me realise the importance of storytelling and visual images that have the power to emphasise the importance of understanding Ocean threats and how people can become passionately involved in finding the solutions we need to turn these threats around.”