Inspired by protests

Written by: Jo Gallacher | Published:

In less than a year, the socio-political movement Extinction Rebellion has gone from 15 people in a room to creating the biggest organised civil disobedience campaign in British history.

It has been on the front page of several national newspapers – day after day – rallied celebrity supporters and managed to push the message of climate change outside of its usual political echo chamber. It’s difficult not to be inspired by what the group has achieved.

Yes, disruption can be a nuisance, and no, I am not suggesting RWW readers take to the streets, but it is difficult to deny that the protests haven’t gone unnoticed. After countless conversations with friends and family, the main takeaway message on the protests was: ‘I wouldn’t do it, but they do have a point.’ At last! Something we can all agree on!

As demonstrated by May's cover story, our planet is made up of finite resources which, due to over-consumption and our current linear economy, are rapidly decreasing.

The piece focuses on mobile phones, but the same messages can apply to a series of everyday items and it exemplifies the errors in our take, make, dispose society. It is therefore absolutely essential that resource recovery is a key pillar in the climate change message and that the recycling industry continues to convey this.

This month, Defra’s consultations will come to a close and I am hopeful that its employees will be tasked with a gargantuan challenge of wading through the many responses it receives. I will be eagerly anticipating Defra’s next steps and hope the sense of urgency demonstrated by the Extinction Rebellion protests and Swedish activist Greta Thunberg’s presence in Westminster will be fed into a calculated, thoughtful policy.

I continue to be inspired by the level of momentum in our industry and know that despite the many challenges we have still yet to face, we are moving in the right direction.

Jo Gallacher is editor of Recycling & Waste World.

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