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Ready to go eco-shopping?


By Adrian Curtis


The Cambridge Eco Living Festival logo
The Cambridge Eco Living Festival logo

Cambridge Eco Festival on September 22 is a retail first

Isabel Thomas author This Book Is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! (Wren and Rook 2018)
Isabel Thomas author This Book Is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! (Wren and Rook 2018)

The first Cambridge Eco Festival on Saturday, September 22 is set to make history by being the first to take place inside a shopping centre.

Festival founder and artistic director Shaheera Asante has lined up events at Lion Yard and at the Museum of Zoology in Cambridge for a day which aims to bring communities together to inspire greater public engagement around green and low-waste habits.

Lion Yard centre manager Roger Allen said: “Following on from BBC’s Blue Planet Two series last year, in which David Attenborough highlighted the global plight of ocean plastic, and the continued reaction of and awareness from citizens up and down the UK that this has to stop; Lion Yard is honoured to be part of the inaugural Cambridge Eco Living Festival.

“We are keen to engage consumers in having better awareness to take more care of our environment and to understand what happens to the disposables we so easily throw way. We are delighted that Lion Yard, our tenants, customers and Cambridge as whole will be involved and benefit from this truly amazing event – a great start down the right path.”

Go Plastic Free Day childrens competition for Cambridge Eco Living Festival
Go Plastic Free Day childrens competition for Cambridge Eco Living Festival

“Lion Yard shopping centre has donated an empty shop to the Eco Living Festival for us to create a ‘Pop up Shop’ in which we will host a full day of Waste Art family recycling workshops led by one of our festival partners, Cambridge Community Scrapstore,” Shaheera said, “along with eco lifestyle influencers speakers Jen Gale and Karen Cannard who will conduct a talk series of how to live without plastic at home.”

The festival is also hosting a children’s writing and art competition to encourage all children aged five to 12 years of age in Cambridgeshire to send in their best two ideas on how to combat plastic pollution.

The best two ideas will win a signed copy of Cambridge author Isabel Thomas’s This Book Is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World! (Wren and Rook 2018). This is a brand-new guide for young eco-warriors published on September 20.

Until 4pm on Sunday (September 16), children are asked to write, draw or collage their coolest idea to battle single-use plastic. Entrants should write their name, age and a parent’s name, email address and contact number at the bottom of their entry, fold it in half and drop it off in the post box at the central pillar at the Lion Yard shopping centre. The winning entries will be announced on the websites of both Cambridge Eco Living festival and Lion Yard.

This Book Is Not Rubbish by Isabel Thomas
This Book Is Not Rubbish by Isabel Thomas

Winners will be presented with a signed copy of the book by the author on Saturday, September 22, at 5pm at the main atrium in the Lion Yard shopping centre. Isabel will also be running a family workshop at the Museum of Zoology from 11.30am-12.30pm.

The focus in the year since Blue Planet Two was broadcast has seen a huge effort to cut back plastic use and clear up the amount of plastic in the environment. It’s a huge operation and this is just the start: more than 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, half of which is for single use. More than eight million tons of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, with packaging the largest end use market segment, accounting for just over 40 per cent of total plastic usage.

Raising awareness of the amount of plastic consumers are obliged to negotiate in their daily shopping activities is one of themes being explored at the inaugural festival.

Shaheera said: “Some people may view our event as a contradiction of purpose – an eco living festival inside a retail shopping centre?

Cambridge Eco Living Festival founder Shaheera Asante has developed an exciting programme for September 22. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge Eco Living Festival founder Shaheera Asante has developed an exciting programme for September 22. Picture: Keith Heppell

“However, this is precisely where it belongs. Thinking outside the box, crate and shopping bag, we believe the whole ‘sustainability’ arena needs to be turned on its head to include consumers as part of the conversation.”



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