18th November 2019 Skopje, North Macedonia

Climate change and plastic free environments – we are all responsible to #ActGreen

Introduction by Her Majesty’s Ambassador Rachel Galloway, British Embassy Skopje:

Climate change presents an existential risk to global prosperity & security, and I am proud that the UK are leading in the fight to protect our environment.  This year, we have become one of the first major economies to commit to ending our contribution to climate change altogether by reducing our emissions to net zero by 2050. This is consistent with the science of what is needed globally to avoid dangerous climate change.  The next Climate Change Conference (COP25) will take place in December and we will post a series of environmental related blogs by some guest bloggers to share information & ideas.  Next year, the UK has successfully bid to co-host with Italy the 2020 Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, and this will provide a further opportunity to show our ambitions for cleaner energy, a flourishing nature and a more resilient future.

While the UK government has a specific role in promoting global action on climate change, the British Embassy Skopje thinks it is import to lead by example through reducing our environmental impact.  You may have seen the Blue Planet II documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough, which highlighted the devastating impact of plastic consumption on the world’s seas.  Plastic is cheap and versatile – it is estimated that 50% of plastic is used just once and thrown away.  Incredibly predictions show that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish!  We all have a part to play to change that prediction.  So through the #BeyondPlastics Campaign, the British Embassy Skopje has committed to eliminating avoidable single-use plastics from our operations and supply chain by the end of 2020.

My colleague Arijeta is going to tell you more about what we have been doing…

From business, family living, corporate world, to individual people, environmental blogs provides a way to raise awareness about environment matters and above all, it connects people with the same interests and drives the world towards environmental sustainability.

The Dutch and the US Embassy, Pivara, Pakomak, SOS Children’s village and the Economic chamber of North –West Macedonia are our longstanding partners and friends that have the same interest and is taking part in the fight for the environment.

We currently live in a society where there is over consumption and with this, unfortunately, comes increased garbage, which is a great problem.

Therefore, this year staff at the British Embassy in Skopje decided to venture our way through the River Vardar and clean the trash. A flow of 150 activists walked by the riverside and collected the plastics, glass and nylon bags that were laying there, damaging the soil, and ruining the beautiful view.

The activity generated a lot of comments and ideas about how we can help save the environment, however, the thing I heard the most often and the most repeated was that to make real change we should ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.

All of us are making an effort, both in our offices and in our homes to reduce our impact on our environment. Just some of the things we are doing are:

  • Avoiding the use of disposable goods such as lighters, paper cups and plastics
  • Purchasing products made from recycled materials
  • Using coffee mugs or personal reusable water bottles, instead of paper cups or bottled water
  • Serving jugs of tap water at meetings and events, rather than bottled water.
  • Adopting the use of recycled paper for copier paper and letterhead
  • Using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
  • Using electronic mails instead of printing out onto paper, and reducing the use of paper and envelopes
  • In the work place, instead of making one-sided copies using two sided copies
  • Using dishcloths instead of using paper towels
  • Instead of asking for a plastic bag, bring your own cloth bags when buying groceries
  • Donating to charity or selling old clothes, furniture, toys or appliances
  • Having a drink without a plastic straw, and encouraging your local cafes and restaurants to not use them
  • Bringing your own cup when ordering coffee-to-go

Everyone should try to embrace these ideas to make the world a better place.

Tweet, post on Facebook and Instagram and help us become #Beyondplastic Ambassadors.

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