Devon Environment Foundation (DEF) is set to receive a boost to its mission to protect and restore the county’s natural beauty by funding local nature regeneration projects.
As part of the Conservation Collective, a global network of foundations promoting grassroots environmental initiatives, DEF is one of seven projects benefitting from a charity partnership with Depeche Mode for the band’s ‘Memento Mori’ world tour.
The projects, which all aim to tackle plastic pollution, are being funded via a collaboration between the British band and luxury watchmaker Hublot.
The Devon charity is the only UK-based recipient of funding, which it will use to support flagship grantee ‘Till the Coast is Clear’. This inspirational CIC is striving to make the world a better place by recovering plastic pollution from hard-to-reach locations on the South Devon coast using recyclable motor vessels and a fleet of kayaks made from recycled fishing nets, crewed by volunteers.
The funds will enable the CIC to scale up its activities. Plans include developing the ability to recover more plastic pollution by increasing the number of kayaks, adding more collection points at remote coastal locations, and building more partnerships with local organisations and groups.
Till the Coast is Clear Director, Gary Joliffe says “This is going to make a huge difference to the next stage of our work and will ensure long-term positive impact on nature and the community, both in terms of awareness of the problems and solutions around plastic pollution, but also in improving accessibility and opportunity to get out to explore the incredible natural capital that surrounds us here in South Devon.
“We’ll be using some of the funding to trailer-mount our custom made whale sculpture – Whaley McWhale Face – which is dressed in plastic pollution recovered from the South Devon Coast including fishing nets, tyres, buoys, and single use plastic all washed up on our beautiful shores. Whaley will be available to be taken to events and locations to help raise awareness of the challenges plastics in the environment present and to help educate and inspire us all to adopt more nature conscious lifestyles.”
Plans also include a new initiative to introduce nature immersion experiences in the Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary AONB, to help more people from different walks of life to take part in outdoor adventures. As well as utilizing the recycled kayaks, a 26 foot 1962 wooden motor cruiser is being converted into an electric vessel for use on the estuary.
DEF Executive Director, Amanda Keetley said: “We’re very excited to have been included in the funding from Depeche Mode and Hublot. We are huge supporters of the brilliant and hugely impactful work of Till the Coast is Clear who are working so hard to ensure that our beautiful coastline and estuaries are protected for future generations.”
DEF specialises in identifying the most innovative or impactful nature-based solutions in Devon, providing them with vital kick-start or scale-up support. Since launching in 2020, DEF has awarded more than £630,000 of grants, enabling 48 brilliant grassroots projects to address the climate and nature emergencies.
According to the UN Environment Programme, every minute, the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean. Approximately 7 billion of the 9.2 billion tonnes of plastic produced from 1950-2017 became plastic waste, ending up in landfills or dumped elsewhere.
Plastic pollution can alter habitats and natural processes, reducing ecosystems’ ability to adapt to climate change, directly affecting millions of people’s livelihoods, food production capabilities and social well-being.
Ben Goldsmith, Founder and Chair of Conservation Collective, said: “We are overjoyed about our new partnership with Depeche Mode. Together we’re going to be funding and illuminating a series of extraordinary, scalable grassroots solutions to the curse of single use plastics across the regions in which we have established local Conservation Collective foundations.
“Whilst we can’t ultimately recycle our way out of the horror-show of single use plastics, we can change systems to reduce and eventually eliminate the flow of plastics that are choking nature everywhere. A plastic waste-free world is possible!”
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