Margate Baptist Church was the setting for the latest meeting of the Thanet Over Fifties Forum (TOFFs) which took place last Wednesday, 18 July. John Halladay of Greenpeace, and Jasmin Vickers of Thanet Coast Project, were the two guest speakers, as the Environment took centre stage at this packed meeting.
The issue of plastic pollution is near the forefront of current affairs both locally and nationally at the moment, and John Halladay (Greenpeace) presented those present with some of the positive changes taking place in the UK today to combat the problem, including:
(1) Government plans for a Return Bottles and Cans scheme and the banning of plastic straws;
(2) Several big-name coffee shop chains offering monetary discounts if you take a reusable cup with you; and
(3) Schools banning the use of plastic bottles.
He also shared news from around the world (good and bad), including the incredibly good discovery of million-strong penguin colonies found in a remote part of the Antarctic, which, he said, highlighted the need to protect the Antarctic and its abundance of wildlife more than ever.
Jasmin Vickers (Thanet Coast Project) then spoke passionately about Thanet's spectacular coastline, and its importance, internationally, for wintering birds and diverse marine life associated with the chalk cliffs, caves, reefs and sandy bays.
It was news to many present, that the Thanet coast had the second-longest unbroken chalk reef in the whole of the UK and one of the longest in Europe. Our rock pools, chalk reefs, caves and marine life form part of the designated conservation area known as the North East Kent Marine Protected Area (NEKMPA), which is deemed a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is protected by law.
Jasmin also pointed out that the Project relies on volunteers to help safeguard the coastal environment locally, including its marine and bird life. A particularly rewarding way to lend a hand is as a Warden or Guardian - who help by surveying wildlife and coastal activities and incidents once a month, which helps to shape the direction of the Project. Full training is given and it is a great opportunity to become the "eyes and ears" of your chosen area of coastline.
TOFFs co-ordinator Pauline Petitt said:
"Our guest speakers and those who attended the meeting showed what TOFFs is all about - bringing information and promoting discussion on topics of interest as chosen by our members".
To discover more about both speakers' projects, and to join the ever-growing army of TOFFs members for free, contact Pauline on (01843) 609337 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a follow-on from the meeting, next up for TOFFs is the screening, in partnership with Broadstairs Town Team, of Sir David Attenborough's powerful documentary, "A Plastic Ocean", at the Palace Cinema, Broadstairs, on Thursday 30 August at 6pm. To find out about booking tickets, contact Pauline via the details above.
Please feel free to call to contact us on 01843 609336 and we will do our best to help you.