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Motion for the Ocean: concerned Nottingham residents call on city to protect our oceans and waterways

31/5/2023

In a heart-warming display of environmental awareness, the people of Nottingham are joining forces to call for the protection of our oceans and waterways. As part of the upcoming Green Hustle Festival taking place from June 2-4, residents, backed by the festival organisers, are urging Nottingham City Council to pass a 'Motion for the Ocean'.


Through an open letter addressed to the Council, citizens are highlighting the critical role local actions play in restoring ocean health, benefitting marine life and human well-being. Nottingham and the broader East Midlands region have the power to act as responsible stewards of the rivers and streams flowing through the area, and in doing so help the ocean on which we all depend.


Green Hustle Festival Founder, Adam Pickering, said: "The ocean is an integral part of our planet's ecosystem and we must protect it. So, in collaboration with marine experts, we're inviting local residents to sign this open letter calling for a proactive approach to stewardship and education around our blue spaces from Nottingham City Council. We hope for a healthy and vibrant ocean for future generations, and we are proud to host this campaign at Green Hustle Festival."


The marine environment takes centre stage at the Green Hustle Festival, held in Nottingham's Old Market Square and around the city. Oceans and waterways are a key topic running through the expansive programme, which includes primary school projects, storytelling, and sea-themed dance performances – as well as improving biodiversity and putting new artwork installations along Nottingham Canal.

River pollution in our cities has a damaging impact on our oceans

Children's ocean-themed crafts

Ocean experts and campaigners will be talking on the festival's main stage at 4pm on 4 June, while families and local schools can dive into marine storytelling and creativity-based activities across the weekend. QR codes for signing the open letter will be displayed across the 50 fringe events, and those unable to attend can also sign the letter online.


Often, coastal communities bear the responsibility of caring for the ocean; but they are at the end of the line, receiving litter and pollution from inland communities like Nottingham.

As the largest city through which the River Trent flows, actions taken there can make a significant difference. By becoming better custodians of the River Trent and its tributaries and stopping pollution and litter at their source, Nottingham residents can contribute to protecting and restoring the ocean.


Emily Cunningham, Midlands-based Ocean Conservation Expert and Co-founder of the #Motion4theOcean movement, emphasizes the importance of inland communities taking responsibility for ocean recovery. She said: "It is fantastic to see this call to action from residents and local groups, and I encourage Nottingham City Council to seize the opportunity to become the first Council in the Midlands to pass a Motion for the Ocean."


Whilst fourteen councils across the country have already passed a Motion for the Ocean, Nottingham City has the opportunity to become the first in the Midlands, showcasing its environmental leadership and aligning with its commitments to mitigate climate and ecological emergencies.


Local campaigner Liv Marshall, aged 16, passionately expresses the need for Nottingham to adopt this legislation. "It's vital that a city like Nottingham passes the Motion for the Ocean to fully educate its citizens and improve the health of our waterways,” she said.


“The canal and the River Trent sit at the heart of the city, and without them, Nottingham wouldn't be the same. For young people like me, it's painful to see our natural habitats treated so disposably. We want more education on our rivers and the oceans they feed, and better management of them from those currently in charge to make sure they're fit for the future."


If the Motion for the Ocean is passed, it could embed the protection and recovery of the River Trent and its tributaries into decision-making by the Council, aligning with efforts to mitigate the climate and ecological emergencies. Furthermore, collaboration with local authorities, environmental organisations and community groups would be fostered to achieve the protection and recovery of the River Trent.


Notts City Council are asked to pledge to increase awareness among Nottingham residents of how their actions impact, and are impacted by, ocean health, emphasizing the "source to sea" approach and encouraging active participation in river protection activities.


Join this inspiring movement and sign the open letter here.

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