When I first heard the G7 was happening in Cornwall, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity, not just for Cornwall’s reputation but for the world to have a peep into the south west. It was an opportunity to share Cornish culture, the dramatic landscapes, the golden pasties, the can do attitude and the indie business culture of the south west.

My next thought went to the G7 attendees and that didn’t fill me with quite so much excitement. Instead, I worried about what would and, more importantly, what would not be discussed in these big conversations.

With the past year highlighting the fault lines in society, I imagine many people were left feeling helpless and fearful about the future. Especially as the year has been particularly lonely for some. Yet the events which took place within in the G7 fringe covered my biggest concerns for the world’s future – money, the environment and racial justice – in an inclusive, welcoming virtual space, stopping the world from feeling quite so big. Our webinars can be watched back in case you missed any.

Even when climate change wasn’t physically spoken about, Real Ideas and partners remained environmentally responsible, those coming down from other areas in the south west camped in tents and vans to spare fuel, our food producers created amazing vegetarian and vegan fare for attendees, and the weekend ended with a pop-up market of Cornish businesses supported local people, meaning less energy (in the form of petrol or diesel, non-renewable energy sources) was needed for products to find their new homes. Plus, many people attended from home via zoom – elimating their travel impact entirely and giving the event far more reach than it could have otherwise.

Jess Ratty (@_jessification_), Real Ideas Member, Halo PR founder and amazing live event host, said “I learned so much this week, from so many people and I bring it all home for my daughter so that we can in turn share our knowledge with others, to make our actions our legacy. Lots more content to come to share our story of the #g7 & our next steps working with change makers across the world – to get more voices heard, the truth tellers. For now, I’m happily going to rest my eyes and get ready for what feels to be a rising wave of action to come. Thank you to all who made this week so special”

The G7 fringe saw around 200 people come together from businesses, charities, government groups, social media platforms, documentary making and the general public. We all questioned our own choices about our lifestyle and spending habits. Could I swap my normal shops for secondhand shops? Where has my food come from? If I buy this item, where does my money go, who am I funding? Altogether thinking about the impact we have on people and the environment. But most importantly, we stood and stand as a united front against those who seek to ignore climate change and social justice. Everyone acknowledges we have a big wall to climb and we are all eager to see what is on the other side.

On a more personal note, I remember sitting in a lecture for a module called Global Change Biology, where my lecturer explained the warming climate can increase the chances of diseases spreading worldwide which could result in a pandemic. This was one of the last face-to-face lectures I had and the world looked like an unfamiliar place. But about 14 months later, I am hopeful for the future. The G7 Fringe has shown me collectively, we are noisy and determined enough to make positive change.

We have a plan of action:

  1. Make a change today!
  2. Everyone is an influencer
  3. Approach changes with positivity
  4. Champion difference
  5. Curiosity is Key
  6. Build new positive habits
  7. Pocket Power – spend consciously!

We will be the change we want to see. All we need now is for world leaders and governments to get on board! They need to act as strongly as us to make those positive changes so we can reduce our impact on the Earth. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.