Traders make an effort to green up Gloucester Road
TRADERS from Gloucester Road have told Bishopston Voice how they are trying to do their bit for the environment and encourage their customers to do the same.
by Keri Beckingham
Planters on the pavements outside the Gloucester Road Central shops were created by volunteers from Avon Wildlife Trust as part of the My Wild City campaign, when Bristol was the European Green Capital in 2015. The idea grew from the success of the reclaimed bath full of plants that Sarah Thorp, owner of Room 212, had put outside her shop. After she sourced funding from the Neighbourhood Partnership, planters were put along the whole stretch of shops, which many traders have continued to care for including the Golden Lion, Odd Sox, Joe’s Bakery and Alchemy 198.
Speaking about the impact the planters have had, Sarah said: “Mr Patel from Crawfords Newsagents takes enormous pride in the huge sunflowers they grow every year, along with sweet peas and flowering shrubs. Proof that much can be grown in a tiny patch on a busy high street - for the benefit of humans and insects!”
Sarah is also a member of the Extinction Rebellion North Bristol group as she says she is becoming more and more aware of the climate emergency that society faces. She said: “I heard a speaker at the XR Summer Action say that people listen to their friends and hairdressers more than they do politicians and scientists. I have many discussions in my shop about the environment and how our systems and way of thinking need to change to create a safe future. Customers are generally very switched on to these problems and are keen to exchange ideas.”
Many traders are also concerned about the impact that pollution from idling cars along Gloucester Road could be having on the health of local residents. As Sarah explained: “Myself, fellow traders and many customers agree that cars, vans and trucks should be stopped from idling when not in traffic. In fact, it’s illegal and carries a fine. Pollution from vehicles parked up and left idling carries into our shops, businesses and homes. Perhaps readers might be interested in starting a campaign?”
Finola Kelly owns Nola Interiors, and she says her ethos is to source, promote and sell good quality, environmentally friendly products, including paint, textiles, rugs and homeware. She said: “Good quality products last longer, avoiding the need to constantly throw away and replace items, which contributes to environmental pollution.”
Katie Wallis is from Fig, and is also very aware of the climate emergency.
“We are adjusting the packaging we all use,” she said.
“We will be phasing out cellophane bags to protect our cards, not buying any more bubble wrap instead reusing any we have, and we are very happy to reuse any that customers care to return and that we receive in the post.
“The majority of us have always walked or cycled to work. We are all about shopping local and have been so well supported over the last 10 years by our mainly local customers.”
Many Gloucester Road Central traders are members of the Extinction Rebellion North Bristol group, which started five months ago. Over 50 people attend meetings each week, and the group meet at the Hall at 160 Gloucester Road (Pigsty Hill) on Tuesdays from 6.30pm. Members bring vegan food to share, and discussions then take place from 7 - 9pm.
James Collett is one of the hosts of Extinction Rebellion Bristol North Group. Speaking about the aims of the group and what their meetings involve, he said: “The meetings aren’t exclusive in any way, and any member of the public is welcome to come along. We have different programmes each week, and we also hold induction meetings for new members to talk through what we do and how Extinction Rebellion operates, which is a focus on non violence and treating people equally.”
Sarah Thorp added: “All are welcome to this friendly, supportive, inclusive group who believe in the Extinction Rebellion ethos of non-violent direct action.”
To find out more about the Extinction Rebellion North Bristol group, visit: xrbristol.org.uk