The G7 (or Group of Seven) is an intergovernmental organisation made up of the world's seven largest advanced economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The group has met regularly since 1976 to discuss key issues related to global economic stability.
The group comprises Finance Ministers and Governors of Central Banks, representatives of the European Union, including the EU Presidency and European Central Bank attend as well as heads of international financial institutions.
This year the UK has assumed the Presidency of the G7 and will host a meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors in St Ives, Cornwall from Friday 11th until Sunday 13th June. Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and Transition Town, along with many other environmental groups, are expected to be present in considerable numbers.
Yes, we're on our way to Carbis Bay to remind the G7 governments we're watching them. We will not allow them to bluster and waffle and make half-hearted promises while there's an urgent job to be done - while the planet is burning. We will be setting off from Shoreham-by-Sea on 1st June and will arrive in Carbis Bay on 10th June ready to give them a great big Bloomin' Greenwash welcome. Along the way we will be providing entertainment as well as information so please check the route and see if we pass near you!
DIARY OF A BLOOMIN’ GREENWASH REBEL
– by Josie
01/06/21 | Shoreham-by-Sea to Bosham
I joined the Bloomin’ Greenwash Crew in the bright, 8 o’clock sunshine with the green grass shining and our panniers looking trim and neat. In our tribe we have people representing every decade since the 1950’s which always makes for a good group dynamic, in fact you couldn’t meet more easy-going and positive people.
After 3 1/2 hours with a delayed departure from Shoreham-by-Sea us cyclists decided to leave Blooming Adur Too for continued final repairs, setting off before the midday sun could finish us off. We whizzed along the coast stopping briefly in Littlehampton for chips and arriving in a quintessentially English green in Chichester where we were welcomed with cakes and juice provided by kind supporters from XR.
BAT (Blooming Adur Too) joined us later in ‘the heavenly garden’ where we camped that night after a beautifully presented vegan feast. The mosquitoes ate our juicy skin that had been covered all over winter, and we were even treated to showers.
02/06/21 | Bosham to Yarmouth (IOW)
We set off in high spirits after a healthy breakfast, delighted to be with Blooming Adur Too to a long lines filled with cal parsley and the sounds of birds. We suffered a puncture early on and no sooner had we repaired it than the drive shaft broke in the boat. Luckily this happened in a bus stop and, by chance, right next to a man selling a recumbent bicycle which Hamish immediately purchased. Our wonderful hosts in Bosham, Ruth and Andrew, put the broken BAT on their trailer and Hamish continued on with us, unfortunately smashing mbl by mistake.
We then had a great cycle to Portsmouth where we stuffed ourselves with vegan sausage rolls as it started to rain. We made it onto the ferry and the Isle of Wight welcomed us with open arms – and huge amounts of delectable cakes in Newport. The Blooming’ Greenwash samba contingent played in the town square and then we continued to the eco-campsite (equipped with cold showers and compost loos) where we all had a good laugh and practised our Mummers play.
03/06/21 | Yarmouth (IOW) to Poole
We have a daily meeting at 8 o’clock every day, holding a check-in and discussion of anything relevant for the day, and this we did in our Isle of Wight woodland before we cycled off to catch the ferry back to the mainland at Lymington, playing samba on the key and singing Beatles songs as we rode along. We also met a couple of other XR members who joined us on the route to Christchurch and enjoyed another splendid vegan lunch in a lovely house and garden with the sort of lawn that makes everyone want to do yoga.
Luckily for us we met an expert who helped sharpen up the direction of our play before continuing on to Poole where we enjoyed a cup of tea in the garden of another XR friend with a Chilean Red Lantern tree, By this time our tribe has become a family of nine and we couldn’t be parted so we chose to stay all together in the empty garden of another XR rebel who had gone away. After pitching our tents we cycled to Poole quay and ate chips and beer, the water looking exotic as dusk fell and I felt like a kid who had been allowed to stay up late. The locals appeared to like our drumming so we busily gave out some of our leaflets.
04/06/21 | Poole to Hapyard
Cycling to Wareham was our first destination after taking down our tents and serving porridge without sugar for nine. a retired sea Capt joined us and we had a rousing welcome on the banks of the river Froome then a much needed lunch in the community café. Wareham seemed a picturesque friendly place with children swimming in the river and people sitting on the banks eating ice cream. We performed our mummers play to a few families and gave out many leaflets giving it all our welly before cycling the remaining 14 miles or so to Dorchester where the huge welcome of drumming and cheering brought a tear to my eye.
The award-winning Town Crier there read us a poem and we were fed with new potatoes, sausages, popcorn and many other treats. We did samba in a shopping square causing a security guard to threaten us with a visit from the police, the evening sun was golden by the time we set out on the last few leafy miles in the green lanes and great hills, with the swifts and swallows swooping overhead making it extra memorable. We spent the night in a field next to some llamas, managing a roaring fire and a few folk songs before a kind relative arrived with beer and pizzas – and they even took our knickers off to be washed. The stars in the night sky were bright and we are woke to the sound of the cawing of rooks.
05/06/21 | Hapyard to Beer
Never a dull moment on this trip. we cycled off just after 9 to another beautiful garden outside of Bridport where we were given filter coffee and had our clean washing returned to us. Perfect sunny weather with a light breeze. our group has expanded again and we rolled into the bustling town of Bridport around midday where we were greeted by another town crier and more tasty food. we enjoyed parading through the town ‘doing Samba’ then we cycled off to Lyme Regis where the yellow sandy beach was packed with holidaymakers. more nice squidgy cakes awaited us and we performed our Mummers play on the key. at least a few people seemed to appreciate it and we are improving every time we do it. the hill out of Lyme Regis was the worst hill we’d encountered so far, most of us had to push our bikes, very tired by now. Several more hills later we arrived in the smallholding of one of our group who is cycling a bathtub along with us to Cornwall. Yes, that’s correct: a bathtub. We were able to avail ourselves of his luxurious bath and shower and eat a hot dinner and play the piano, which was lovely. We camped in a grassy field which felt like a nest, at one with all with birds and insects all around us, blessed with blissful surroundings again ...
06/06/21 | Beer to Exeter
It was Sunday morning and we allowed ourselves a rest. After porridge and our meeting we walked through fields to Beer beach and flung ourselves in the sea. The water was calm and tall cliffs surrounded us. Ducky’s cafe served us greasy breakfasts on the shingle and the sun came out. We left the small holding we had spent the night at 1 pm and cycled about 4 hours up and down hills to Exeter.
We had one puncture and a few pot holes and more people joined us. Our samba and mummers went down ok on the quay and it always fills us with new energy when we are flagging. We stayed in another inspiring garden of an XR comrade who fed us a wonderful tasty dinner and we sat around outside discussing stuff. Great to be outside. England In the summertime as Van Morrison says.
07/06/21 | Exeter to Dartmoor
We had an early start from Exeter. Two of our original group left so now we are a tribe of 12; 8 men and 4 women. Scents of cut grass, manure and wild garlic as we bombed down hills and struggled up them. I heard a woodpecker and we stopped to collect water from the River Tor. We have collected drops from all the rivers we have passed on the way, to encourage the G7 world leaders to purify their thoughts. I feel free as we zoom along with the wind on my skin. It feels good to be alive.
We had a rest in Okehampton then creaked up a final hill and rode the Granite Path over a majestic bridge to eat pizzas and do samba at a shell garage by Dartmoor. We wild camped on the moor with the evening sun shining over the wide expanse and the sheep singing and panoramic views for miles. Ancient looking rocks dotted the grass and we danced.
08/06/21 | Dartmoor to Launceston
Woke up cold on Dartmoor under grey skies; ate sticky porridge and had our meeting. We are getting quicker at packing up now and we were on the road by 9. We stayed on the old A30 until we climbed a steep hill into Lauceston. We added to our collection of river water, and we now have small vials taken from rivers near Bosham, the Medina, Mude, Char, Axe, Otter, Exe, Taw, Okement, Lew, Thrushall, Tamar, Kensley, and Camel.
There were some fine Georgian buildings there in the town and we did our play in the hot town square to a small audience. We were then fed hot pasties and green salad in the velvety grass by the ancient castle. More people joined us and we cycled another 20 miles or so to camelford which is a proper un touristy place. We pitched up in a campsite where they played us heart radio in the showers and walked along a lovely river to the friendly local pub in the evening.
09/06/21 | Launceston to Newquay
Cycling through lanes with high hedgerows full of wild fox gloves in slight drizzle was wonderful today. The hills were deadly but we set off just after 9 and reached wade bridge around midday where a funeral procession was going through the bustling town. We bought Cornish pasties for lunch then continued on to Newquay. We arrived by 4 pm and did our best mummers play yet, on the green overlooking the sandy beach and the surfers, to quite a big audience.
I am writing this final blog from the GWR train back as I am not doing the final stretch to st ives tomorrow. I was very sad to leave the wonderful blooming greenwash crew, an eclectic bunch with many skills and talents but also great kindness and shared values. I will reflect on this pilgrimage and all the amazing people who have fed us and helped us on the way. Most of all I feel full of love for humanity and the planet and hope that in a small way we have raised awareness about the G7 and the climate crisis.
10/06/21 | Newquay to St Ives
– by Sarah
Our final day, started with our 8am meeting, porridge and heading off for about 9am. Spirits are high but we all know we have 35 up and downy, hilly miles to cover. I’ve stopped asking if there are any big hills today, there are big hills everyday now. We laughingly changed our greenwash song to ‘hill wash’ as any descriptions of ‘no more hills’ is now only a joke!
Jack said that cycling becomes mediative, and I agree. We chat at times as we go, other times we are in our own space, in our own thoughts. Barry always checking and herding us to make sure we have not lost anyone. Pushing can be hard work but we are rewarded with clearer views of the bountiful hedgerows, growing before our eyes, making up for the harsh and long winter. As always, I wish I listened to my mum more when she told me the names of many of these plants. Even without names, they are inspirational.
We stop at the Mount Pleasant, Eco park for lunch, for more delicious vegan food. We stay longer than planned but this gives us chance to discuss and practice our water healing ceremony.
We cycle to Godrevy, our chosen site, where the poisoned Red River meets the sea. We are met by interested police but we continue to the estuary for our ceremony. We are performing an ancient ceremony that requires no permission. This is not something that can be seized, captured or stopped.
The ceremony is incredibly powerful and meaningful, we are guided by information from our Druid friend and fellow drummer Silvaleaf. In my Bloomin’ Adur dress, I have the honour of mixing the drops of water we collected from so many sister waterways since we left Shoreham 10 days ago and sharing them with the Red River to heal her. We have the low surdo drum beat, rebels singing the prayer and Hamish reads out the names of the rivers. I feel emotional, humbled and connected by our ceremony and its meaning has grown with us as we travelled.
We head into Hayle to look for opportunities for drumming and Mummers play. A local man explains that Hayle has lost both of its industries and also its town square, now the community only has a large ugly Asda with dominates the waterfront. It reflects the death of local communities and we decide we do not want to play there. We make emergency purchases of supplies and head on to St Ives.
And shit, what a lot of police. It feels much more edgy and scary now. There are huge traffic jams of people trying to get home from work to Carbis Bay and St Ives. We have the amazing experience of cycling freely past all of it. The PEDAL POWERED REVOLUTION finally arrives at our campsite, we bloomin’ well made it….
12/06/21 | St Ives
– by Hamish
With due thanks to Kristin for bringing Bloomin’ Adur the First to Higher Penderleath, we had to do something with her. Hitched onto Barries bike, we took the minor road route to St Ives. Delightful route with coastal views north and south and very little traffic.
Hassle free run into town until we neared Porthmeor Beach where some 15 police blocked our progress. A hearty crowd engagement and rendition of ‘Greenwash’ saw a rapid exit of 10 officers which was interesting. However we were still refused beach access and negotiated a route to the ‘Island’.
Bit of outreach on the way capitalising on our predicament of not being allowed to put a boat in the water. A leisurely 2 hour rest below the large yellow ‘G7 PUT CLIMATE FIRST’ banner and our police presence gave up so we were able to get Bloomin’ Adur onto Porthmidden Beach
A fairly aggressive surf rolling in presented quite a challenge to launching our beloved vessel and illicited some mirth from our police observers who did not step in to prevent this momentous event. She did actually float for several seconds before being inundated and washed back on the beach, buckling a wheel in the process. We finished the day parking the Bloomin’ Adur in a purpose designed spot below the front door of the St Ives Tate Gallery and went off for a well earned beer.
*Note from Kristin – huge thanks to Barry Isa Kristin Sarah Christine and Colin for allowing me to indulge in such frivolity.
> to be continued ...
The official line is the G7 will discuss the most urgent issues of our time, including:
leading the global recovery from coronavirus while strengthening our resilience against future pandemics
promoting our future prosperity by championing free and fair trade
tackling climate change and preserving the planet’s biodiversity
championing our shared values
These are great aims Prime Minister - and there will be plenty of people watching you to make sure you deliver on your promise to "Build Back Better" and to prepare for a truly effective COP26 Global Climate Conference later this year.
CAFOD Campaigns Manager Liam Finn says the “proof” of this will be “whether the summit is used to galvanise the G7 governments to immediately end all spending on oil and gas overseas and ensure the world’s poorest nations have the finance they need to rebuild" from debt cancellation.