Photo by Callum Shaw on Unsplash

Why City to Sea Whaley likes the new Teach the Future campaign

There is an industry that spews out the equivalent CO2 of 189 coal-fired power plants and that by 2050, will account for up to 13% of the total remaining carbon budget. We are of course talking about plastics and it’s a devastating contribution to climate breakdown. There is no bigger threat to our oceans than global warming.

And yet when you talk to people about the plastics industry most people think of its negative environmental impacts as just the plastic pollution left in our natural environment. And while this is a HUGE issue, we need people to educate themselves about its links to climate chaos. This is why City to Sea are throwing oceans of love and support at Teach the Future, a brand-new campaign launched by of SOS UK, the new sustainability charity set up by NUS officers and staff, and UKSCN, the school strikers’ group.

Its time get drastic in our action to tackle plastics and climate change. Shockingly just 4% of school pupils feel that they know a lot about climate change, whilst 75% of school teachers feel they don’t know enough about climate change to teach it. Teach the Future is demanding the Government implement six actions, these are the foundations of our fight against climate chaos and should be at the top of this government’s to do list.

Their calls are for:

  1. A government-commissioned review into how the whole of the English formal education system is preparing students for the climate emergency and ecological crisis
  2.  Inclusion of the climate emergency and ecological crisis in teacher training and a new professional teaching qualification
  3. An English Climate Emergency Education Act
  4. A national climate emergency youth voice grant fund
  5. A national Youth Climate Endowment Fund
  6. All new state-funded educational buildings should be net-zero from 2022; all existing state-funded educational buildings net-zero by 2030

City to Sea’s founder, Natalie Fee backed the calls saying,

“Just like the plastics floating in our oceans, the political response to the climate crisis has been rubbish. These are well thought out, practical and possible demands. Education isn’t just about exam results – but about empowering young people to be the champions of our shared planet. We also need to support all those phenomenal teachers that have dedicated their professional lives to supporting young people. This can’t be left to them alone. We all need to rise up, stand up and be counted”

Get involved:

If you feel like we feel, then contact your MP today and ask them to get these 6 asks

Find out more about these asks and read the full document here.

Please register your support on and sign the petition here.

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Coca-Cola Advert

ASA and Coca-Cola respond to advert complaint

Last week we logged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA)against Coca-Cola for their recent advertising campaign claiming their bottles were no longer single-use because they could be recycled.  

Here at City to Sea, we want big brands and massive polluters like Coca-Cola, to stop this kind of greenwashing and take positive steps to transition away from single-use and move towards systems of reuse. Advertisements that attempt to mislead the public and have the potential to increase the number of plastic bottles polluting our planet, can and should be banned.  

You can see our complaint, and understand more about why we complained, here. 

Coca-Cola hits back

Following the backlash, Coca-Cola hit back claiming we had “misunderstood the message of the campaign” and that instead it “was designed to make clear to people that all of our bottles can and should be recycled so that the plastic in them can be used to make a new bottle.”  

Coca-Cola stated that they were “working to make them as sustainable as possible by doubling the amount of recycled plastic they are made from and ensuring all of them are recovered and recycled”.  However, they accept the fact that “for the plastic in our bottles to have more than one use, the essential first step is for the bottle to be in a recycling bin. That’s what the advert was encouraging consumers to do”.  

But we think Coca-Cola and the ASA are the ones who have misunderstoodThe United Nations (who we would regard as a fairly authoritative voice on most matters!) define single-use as; “items intended to be used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.” 

Our supporters

We’re not the only ones who believe it’s not Coca-Cola’s privilege to redefine single-use and that instead we should be choosing the Refill Revolution. We’ve had backing from campaigners like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Break Free From Plastic. 

We’ve also been blown away by the response from our supportersThanks to YOU the ASA was inundated with complaints and initially released a statement saying that they were looking into the ‘single use plastic campaign’ by Coca-Cola.  

The complaint was also picked up by media bodies within the food and beverage sector, including Food ManufactureResource Magazine and New Food Magazine 

ASA responds

The ASA have responded to say they ARE investigating the environmental claims made by Coca-Cola but WILL NOT look into whether they are misusing the term single-use.  

As you can imagine, we are delighted they are looking into the claims Coca-Cola make about the environmental credentials of their product, but we also stand by our initial complaint and have responded asking for the ASA to clarify some points in their response including what definition (if not the UN’s, the EU’s or even the recycling body WRAP’s that Coca-Cola are part of) they are using.  

Thank you

As ever, we’re incredibly grateful for everyone getting behind this and for the ongoing support we’ve received. Although the ASA are unable to give a specific timeframe for this ruling, we will keep you informed with any updates we receive.  

Together we really can make a difference and hold corporations to account.  

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Are you a good A**hole?

We need to talk to you about your a**hole. We know, we’re sorry!

The problem is, when trying to look after your a**hole, and the a**holes of those you love, many people are buying, using and incorrectly flushing wet wipes.

Today we’ve launched a new campaign to shine a light on the issue and find a way to tackle it.

What’s so bad about flushing wet wipes we hear you ask?

Most people think wet wipes break down like toilet paper when you flush them, but they don't!

When wet wipes are flushed down the loo, they caused huge blockages called fatbergs (which are made up of 93% of wet wipes). And it costs millions to clear up, contributing to plastic pollution in our oceans by blocking sewers and causing overspills of waste.

Wet wipes are now changing the shape of our rivers and polluting our beaches in terrifying numbers. One study found over 4,500 wet wipes on one 154m sq patch of foreshore - a rise of 700% over the last decade[1].


Did you know - most wet wipes are made of plastic?

The problem is, most people don’t even realise that wet wipes are mainly made up of plastic. Of the 11 billion wet wipes sold in the UK every year, 90% contain some form of plasticThe confusing packaging usually doesn’t even mention plastic!

As City to Sea’s founder, Natalie Fee says, “Let’s face it, the real a**holes are the manufacturers who are still not listing the actual material of the wipe on the ingredients list. This is making it hard for people to realise they’re potentially flushing plastic down the loo.”

Sorry to dump bad news on you like this, but it’s important and here in the UK, we don’t tend to like talking about poo, bums or anything else that happens behind that locked bathroom door (unless of course, it involves toilet humour).

Be a Good A**hole

This is why we’ve launched our new campaign - #BeAGoodAsshole. The campaign involves our very own talking a**hole, developed in partnership with Lord of The Rings actor, Andy Serkis and the creative agency Karmarama. That’s right – a very famous talking a**hole – that we hope will make a real splash!

In a short animation, our a**hole highlights the problem with flushing wet wipes and suggests that you might not need to use wet wipes in the first place.

Speaking on his involvement in the campaign, Andy Serkis explains, “All across the news we are seeing people take a stand to look after our planet. It’s time we all start taking responsibility for our actions and that starts with being a good a**hole. It’s only one tiny change we can all make which goes a long way in protecting our oceans. I didn’t think I’d ever feel so passionate to take on the role of a talking a**hole.”

Have a look and see what you think.

Ultimately our talking a**hole sends you to the campaign’s microsite where you can share the animation and create your own a**hole profile picture.

While we would love you to spread the word with all the a**holes you know, the biggest thing we want you to do is this – try to not use wet wipes at all (toilet roll is fine), but if you do feel the need to use wet wipes, always put them in the bin and not down the toilet.

There is a golden rule here, whenever you’re on the bog make sure you only flush the 3P’s - pee, paper and poo.

It’s simple and could help solve a really crappy plastics problem.




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Press release: be a good a**hole

Press release: Andy Serkis takes on a new character, an animated talking a**hole, to stop people flushing wet wipes

Plastic pollution campaigning organisation, City to Sea, has collaborated with world famous, Lord of the Rings actor Andy Serkis, to make a stand against the use of wet wipes and their damaging impact on the planet

The short film sees Andy Serkis take on the role of an animated talking a**hole, literally, to encourage people to make a change in their habits

Despite their naming, fatbergs are in fact made up of 93% of wet wipes and just 0.5% fat and are responsible for blocking the nation’s sewage sytems[1]

90% of wet wipes on the market contain plastic[2] and are therefore non-biodegradable


City to Sea, a plastic pollution campaigning organisation, has today announced its collaboration with actor, voice over artist, director and author Andy Serkis. In a 30 second short film animation, Andy Serkis takes the role of a talking a**hole in a bid to raise awareness of the catastrophic impact of our addiction to wet wipes.

Famously known for his voice work as Gollum in The Lord of The Rings trilogy and as a passionate environmentalist, Andy Serkis is now the voice behind a brand-new character, a loveable talking a**hole. The campaign calls for the public to ‘be a good a**hole’ and dispose of wet wipes responsibly.

City to Sea and Andy Serkis are raising awareness of the damaging impact flushing wet wipes down the toilet has on our sewers and the environment. While fatbergs attract the headlines, in fact they consist of 93% wet wipes and only 0.5% fat, which has inspired City to Sea to take action. Despite what the majority may believe, 90% of wet wipes on the market contain plastic and do not biodegrade, with many wet wipe brands incorrectly labelling their products as flushable [3]. This has prompted City to Sea to urge the public to get off their backsides and “be a good a**hole.”

Natalie Fee, City to Sea founder, says, “It’s a bummer that so many people are still treating their toilets like bins and flushing single-use plastic wipes. And let’s face it, the real a**holes are the manufacturers who are still not listing the actual material of the wipe on the ingredients list. This is making it hard for people to realise they’re potentially flushing plastic down the loo. We’re thrilled that Andy is helping us raise awareness of the issue and shine a light on how what we do with our own ‘precious ring’ can save our seas. Be a good asshole and don’t believe the wipe.”

In 2018 the UK used over 10.8 billion wet wipes [4] and on average each of us will use around 38,000 over our lifetime [5]. Once flushed, wipes clog our pipes and sewers contributing to giant ‘fatbergs’ which lead to sewage systems overflowing, spilling into waterways and seas and inevitably pollute our oceans with plastics and sewage. In 2018 the Marine Conservation Society recorded over 14 wet wipes per 100 metres of coastline, a rise of 700% over the last decade [6].

City to Sea is calling on the public to stop flushing wet wipes down the toilet and to only flush the 3Ps - pee, paper and poo. The organisation advises that if you do need to use wet wipes, always put them in the bin and not down the toilet. Or even better, use reusable wipes or just toilet roll.

Speaking on his involvement on the campaign, Andy Serkis explains, “All across the news we are seeing people take a stand to look after our planet. It’s time we all start taking responsibility for our actions and that starts with being a good a**hole. It’s only one tiny change we can all make which goes a long way in protecting our oceans. I didn’t think I’d ever feel so passionate to take on the role of a talking a**hole.”

Founded in 2014, City to Sea is an award-winning, not-for-profit organisation campaigning to stop plastic pollution at source and advocates reduce and reduce over single-use. Their mission is to encourage and inspire people from all walks of life with solutions-focused initiatives to help make a positive impact on our planet – from cities to the sea.

To find out more about the #BeAGoodAsshole campaign visit To find out more about City to Sea visit



For more information about the campaign or to arrange interviews please contact:

Karmarama [email protected]

020 3301 2076

Steve Hynd – Campaigns Manager at City to Sea
[email protected]

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Top tips for less plastic

1 - Pack a water bottle

This summer make sure the first thing to go into your hand luggage is a reusable water bottle! We know people buy bottled water when they’re travelling – especially abroad. As part of our Refill campaign, we’re working with train stations and airports to make it easier than ever to access free drinking water. The top destinations for British tourists such as Spain, France and Italy all have safe to drink tap water. If you’re travelling to countries where you can’t drink tap water, you could invest in a Water To Go bottle that eliminates over 99.9% of microbiological contaminants or just boil water in your room – leave it too cool overnight and you’re ready to go the next day!

2. Refill at the airport!

It’s now easier than ever to say no to single-use plastic and stay hydrated when travelling – especially at the airport! Many airports, including Heathrow who we’re working with as part of our Refill campaign, now have an area where you can empty your bottle before security and refill at fountains the other side so you don’t have to buy bottled water before your flight.

3. Say no to travel miniatures

An estimated 980 tonnes of mini-plastic shampoo bottles are being dumped by British holiday makers abroad each year! That’s the equivalent to two-and-a-half Boeing 747s!  Say no to the travel toiletries and instead of buying the super expensive and tiny bottles of shampoo and soap, take your own toiletries from home in refillable travel-sized containers. Or, if you really need to stock up then opt for plastic-free shampoo and soap bars.

4. Don’t use hotel toiletries

Who hasn’t at some point helped themselves to the freebies in hotel rooms? But there’s a growing trend to reject the hotel miniature toiletries many hotels offer. Leading hotel chains like Marriott International have already ditched these miniature bottles of shampoo while Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain have told us they never have and never will have the wasteful mini-bottles. If you do happen to find yourself in a hotel chain that still gives you these, leave them where you find them and make sure you mention it in your feedback to the hotel. (Even better, snap a photo of all the single-use plastic you can find in your hotel room, share it on social media, tag them (and us!) in with the #plasticfreetravel and let’s make them take notice!)

5. Say no to plastic straws

There are thought to be more than half a million plastic straws used every day around the world. That’s over 180 million being used every single year. While the UK has taken the first step in implementing the EU’s Single-Use Plastic Directive and announced it will ban plastic straws by 2020, there are still many countries around the world where you will still be able to buy them. So, here’s the simple solution. Just say no to plastic straws. If you really want a straw in your Pina Colada this summer, then make sure you remember to pack your own reusable straw. But otherwise, the staff at City to Sea HQ can promise, sipping a Pina Colada on a beach front with a pineapple moustache is just fine.

6. Reuse your beach toys or buy second hand

Last year, a shocking 14,000 bodyboards were abandoned on beaches in the South West of England alone. Now think how many £1 plastic bucket and spade sets or novelty inflatable dinosaurs and flamingos were purchased and thrown away! It doesn’t have to be like this. Take toys to the beach and have fun, but make sure you keep hold of them and reuse them each year.  This top-tip is simple – don’t buy rubbish you don’t need.

7. Carry a reusable cup and refill on the plane and on holiday!

In 2011 around 2.5 billion coffee cups were thrown away each year. When we’re holidaying, it’s easy to slip out of habits like carrying our keep cups - which is why when you’re travelling your plastic waste can spiral. You can be part of the solution by taking your reusable coffee cup with you wherever you go. And it doesn’t have to stop there – you can avoid unnecessary take-away containers by eating in with reusable plates or by taking your own tupperware containers. A really easy example is to pack a sandwich to take with you on a flight rather than buying or accepting the airline food which is nearly always wrapped in plastic.

8. Pack your cutlery set

Most flights and or takeout restaurants will supply you with single-use plastic cutlery. Make it easy to refuse and set an example to other passengers by taking your own bamboo or stainless-steel cutlery set. (Beware of metal though if you‘re travelling by plane – they won’t let you travel with forks and knives!) If you‘re not travelling by plane, just take your own cutlery from home! You may feel like you look silly to the person next to you at first, but we’re sure they’re really just wondering why they didn't think of doing that themselves.

9. Buy sun-cream that doesn’t harm the oceans

The world’s coral reefs are suffering, and chemicals commonly found in sunscreen contribute to the problem. According to the numbers, the problem is daunting: 14,000 tons of sunscreen are thought to wash into the oceans each year; 82,000 chemicals from personal-care products are polluting the seas. As well as coming in plastic, most sunscreen CONTAINS plastic. Dow Chemical makes Sunspheres, particles of 0.0003 mm that are put in other brands’ sunscreen products. It can be between 10 and 100 trillion particles in one single product.You can read more about the problem here.

And remember, even if you don’t swim after applying sunscreen, it will still wash down drains when you shower.

10. Eat a banana. Or an orange. Or an apple. Eat local!

Fruit and veg doesn’t grow in plastics, humans wrap it in plastic. Normally to then ship veg all around the world. When you are travelling take advantage of local produce in local markets. This cuts down on the carbon heavy food miles and it make it a lot easier to avoid the plastic wrapped food we have grown so used to in our supermarkets.


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Power change in your life with our Ecotricity partnership

We love collaborating – it’s how we change the world, for the better. So we’re chuffed to announce our new partnership with Ecotricity and our alliance with Extinction Rebellion this summer to help bring about the changes our planet so urgently needs.

As eminent environmentalist George Monbiot said when asked what his top tip to reverse climate breakdown was, he replied, ‘do nothing alone’Which is why, as of this July, we’ll be partnering with a green energy supplier, Ecotricity, to help power change in our supporter’s lives. 

Ecotricity are Britain’s greenest energy company. They don’t just supply green energy, they make it too. Plus, they’re the only energy supplier in Britain that knows the carbon footprint, per customer, of its entire operations – which means they’re green from head to toe. 

Through our new partnership, we’ll be encouraging more people to protect our planet by switching to green energy (psssst! It’s one of the biggest single things you can do to cut your carbon footprint).  

By making the switch, you’ll not only be cutting your own carbon footprint, but you’ll also be helping us prevent plastic pollution at source. Ecotricity will now donate up to £60 to support City to Sea’s planet protecting work as a thankyou for you switching. 

Why we’re working together? 

Somewhere along City to Sea’s journey, our founder Natalie made the link between plastic and climate breakdown. We’d always known (thanks to The Story of Stuff!) plastic was made of fossil fuels, and that all the production and transportation involved in bottled water and packaging was bad in terms of CO2 emissions, but it was the CIEL report, published in April 2018, that really brought it all home.  

As Nat talked about in her last blog on plastic and climate, the report shows that plastic’s share of global oil use is set to triple by 2050, increasing greenhouse gas emissions from petrochemicals by 30 percent and doubling plastic pollution in our oceans. Depressing stuff – if you leave it at that. But of course we don’t – City to Sea exists to disrupt that trend and create a new story, one that you star in, along with everyone else living a life with less plastic!  

Switch to green energy and help save the planet 

Ecotricity are in pursuit of a Green Britain, a place in which we all live more sustainable lives and where an ethical business is the norm, pursuing outcomes rather than profit, so joining forces was a natural fit and we’re delighted to be working together. 

We’re delighted to have teamed up with City to Sea who are encouraging people to switch away from single-use plastics. At Ecotricity, we’re all about encouraging people to switch to truly deep green energy and frack-free gas, hence our two simple switching solutions combined will go a long way towards helping crack our current climate crisis. Here’s to everyone having the bottle to get behind us both and make a big difference. – Helen Taylor, Ecotricity

So how do I make the switch? 

  1. Click here to find out more about Ecotricity and how to switch to green energy. It’s super simple! 
  2. Or if you’d prefer to chat you can call them on 0808 123 0123, mention City to Sea  or ‘CTS’ so they can donate to us (don’t forget that bit or we won’t get the donation) 
  3. Hurrah! That’s it – you’ve made a big dent in your carbon footprint and help power our plastic pollution campaigns. Thanks for doing your bit. 

WIN tickets to WOMAD Festival 

We’ll be kicking our partnership off at WOMAD festival on Sunday 28th July, where Natalie Fee will be chairing a panel discussion with her personal hero and shero – Dale Vince, founder of Ecotricity and Gail Bradbrook, co-founder of Extinction Rebellion. We’ll be discussing how Ecotricity were the first business to declare a Climate Emergency, and the role businesses have to play in the rebellion. And no doubt plastic pollution will be on the agenda too.  And we’ll also be encouraging our supporters to get involved with their local Extinction Rebellion groups and be part of the 3.5% of the population we need to be mobilised to see systemic change.  

To be in with a chance to WIN tickets to the festival, share your plastic free festival tips with us by the 21st July and we’ll pick our favourite. To enter you will need to:  

  1. Enter on Twitter by following and tagging us @CitytoSea_ and sharing your tip using #WINWOMAD
  2. Email us on [email protected]  

Entries must be submitted by 12:00 July 17th 

The winner will be selected and notified on July 22nd.   

Terms and Conditions apply.

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‘Seb, Polly Planet & their Ocean Quest’

It’s a big week here at City to Sea HQ, as one of our original team members, and now in-house photographer and filmmaker, Michelle Cassar launches her first book today, for World Oceans Day Seb and Polly Planet on their Ocean Quest, a children’s book raising awareness of solutions to the issue of plastic pollution.

It’s a stunningly illustrated, and already highly acclaimed adventure story aimed at children age 5+ and is designed to empower them to live with less plastic. Through the magical adventures of daring Seb, children will learn about the effects of plastic pollution, and what they can do to prevent it. Rather than focus on recycling, this book takes a fresh approach; concentrating on the other three Rs – refuse, reduce and reuse. As you know, we need to ‘turn off the tap’ if we really want to prevent plastic pollution.

A bit about Michelle…

Michelle has been living with plastic a lot less (PALL) since 2008, it wasn’t always easy #BeingPALL. At that time, only a handful of people had woken up to plastic pollution and were doing something positive and solution focused – Michelle was one of them. Despite having struggled with writing and it taking over six years for her to find the confidence to write a blog, she’s now putting her 10 years of experience into a book so she can inspire the next generation!

One of many stunning illustrations by Create’eve Illustration based in Cornwall.

Never one to shy away from an opportunity

Michelle brings fun into preventing plastic pollution. She’s also known as Hydro Harriet, the Mermaid with a Message, and isn’t afraid to sit on a toilet with her knickers down in the high street to raise awareness of the issue of plastic flushed down our loos. She’s managed to turn a serious issue into something that children will engage with and we couldn’t be prouder!

Inspiring and hopeful, Seb and Polly Planet brings to life the difference one person can make by saying no to single-use plastic. An empowering, practical and fun read that will help readers grasp just how important they are and how their actions really can change the world.


A book for everyone

Seb and Polly Planet book will appeal to parents, carers, grandparents, aunties and uncles, eco-schools, educators, community groups, and anyone interested in plastic pollution and environmental issues, who want to empower children to make good choices. Who doesn’t like a good rollicking superhero story?!


Michelle’s crowdfunding…

Launching with a pre-order of the book via Crowdfunder , Michelle hopes to raise the funds to get this book on the shelves for more children to be inspired by.

Proceeds from the sale of Seb and Polly Planet and their Ocean Quest will be donated to a number of organisations preventing plastic pollution. Naturally, City To Sea will be one of the beneficiaries alongside the brilliant Plastic Oceans, UK, founded by Jo Ruxton and widely known for their multi-award-winning film on Netflix, and Plastic Free July founded by Rebecca Pruiz which has encouraged millions of individuals to commit to reducing their plastic use, in over 170 countries worldwide.

We’ve ordered our copies, now you can pre-order yours via crowdfunder, to get this book and it’s timely message into the hands of children and their carers everywhere.

A funny, heart-warming story of a little girl discovering that her actions make a difference to the lives of the beautiful birds and animals that live in our oceans. This hopeful book shows children (and their parents and teachers!) how they can save marine wildlife by making different everyday choices to stem the flow of plastic pollution going into the sea. I can’t wait to buy it for all the children in my life!

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Refill at the Responsible Investor Europe Conference

Over the next couple of days, our sustainability investing partner of City to Sea and supporting partner of Refill, Robeco along with 900 other corporate and investment professionals from around the world will attend the Responsible Investor Europe Conference. The aim is to talk about the impact of the European action plan for sustainable finance on companies and their investors. Big business has the power to make real sustainable change.

Who’s there?

Sir Ed David MP and one of the two shortlisted new Liberal Democrat leader will talk about why investors should embrace radical transparency rules to align with the Paris Agreement. And some of the biggest debates will be had on how to invest to support the United Nations SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals).

Delegates will also be looking at how to get tech giants to start being more responsible corporate citizens – a real challenge. Along with investigating the effectiveness of engaging with companies to improve their climate impact.

What are Robeco doing?

Robeco has been involved in this conference to drive sustainability in investing since it began in 2008, less than 150 attended that year. This year over 900 will attend. A testament to the fact that this subject is important and business is realising that they have the power to make real change.

Bringing Refill to the conference

Robeco will be installing water Refill Stations and at this year’s conference, meaning there will be no plastic water bottles, reducing the amount of single-use plastic there. And with help from AQL on their tech, they’ll be able to monitor how much water is used and how many bottles are saved from going into landfill! The organisers have asked our very own Natalie Fee to join the gala dinner and address the audience with her heartfelt plea for the environment and asking those in the room what they plan to do to make real change. The influence and power in that room is huge and the world has high expectations.

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