Cornish sand between their toes
This weekend some of the most powerful leaders in the world meet to discuss some of the most important problems in the world in one of the most beautiful parts of this country. There’s no shortage of items on the G7 agenda – all of them inextricably linked. Climate emergency. Covid vaccine equality. Chinese economic dominance. Russian attacks on digital security. The difficulty of controlling corporate giants. UK-EU-US relations. Migration control. That’s just for breakfast!
We have spent a good many happy holidays in Cornwall not far from the Carbis Bay venue. Last year we went again, this time to Falmouth - now the media hub for this weekend’s events. We know well the potential of the place to refresh, restore and heal. A walk along the coastal path facing the elements – which can change enormously and fast – can somehow bring perspective and lend balance. Even sealed off as they are from the real world in their security bubble, we hope that some of the world leaders may imbibe just some of the magic and allow it to take hold of their spirits.
We hope they will gaze at the vapour trails at sunset over the Atlantic and recognise the fragile state of our ecosystem.
We hope they will watch the powerful Atlantic waves crashing against the cliffs. Maybe they will recognise the potential for destruction in the waves they make on the world political and economic scene.
We hope that maybe some of them will take a moment to gaze out at the vastness of the Cornish sky. Maybe they will recognise that their place in the scheme of things however significant is quite small.
We hope (though we’re not optimistic!) that they will get the chance to enjoy the beach at Carbis Bay - not just for photo calls but for the pleasure of getting the sand between their toes. It's a great earthing experience! Maybe they will recognise that all the people they lead, the many, not just the few, need building into strong, coherent societies not sandcastles to be swept away by the tide.
We hope they will realise that, in order for their meeting to take place, ordinary people, some of them otherwise homeless, have been denied accommodation throughout Cornwall to make way for the extra police, the security details, the press and all the rest of the circuses that accompany them.
And yet also....
We hope we will recognise that it is not simply down to these larger-than-life figures to settle the world’s emergencies.
We hope that we will not choose to be ignorant of the huge significance of their world-changing conversations.
We hope that we will not dismiss them en masse as self-interested politicians always - only on the make.
We hope that we will get the sand of other people’s interests between our toes and feel the earthy perspective it offers.
We hope that we will take a serious look at our own consumption patterns and wonder whether we don’t absorb more than our fair share.
We hope that we will recognise and accept that when the G7 make decisions for equality, somebody else’s gain may be our loss.
We hope that we too, will take some time to wander and wonder - to gaze at a sunset or a dragonfly.
And amid such serious reflection…
We hope that they and we will find time to eat a real Cornish cream tea!