This meeting was based in large part around the One Planet Living initiative and its ‘ten simple principles that make it easy to plan, deliver and communicate your commitment to sustainability’. These can be found at www.bioregional.com/oneplanetliving and were looked at and discussed in small groups before the announcements/information exchange portion of the meeting. Updates and presentations followed, also focussing on some of the ten principles.
Announcements and information exchange included a contribution from a member of Shaftesbury’s Chamber of Commerce re: the idea put forward at PS’ last meeting to set up a local directory of retailers and services operating according to eco/sustainable principles. The CoC are considering this, but will require help from PS members in gathering information. With regard to Fair Trade, Shaftesbury has been a ‘Fair Trade Town’ since 2008, and a directory of local firms supplying Fair Trade products – it was pointed out – is regularly updated. See www.shaftesburyfairtrade.org.uk for more information.
Issues raised and discussed included (under the ‘Zero Waste’ principle) the necessity to lobby town councillors to consider the proposal by Plastics Free Shaftesbury (re: disposable plastics – see PS projects page) without delay at their next meeting. Also to support Helen English’s petition to Tesco re: plastic gloves (see Helen’s forum post ‘Single-Use Plastic Gloves…’ or call her on 07789845498) and to support local TerraCycling initiatives (some info about this on the ‘Next Door’ website).
Under the ‘Land and nature’ principle, there was discussion around local green spaces policy. One discussion centred on grass cutting and the need for policies that take seemingly opposing principles into account, allowing grass to remain uncut to promote growth of meadow-type species but in some places cutting it to promote growth of species that fare better on cut grass and enable ‘bee-lanes’ to exist.
Following an outline read to the meeting, the proposal to plant 2000 trees in Shaftesbury generated a lively discussion.
The suggestion regarding ‘carbon offsetting’ by local car owners (either by tree planting in their gardens, or financial donation to the initiative) was not welcomed by many – on the grounds of doubts regarding assuaging guilt; the greater sense of positivity associated with ideas such as crowdfunding; and equity issues around who amongst us owns the land-space to plant trees and/or has funds to pay.
Much of the discussion centred around the necessity for ongoing maintenance of trees planted – who holds responsibility for it, how young trees are protected etc.
Another point raised was regarding the species of trees planted. Whilst there is a good deal of received wisdom about what to plant available, climate change may well require us to revise this. In addition it was suggested, ‘productive’ trees such as fruit trees would be a desirable inclusion.
Disease resistance was a further consideration raised – with suggestions to seek advice on this issue from bodies such as the Woodland Trust and/or council groundsmen, Stourhead’s head gardener or even Alan Titchmarsh.
It was suggested that the initiative should recruit and involve young people in the tree planting to promote a sense of collective ownership and support amongst upcoming generations.
The meeting was then given a presentation by Shaftesbury’s ‘Sustainability Champion’ Jenny Morisetti on sustainable and healthy homes. This focussed extensively on the refurbishment of older buildings and ‘retro-fitting’, offering practical advice on materials and methods. She also offered information on pollutants in the home. PS is grateful to Jenny for her time and input. She can be reached online at www.sustainabledorset.org/shaftesbury/
Finally the meeting received an update on local Extinction Rebellion activities, details of which are available here on the Projects and Events pages and in the Planet Shaftesbury newsletter. And a communication was passed on from Charles Miller, who would like the talk he gave us earlier this year to be made more accessible. He is calling on people to join him to learn how to give the talk, and participate in research to update the ‘frackogram’ (see below – talk dated 4-4-19).