Our regular monthly meeting date occurred this month while the XR ‘October Rebellion’ event was still under way in London, with a few of our number remaining there. Amongst the twenty three or so present were some visitors from elsewhere in the county, contributing some interesting perspectives on Shaftesbury’s approach and offering the beginnings of at least one county wide initiative (see below).
The meeting began with an opportunity to reflect on Planet Shaftesbury’s activities and achievements since its XR inspired origin just under a year ago. Those present were invited to contribute to a ‘timeline’, listing not only events but perceptual observations of the PS network’s effects both on ourselves as members and on other people in Shaftesbury and the surrounding area. We hope this timeline can become an interactive feature on the PS website, enabling further detail to be added to the framework.
The regular news-exchange followed:
Petition re: fossil fuel extraction requirement in UK gov’t’s 2015 ‘Infrastructure Act’ still inadequately signed. It was noted that our MP, Simon Hoare, claims the legislative stipulation on this is ‘in abeyance’, but at this stage we should continue to support the petition in any way we can. (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/259116 )
Arthur drew attention to other petitions highlighted on PS website’s forum pages, including one on aviation fuel subsidies. (https://www.planetshaftesbury.org/forum/general-discussions/click-on-this-petition)
Christina drew attention to her PS website blog on public meeting with S Hoare the previous week and a Dorset Wildlife Trust talk on Surfers Against Sewage coming up in Sherborne on 20th Nov, see PS Events page. (https://www.planetshaftesbury.org/event-details/surfers-against-sewage-talk-in-sherborne)
Mention of Wimborne Green Fair (now passed) and Marnhull Eco Day. (now passed - see Christina's blog for full account of this)
Mention of recent XR talk given in Exeter to architects and subsequent vote in favour of legislation requiring ecological consideration in all forthcoming building projects.
Mention of recent talk by reps of Dorset Waste Partnership in which those attending were told that the bulk of Dorset waste now goes to North Wales for recycling, and only a selected small proportion going overseas. DWP reps also willing to give a talk to PS if requested.
Laura (from Telfont) provided a reminder of forthcoming talk ‘Saving Forests & Our Future’ in Tisbury this November (see PS Events page – online tickets from Eventbrite no longer available but Laura said to contact her) and informed meeting about Positive Nature organisation in which she is involved. (https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/saving-forests-and-our-future-tickets-67225191357)
Sue requested help with Tree Group’s ‘Town Tree Plan’ initiative – people required to suggest locations, find suitable trees and help with planting. Also mentioned B Ede Shafts Tree Talk at Arts Centre (30th Oct); Apple Day (now passed); Tree Group tote bags to be available at Plastics Free shop before Xmas and Dorset Wood Hub ‘Woodworking for Wellbeing’ sessions near Bridport (https://www.facebook.com/events/dt6-3jp/wood-works-for-wellbeing/489482525143501/).
Mention of delay in initiation of Town Council’s Climate Emergency advisory group, hoped for now in November. Contact Rachel if interested in participating.
Forthcoming PS meetings: 21 November – monthly meeting, reflection on XR October Rebellion in London; 28 November – ‘Facing the Future: Ecological Challenges for Local Farmers & Landowners’ panel discussion; 19 December – festive? ; organisational meeting for those interested in PS structure / process – date to be arranged.
Chris Monks, involved in XR groups in Wimborne, Bournemouth and Purbeck, spoke of developing potentially useful links across the entire county. Local groups, he observed, are often short of people/resources. A pooling between groups when taking action would have enhancing effect. He also mentioned the whole concern about the climate emergency as it relates to our wellbeing and broader lifestyles. He is trying to organise a meeting between reps from all groups, in Poole, and a date has been set: November 22nd, starting at 6pm. In a subsequent message he adds:
‘To be clear, it will be the perfect forum to discuss feelings about ways forward and to pitch them to motivated XR members all across Dorset. For example, I will be pitching the development of music and street theatre and possibly other groups spanning the various local XR groups in Dorset who can develop acts and repertoires that they can then tour around to different actions throughout Dorset, possibly build up to a Dorset XR festival next year, before taking it all up to London next time. We will obviously have limited time as we'll want to network and discuss things. Also, if it feels applicable, we may want to have a people's assembly on some of the ideas for moving forward. From it I am hoping to connect people better so they can share their skills and keep the momentum moving forward by actually meeting each other and forming friendships. It would be brilliant if a common clarity of purpose also emerged from it.’
Remainder of meeting developed into a discussion of relationship between XR protest and the style of local action practiced by Planet Shaftesbury (with links back to the ‘Transition Town’ initiative from some years ago). General agreement of necessity for linkage at all ‘levels’ of action: local action that is perceived as beneficial to the community giving credibility to pressure group activity at ‘top’ level.
(Thanks to Christina for checking these notes over and for additional items.)