This meeting began on a positive note with the news that, at its opening meeting that same day, the new Dorset Council – at the instigation of Green, Lib-Dem and Labour councillors – had declared a Climate Emergency. As Planet Shaftesbury’s petition states, the declaration must be followed up by prioritising action with regard to climate breakdown. So this is just a start on the part of our elected representatives in this county, but it’s a good one.
The announcements portion of our meeting was a particularly productive one, over twenty of those present had news to impart or points to raise. Here is a summary of what I managed to jot at the time. Anyone whose info is not adequately included below, particularly regarding events to come over the next month or two, please fill in the gaps via the website forum, or send details to PlanetShaftesburyContent@gmail.com.
Plastics Free Shaftesbury now registered with the Surfers Against Sewage organisation (www.sas.org.uk/plastic-free-communities/). Will seek to gain town council support as a first step.
A mass demonstration on Climate Breakdown to take place in Bristol, June 1st – PS members invited to participate. (www.facebook.com/XRBristol/ - see: ‘Disrupt the Circus of Excess!’)
Wimborne ‘Win on Waste’ library project described, monthly day events in which public invited to bring waste usable by charities . (www.ideas2action.org.uk/win-on-waste-wimborne/)
Dorset action group ‘Don’t Inflate to Celebrate’ - campaigning to cease use of helium balloons – to show film ‘Rubber Jellyfish’ at these venues: Charmouth 8th June, Kimmeridge on 9th June. Tickets/info: www.waveofchange.uk.
Planet Shaftesbury invited to participate in Civic Society’s ‘Civic Day’ on June 12th. Diana has volunteered to speak about PS at their AGM that evening, and PS will run a stall (set-up: 9am – ‘til 1pm – volunteers to help staff it requested, email PlanetShafts if you can spare some time for this).
A mass lobby on Climate Breakdown – with emphasis on the food system - to take place in London on 26th June. Group from PS to go – contact PS if you’re interested to help organise and participate in this. (www.sustainweb.org/news/apr19_climate_lobby26june/).
Though delayed in starting, those interested in forming permaculture group invited to a workshop day at Threshold Centre Cohousing Community, Gillingham, on Saturday 20th July. (www.thresholdcentre.org.uk/events-1/2019/7/20/permaculture-at-threshold)
An XR introductory talk to take place in Gillingham. Details to be passed on when arranged.
Dorset Community Energy to re-open share options in June. Launch date to be announced. (www.dorsetcommunityenergy.org.uk/news/)
‘Standing Local Activism’ – a form of awareness raising action where an individual, with placard, stands in a public place engaging with passers-by – was commended as an option to the group.
Port Regis school applying for Eco-School status – more detail on this to be supplied to PS website. Other local Eco-Schools mentioned.
A couple of PS members are developing a leaflet for distribution, following on from the excellent initial version devised for the Critical Mass demo.
Swifts have returned to Shaftesbury area, nesting boxes project under way (contact Sue Clifford, Trees Group, for further info).
PS members urged to maintain lobby of local MP Simon Hoare by raising Climate Breakdown issues at constituency meetings/surgeries.
‘Big Beautiful Bunting Co.’ offering banner workshops prior to events, and also organising a ‘sustainable fashion’ event in Shafts on Saturday 6th July in the town hall. Volunteers required to help dress the models. Get in touch with Georgie if you fancy getting involved at www.facebook.com/pg/bigbeaubunting/posts/
The planned activity for this meeting was a review of what we’ve learned about making Planet Shaftesbury a supportive network. In small groups around tables, participants attempted to describe the ways PS had supported them so far and what they might need in future through a sequence of set questions from different perspectives. Engaging with Extinction Rebellion. Making a difference locally. Maintaining our wellbeing. And finally, where changes could help individuals to be more effective, would those involve defining roles, establishing processes, or changing the format of monthly meetings.
Notes were made by participants on paper at each table and ideas from these I hope to summarise, when time allows. What follows here are notes I made during what had to be a brief whole-group closing session centred on our ‘tensions’ – defined for us as ‘an individual's awareness that something done differently by Planet Shaftesbury could enhance their personal effectiveness ‘. Each of these bullet points relates to a tension as described by one of the participants. Again, please add to these in comments section below this post, especially if you think I’ve missed something important to you.
PS urged to set up a meeting in Gillingham, to draw together potential support there. (Could this be tied in with the XR talk there, mentioned above?)
Need for greater and more regular sharing of information through the PS website (and through other methods of communication). Whatever actions you/your group are involved in, spread the word using these resources. This would make us more effective as a network and help projects to attract new supporters.
Need for increased and more regular activities to break PS out of ‘preaching to the converted’, to find ways to get more people involved. Suggestions included setting up workshops for sharing skills to enable people to live more sustainably; continuing to develop links with local businesses and causes; having a stall to spread info at public events such as market days, carnival, Gold Hill Fair, Shafts and Gillingham Shows. A suggested target: to do something of this nature at least once a month.
PS to offer more general help to people wishing to live sustainably – ideas that might be developed: a directory of best retail sources for sustainable food etc.; more user-advice and resource info on the website.
Lucy from Coconut and Cotton shop would appreciate PS rallying support for some actions she intends to set up, starting with a ‘Trash Mob’ event (which will take place in conjunction with work of Hilltop Litter Pickers).
PS members to link and offer mutual support in otherwise individual actions such as leaving plastic packaging materials on counter after purchases in supermarkets, perhaps on repeated and regular basis.
Suggestion of a regular Coffee Morning as a more relaxed venue than our meetings, where PS supporters can meet up and offer one another mutual support.
Employ concept of sharing ‘eco-wins’ for motivational support.
With regard to how PS runs itself, Rachel suggested following principles of ‘holacracy’ – idea that elements of bureaucracy in an organisation only necessary when there is a perceived need for them. This will emerge through resolving tensions, as defined above.
An additional meeting has been arranged for the benefit of those attending the session summarised here, and for regular PS members, to formulate the changes that will resolve identified tensions. This will be at the Town Hall on June 6th, 7.30 – 9.30.