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Planet Shaftesbury - 18-6-19


Photo: Neil Baird

The meeting began on a high note, with positive comments on XR/PS related events during Shaftesbury’s Fringe Festival earlier in the month. Both the ‘Raise Your Voice’ Sing-A-Long at Trinity Centre and the subsequent Funeral for Extinct Species march and die-in were deemed highly successful, and praised for bringing different groups together and enabling participation by children. Appreciation was also expressed to those who have travelled to London, Bristol and other locations to support XR actions in recent weeks.


Prior to the exchange of news there was a short session around tables, each picking up on one of the ten principles of one planet living (see blog for last meeting for more on this) and local activities that pertain to them. Some of these were returned to in the news exchange that followed. Items included:

  • News concerning the formation of Gillingham’s XR group in a recent meeting, with a second one scheduled for Thursday 25th July.

  • Still in Gillingham, the Town Council have voted to support the Dorset wide declaration of Climate Emergency and to set up a ‘green audit’ of their own practices as a first step towards action in support.

  • A ‘Happening in Shaftesbury’ hand out was shared with news of current activities/meetings of Tree group, Open Spaces and Dorset Wildlife Trust. Of particular interest, following last meeting’s discussion of the proposal to plant two thousand trees in Shaftesbury, was the news that landscape architect Richard Burden, has been approached to survey the town for suitable places to locate them. A ‘Town Tree Plan’ will be created and Mr Burden will give a talk at the Arts Centre on 30th October.

  • Helping hands still welcome for PS stall at Marnhull Flower Show (29.6), contact Maude if you can lend a hand.

  • Plastics Free Shaftesbury arranging a talk by a speaker from Wimborne War on Waste, possibly to occur at a future PS meeting. (For more on PFS, see closing section below.)

  • Details being finalised for the 3 day ‘pilgrimage’ walk to Studland to protest against the forthcoming instigation of offshore oil drilling there. Dates are September 27th-29th and further information to appear shortly.

  • At meeting next Tuesday (23rd) Shafts Town Council to discuss a proposed declaration of Climate Emergency (and hopefully then discuss how they will act in support of this), and also a proposal to give support to Plastics Free Shaftesbury. PS members, it is hoped, to attend this meeting.

A short video followed on the Dorset Community Energy share offer. Meetings now taking place to include Shaftesbury School amongst the 10 sites intended for installation of solar panelling.


The meeting divided into smaller groups for the final part of the evening, each centred on current initiatives that are or will be under way.


A biodiversity group discussion centred on the plan to create a wildlife garden as a display-piece in next year’s Shaftesbury and Gillingham Show. Some of those present will attend this year’s show to reconnoitre. Help has been offered by the proprietor of ‘The Potting Shed’ in Swan’s Yard and it is hoped to enlist support from Dorset Wildlife Trust. Further research on how best to set this up is under way.


Plastics Free Shaftesbury supporters, meanwhile, developed the idea of a ‘mass unwrap’ of packaging from purchases at Shaftesbury Tesco, over a two hour period, on an autumn date to be announced. The possibility of constructing some sort of (hopefully photogenic) sculpture from the discarded materials was discussed. A further meeting to explore this initiative to be announced in August. There is a possibility that this event could be tied in with an initiative to do the unwrap simultaneously at other supermarkets across our region or countrywide, if it gets under way. This would obviously maximise the publicity potential.


Two smaller groups discussed setting up a panel discussion on ‘challenges for local landowners and farmers’ convened by PS, and the Friends of Westminster Hospital initiative to fund electric vehicles to replace the current diesel vehicles of the Integrative Community Rehabilitation Team. The former discussion resolved to contact a potential chairperson and possible speakers. The latter looked at possible ways in which PS might support the fundraising, especially through the website, where a project page for the Friends is to be set up.


All in all, the two dozen or so people who got to this meeting covered quite a lot of ground. Keep an eye on this website’s events page for further developments.

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