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Planet Shaftesbury –6 June, 2019

This meeting was set up outside the regular cycle of PS meetings to build on work undertaken on 16th May, in which we began to look at ‘tensions’ amongst network members. It was attended by a small group, but worked to resolve a number of issues around the way PS runs.

Before the main business of the session, having read through and made some notes on the flipchart sheets from the last regular meeting, I was invited to summarise them. I listed comments and suggestions that had occurred most frequently.

  • With regard to wellbeing and support, there were eight references expressing favourable views of PS meetings/activities as an opportunity to meet and make connections with like-minded people.

  • There were four references to the desirability of creating a directory of people involved in the network, their skills and areas of interest. Another three were to the idea of a directory of local shops selling ‘eco-friendly’ products, and also to the idea of an eco-awards event/system for local businesses.

  • Five references to desire for more events like the ‘Critical Mass’ march/cycle ride – some with a view to making these occur on a regular basis.

  • Placards with messages re: climate breakdown to go in people’s front gardens were referred to four times, as were expressions of interest in setting up a celebratory event with music etc.

  • Three references each to desire for more in the way of mutually supportive get-togethers (hopefully Ellie’s coffee meetups will fulfil this one), and three mentioning the ‘buddy’ing approach to mutual support.

  • Finally there was a wealth of individual ideas and suggestions, including regular participation by PS members in local community events. There was a general sense, I think, that what we have done so far has been Shaftesbury appropriate, and enhanced attenders’ sense of positivity and empowerment.

What followed was an attempt to voice ‘tensions’ and then through debate to arrive at proposals for changes to the PS set-up that would provide resolutions to them. Those identified were around communication; getting to know one another; identifying skills; motivation; projects; a support network; ‘examples of requirements’ and formulating a mission statement. As this agenda was worked through it became clear that there was a great deal of overlap – so some of the proposals that were formulated cover more than one item. Once each proposal was formulated, those present were invited to comment in favour of or against each of them, which sometimes led us to make modifications, before they were minuted.

The minuted proposals will be posted on the website when written up. They will include some regular procedures to be followed at our meetings and the creation of a ‘flow chart’ to enable those who approach PS with ideas for activities to get the best support to make them happen.

Those of us present came away with a feeling that, once instigated, there will be greater clarity regarding Planet Shaftesbury’s role as a network for individuals and groups seeking not only to contribute to the campaigns initiated by Extinction Rebellion, but to establish more sound ecological and ethical practice in Shaftesbury and the surrounding area.

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