|Christian Ecology Link|
|CEL home > Links + Internat >||Oct 2005|
Churches Together in Cumbria
Social Responsibility Forum
Going for Green:
Sustainable Communities Conference - St Thomas Church Kendal - 8 Oct 2005
These are just two of the points that Judith Allinson, CEL's Web Editor, a visitor at the conference, picked up at the conference in Cumbria. She continues describing more events of the day:
The progress of each of The four pilot communities of the Cumbria Sustainable Communities, since starting about 10 months ago was inspiring. It was very exciting to hear about the progress of these projects which had only just started - but which have definitely started - a bit like seeing a ten month old child crawling and exploring, with great potential.
Dr John John Biggs of the Churches Together in Cumbria described how the project had started and how they had looked for well-defined groups in small communities to get it started but how it had become a partnership between various organisations, how they had got grants and how it had grown. So now they had a paid officer, Richard Suddaby to help. Richard then introduced speakers form each of the groups.
Arthur Street (with 65 houses) in Penrith;
Esthwaite Green Link Hawkshead, a fifth group had seen what was going on and started too.
Cumbria County Library Service has made a special book collection "Understanding the Environment Crisis" and had a display of these books at the conference - Use them!
I attended two workshops from a section from the list given in the programme: Biodiversity and Campaigning for Environment Issues.
The first, Biodiversity was led by David Muir who worked on "Wealth of Wildlife" and is employed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust.
He pointed out that half of Britain's natterjack toads live on the West Coast of Cumbria. He explained that the word "Biodiversity" had become important after the Biodiversity Convention had been signed in Rio, and that he has been involved with Cumbria Biodiversity Action Plan. It gave me an opportunity to mention Sean McDonagh's book on species extinctions (and the church) I would like to have mentioned the "Yorkshire - Craven outside the National Park" Biodiversity action plan - an adjacent area which is currently being written.
Phil Davis's workshop on Campaigning about the environment was excellent. He said we need to counter the subtle "Campaigning" we are subject to everyday in advertising and media. I made notes on his talk - but to give them here would be giving away his secrets.. so if you live in Cumbria get him to come and run a workshop for you. He works for Eden LA21.
One thing he reminded us - that people when looking at displays spend 6- 10 seconds on average looking at a display. He talked of ways of engaging people.
I was pleased that two people looked at the CEL display stand I had made and which I have mentioned before in the CEL bulletin, and delighted that both had thought about/tried making one. It involves reusing two cardboard boxes and enables a good number of leaflets to be displyed in a small area. I have now put the instructions on the website
Ecological footprints - During the coffee breaks we had a very simple questionnaire to fill in and were invited to use posters displayed in several parts of the building to calculate our ecological footprint. Although somewhat over simple, the results were revealing - My score indicated we should need two and a half worlds if everyone lived at my lifestyle - and I think other people were shocked by their personal scores too.
Two overheard comments:
"I did not realise that flying used up so much energy"
"How can we take this conference back to the churches? We here are mostly the 'converted' (to eco things)
Perhaps just by telling others some of the things Bishop Oliver told us- so I will finish with a few of the points in John Oliver's talk:
He said we should be active at all levels:
-So readers - are you been active at all these levels? - If not why not write a letter to your MEP/local Newspaper on some topic? - e.g. encourage the European Community to have an airline Fuel tax? (He pointed out good things that the European Community has done - the EU Birds directive of 1979, The Habitats Directive of 1992, so all countries are sorting out Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), though no country has made a complete list yet.
On a national level he said that we do not have a realistic energy policy -- by 2030 Britain will be 80% dependent on imported gas. We need distributive generation - local schemes. and a policy on Biofuels.
On a Regional level he praised the work of the Marches Energy Agency, sponsored by Shropshire County Council.
On a local level he recommended Myer Hilman's book "How to save the planet"
Copyright © 2012 Christian Ecology Link and Judith Allinson http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk
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