30 January 2020

HUG workshop: What does sustainability mean for you?

Ham United Group (HUG) is one of the two local groups that I belong to. It is an umbrella organisation and in recent years my main involvement with it has been through the Friends of Ham Lands (FoHL) sub-group.

One of the reasons that I have not been as involved in recent years is simply the lack of free evenings with HUG meetings clashing with other things, notably theatre dates. Then things fell into place and I was able to get to a meeting and it was a good one to get to.

Previous meetings had been fairly formal round-the-table affairs with updates on each of the projects HUG manages and little conversation on each of them. This was a back-to-basics workshop, the first in a series to identify projects that HUG and individuals can undertake to improve sustainability locally.

In three rounds of discussion in small groups we covered sustainability from the perspective of ourselves, our community and our planet.

While some of this was obvious and some of it had been though about in depth by others before, e.g. the UN Development Goals, there were some new ideas and some specific things that we can develop in future meetings.

I was talking a lot, always a good sign (for me, at least) but I did manage to take a few scrambled notes. What follows is my attempt to make sense of them after the event.

There were common themes of what three things we would look for as individuals when moving to a new area, i.e. into a new community. There were the survival basics (shops, healthcare, schools,...), places to go (cafes, pubs, parks,...), things to do (churches, sport, clubs, allotments,...) and good transport (especially walking and cycling) to get to them. Meeting people was the big driver in finding things to do.

In looking at changing behaviours to make them more sustainably we could consider barriers, perceived and real; e.g. why do I drive?

Once we go beyond the individual we need organisations and rules to enable sustainability, e.g. someone needs to maintain the parks, provide the jobs and police the cars.

Already we are starting to find gaps that HUG could help to fill, e.g. to encourage more cycling by providing bicycle repairs, training, safe routes and a market for used bikes.

With meeting people identify as being a key requirement we could look to organise regular meet-ups in one or more of the local cafes (a moveable feast, sadly) or even help to support a community pub given that Ham will soon only have one having lost five or six in recent years.

Tree planting and better gardens were other ideas. Here HUG could provide advise and guidance to residents and potentially promote participation through competitions.

It was an encouraging start and I look forward to the next workshop.

No comments:

Post a comment

All comments are welcome. Comments are moderated only to keep out the spammers and all valid comments are published, even those that I disagree with!