This was the sustainability group’s starting point:
The Canterbury Commitment (Minute 36) affirms: “The action we are ready to take at this time is to make a strong corporate commitment to become a low-carbon sustainable community.”
Concern over the issues of sustainability, climate change and the environment has been ongoing for a number of years. Such concern has been characterised among the population in general, and to some extent among Friends, as being limited to a relatively small group of people. If Friends wish to act in accordance with the Canterbury Commitment a much larger proportion of members and attenders must become actively involved.
One way of engaging with people and establishing the true state of affairs within the Meeting would be to conduct a series of one-to-one discussions, either directly or over the telephone, covering the attached set of questions. Individual views and answers would be treated as confidential and only used in combination to establish a general picture. There would be absolutely no intention of blaming people for the stance they had taken or were taking on these issues. The exercise would merely be intended to acquire a solid basis of fact on which future actions could be planned.
Do you attach importance to the issue of sustainability and the need to reduce your carbon footprint? How would you rank your response from ‘unimportant’ to ‘highly important’?
Have you taken steps in the last few years to reduce your energy consumption and live more sustainability? Can you quantify any changes?
What factors have inhibited you from taking steps or preventing you from taking additional measures now?
Would you be able to do more if provided with advice and support and, if so, what kind?
Summary of responses to sustainability questionnaire:
In the autumn of 2012 the sustainability group approached members of the meeting on an individual basis to canvas their views on becoming a low-carbon sustainable community (minute 36). These interviews used a short questionnaire (see above) as a focus for this discussion.
The meeting has approximatively 64 members or attenders; of this figure 39 were interviewed.
Of the 39 responses to Question 1, 23 thought the issue of sustainability highly important.
In Question 2 there were many illustrations as to how individuals had reduced their carbon footprint. These included improving the fuel efficiency of the home through such things as double-glazing, insulation, solar panels and wood-burning stoves. Outside the home using fuel-efficient cars, restricting private journeys or using public transport were cited. The majority of respondents re-cycled and re-used were possible. Only two respondents had quantified their changes.
For Question 3, cost, lack of political will, poor public transport in rural areas, and a reluctance to make major changes to lifestyle were identified as inhibiting factors.
Finally for Question 4 there were 24 responses, of which 6 stated they did not need any further information. Of the remainder some kind of advice or support relating to probable new technologies would be welcomed.
In conclusion this survey indicates that sustainability is an important issue to the members of this meeting, and that many members at Ludlow already make significant efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. There are significant challenges to further reductions, notably the lack of commitment in government, the costs of further changes and the challenge of living in a sustainable way in a rural county.
The sustainability group would like to thank all of the participants who gave freely of their time. In the coming months the sustainability group will look to identify small achievable changes we might make, helping us all reduce our carbon footprint further.