“Our vision for Cornwall is a place where the recovery and growth of the natural environment are at the heart of a flourishing zero carbon economy.”
Below you will find:
• Examples of existing work in Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Examples of existing work outside of Cornwall addressing the theme.
• Proposals of how work in this thematic area might be developed and expanded.
Existing Works in Cornwall
Green Church Kernow
The Anglican and Methodist Environment Group (AMEG) has invited churches of all denominations in Cornwall to embrace the recommendations of the environment Group and work towards achieving status as a Green Church Kernow through a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award.
The award scheme is broken up into three distinct sections of Christian Living, Community and Resources to help church communities feel empowered to make small steps that are designed to cost little or nothing to implement.
A large part of this scheme is also to encourage Christian faith communities to understand the theological implications of not caring for the environment to ensure sustainability of the vision. To date there are 41 church’s that have signed up to the scheme with more following and starting to put implications in place to become part of the Green Church Kernow movement.
Born out St Agnes, Finisterre is dedicated to the ethos of creating functional but sustainable clothing that is committed to product, the environment and people. Since the beginning Finisterre have taken a pioneering approach to making better and sustainable products, challenging and innovating, seeking alternatives to what has gone before.
B Corps – Finisterre are a certified B Corps company. This means they are committed to prioritising the environment and society in the way they do business through their positive impact report. Finisterre were the first outdoor clothing company in the UK to become B Corp certified.
Leave no trace packaging – Finisterre is committed to eradicating single use, non-degradable plastic as packaging, and has done this through making water soluble, recyclable and biodegradable bags that break down harmlessly into non-toxic biomass in soil and sea.
Finisterre repairs – Finisterre offer affordable repairs on their clothing and wetsuits so they last longer.
Factories of Finisterre – the supply chain is completely transparent, holding their partners to the same high standards they have for themselves.
Supplier Code of Conduct – Finisterre also have a supplier code of conduct to ensure high quality and sustainability. This means that their suppliers need to agree to their code of conduct, which includes:
1. No child labour
2. Employment is freely chosen
3. Freedom of association and employee representation
4. No discrimination
5. Wages and Benefits of employment
6. Hours of work and regular employment
8. Health and safety
11. Anti-Slavery and Trafficking
Green Infrastructure for Growth – Making Space For Nature
Communities in seven Cornish towns have better green spaces because of this project. Cornwall Council has transformed 40 hectares of urban open space making space for nature from unexciting grassy spaces. The three-year scheme brought 31 areas to seven towns. The total are equal to 40 rugby pitches.
The project received £2.8m from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. Cornwall Council and University of Exeter provided match funding.
The project delivered practical solutions guided by the Environmental Growth strategy. The approach was to invite residents to take part in activities in the enriched green spaces. This can be applied to other projects, because everybody needs to learn the skills to boost biodiversity. It can be replicated through holding events including picnic and paint, bulb planting, seed bomb making and BioBlitz.
Barriers to success are not having dedicated personnel hours to nurture these community activities, so further resource is needed.
Carbon Logic Project from Climate Vision
Aiming to address climate change through innovative ways to get people with differing opinions, on the same page, regarding the fundamentals of mitigation and adaptation. The 10 pledges nudge engagement with the issues using different words, stories and experiences and give practical ideas of how to lower emissions.
The tried and tested storytelling and ‘example-setting’ approach has provided long term behavioural change. This can be applied to other projects, because everybody needs to learn the reasons why they need to change and how. People can trust and enjoy the tried and tested baby steps, to become innovative and move onto other things relevant to the individual.
The ten pledges are:
1. I pledge to ring my electricity supplier over the next 24 hours and see if I can switch to green energy (if not I will find one)!
2. I pledge to buy local seasonal produce as much as possible – starting with at least 2 meals a week.
3.I pledge to educate myself about the science and impacts of climate change.
4. I pledge to contact my MP and my friends and make these pledges too.
5. I pledge to walk, cycle, use public transport or register with https://liftshare.com/ 08700 111199 to travel to work or regular journey at least once a week.
6. I pledge to work out my own carbon footprint using one of the many easy to use carbon calculators.
7. I pledge to find out how I can save energy in my home with https://energysavingtrust.org.uk
8. I pledge to turn my thermostat down or use a thermometer to reach the lowest comfortable temperature, typically between 18-21°C & think about putting on a jumper instead.
9. I pledge to reduce my holiday air miles by 50%.
10. I pledge to research/google ‘Driving in a greener way’ or book a driving lesson to learn reduced-emission driving techniques (called eco-safe driving by the DVSA).
Existing Works Outside of Cornwall
Nicky Scott Composting
In the early 1990’s Nicky Scott helped set up the first community composting project in Devon which developed not only composting, but also a market garden, a community shop and has now grown into a community business called ‘Proper Job’.
Working with Devon local authorities and as a director of Proper Job, Nicky created books and films on ‘How to Make and Use Compost’ producing the ‘Ultimate Guide’, for many audiences to use in their own time. He also holds workshops and speaks at universities, schools, conferences and seminars.
Nicky Scott has been fascinated with composting since his school days and subsequently on his composting business. He studied organic growing at the Henry Doubleday Research Association, now called Garden Organic, and subsequently set up a market garden in Devon. His inner passion is clear and infectious.
Transition Town Totnes
This is a community led and run local charity that exists to strengthen the local economy, reduce environmental impact and build resilience for the future.
Their work includes increasing low impact affordable housing, sharing skills, creating livelihoods, reducing energy costs and carbon emissions, growing local the local food economy and working in partnership with other local projects.
Two key examples of what the project has done to help cut their impact on climate change are:
Transition Homes – A community land trust was created to build 31 eco – homes in the Dartington Parish . 70% of these homes are affordable homes that can be used as rented or shared ownership for local people.
Transition Streets – In 2009 the project Transition Streets was created to enable groups of neighbourhoods to come together for a series of meetings to support one another to take action to reduce household carbon emissions. This led to nearly 500 homes locally making savings of 1.3 tonnes CO2 per year, saving each home over £500 a year.
One Planet Council – Wales
The One Planet Council is an independent voluntary body supporting One Planet Development in Wales and beyond.
We provide a bridge between applicants and local planning authorities, with guidance and tools to support anyone making the transition to this more sustainable way of life. We also work with those who have already made that leap, with policymakers, academics and landowners.
Broadly representative, the council comprises people from all walks of life, including specialists with knowledge and experience in related areas of planning, building, farming, land-management, climate science, self-employment, economics and well-being. All are welcome.
This creates low impact homes, sustainable livelihoods, affordable housing, increased land productivity, enhances biodiversity, sustainable transport, measurable footprints, efficient use of natural resources, strong distinctive communities and is good for the planet.
Proposals for Future Work
Promote Carbon Logic with a Climate Vision Toolkit
To advance the objective of this theme it would be important to enable people to have a personally led, improved understanding of the climate and the need for resilience. In turn this will lead to better understand and provoke action to cutting carbon emissions and importantly, after this crucial foundational work, move onto greater innovation.
The aims of our theme be met in Cornwall by offering all communities a suitable simple toolkit, to follow, to alleviate the barrier to emissions being cut. The toolkit will enable the 10 pledges to be used to their full potential, for greater effect providing long lasting changes in behaviours.
People need to be able to access a clear single side A4 toolkit and the toolkit needs to provide easy access to the ten pledges. It will also be a good idea to have very short film introducing the toolkit.
Once people have used the toolkit, they might like to publicly share 4-5 sentences with a photo, to their own audiences. This will encourage others to take part.
There will be a number of practical considerations, such as costings:
1. Film – £300
2. Publicity – £100
3. Artwork – FREE
4. The ten pledges – FREE
5. Project Manager to organise toolkit – £500
6. Hosting/IT fees – £50.00
The 10 pledges have achieved their aims by promoting engagement with the issues of climate change using different words, stories and experiences and providing practical tasks about carbon emissions and resilience. Activism takes coaxing and nudging, and this is a tried and tested way to do it.
Hold Large Companies to Account, Not Just Individuals
A lot of discussion about climate change focuses on lifestyle changes that individual people can make. While these are incredibly important and do have a place, a recently published report identified that 100 energy companies have been responsible for 71% of all industrial emissions since human-driven climate change was officially recognized.
And it’s not just the energy or fossil fuel sector. According to the numbers, the top fifteen food and beverage companies generate nearly 630 million metric tons of greenhouse gases every year.
By changing consumption patterns on a large scale we might be able to influence companies to change their production patterns to more sustainable methods. However, only focusing on how individual people can fight climate change lets these big corporations off the hook.
The rhetoric of individual action, which suggests that we make more sustainable consumer choices like getting rid of plastic straws, suggests an individual solution for a wider structural problem. Businesses and governments themselves also need to take responsibility for curbing emissions, and not just blame the consumers that buy these products.
These companies are responsible for lobbying in favour of the carbon economy and for profiting from the death of our planet. Alongside campaigning for individual action, we must lobby and campaign for structural changes to the organisation of our society and for the companies that shape consumer behaviour to be held to account.
More disabled electric charging bays – A Proposal from disAbility Cornwall
More disabled electric charging bays in public car parks to encourage and enable ease of use and promoting a low carbon alternative option which disabled persons can use without struggling to access.
I believe this is already being planned out but input on areas where these would be most beneficial and give widest access to areas which are currently inaccessible would be most beneficial.
In place with possible grants or future vehicles for hire etc to be moving towards electric or hybrid at affordable prices.
Cornwall Council to commission the creation of an annual Citizens Assembly on Climate Change
The proposed Citizens Assembly on Climate Change would be composed of 40 local people randomly selected to reflect the demographic make-up of Cornwall.
They would use the Doughnut Economics Model as a framework to structure their discussions and the outcome of their deliberations would be a report with recommendations that will cover one or more of the following
– Review progress made towards zero carbon Cornwall, identify obstacles and make recommendations
– Review progress made by other key agencies such as South West Water to address pollution, promote biodiversity and reduce their carbon footprint
– Engage and challenge our MPs on progress made by this government on its Green agenda highlighting the gulf between rhetoric and reality
– Recommend additional legislative rights and powers required by Cornwall Council to facilitate a just and sustainable transition to a low carbon economy (devolution)
The lead organisation is the Cornish Constitutional Convention and they will seek to enlist the support of Cornwall Council, Cornwall Voluntary Sector Forum, Volunteer Cornwall, and Cornwall Council among others.
For more detail, see the full document here.
Proposals from Anthea Lovelock
Stop Bonfires in Cornwall and beyond
Bonfires are: Bad for the atmosphere, Disastrous for small creatures and insects, Break the food chain and Neighbours do not like them either. We should legislate to stop them.
But: What to do with woody garden waste?
– Leave in piles to increases biodiversity in your garden
– Or chip into a large compost heap
– Or bury in Hugelkulture beds to feed your crops.
Increase cycle and walking routes
Enable us to live more healthily
– Reduce traffic fumes and noise
– Encourage us to exercise safely for leisure AND travel to work.
One new walking and cycling route might use the abandoned railway viaduct pillars to enable people to cross Truro on the level, safely and away from the city centre.
Caring for Cornwall’s Distinct Natural Environment
I would like to see Cornwall Council expressly commit to support projects which seek to care for Cornwall’s distinctive and significant natural environment, such as the planned British Divers Marine Life Rescue seal hospital at Summercourt.
Rt Revd Philip Mounstephen
Bishop of Truro