About

Introduction

“Sustainable Girton” is a small village-based group, committed to developing local solutions to the important environmental problems which confront us today and which will have increasingly serious consequences for our children and grandchildren.

The effects of climate change, depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity etc all call for serious thinking on how to maintain a sustainable planet. New approaches are called for across a wide range of institutions � international; national and local government; businesses; local communities, households and individuals. Our concern is to be part of the local thinking and action that is so important.

Sustainable Girton aims to help Girton to become a Zero Waste, Carbon Neutral community by making use of renewable energy; conserving its natural environment; promoting education for sustainability; and encouraging a strong local economy, with local services & facilities.

Current activities

A village shredder to encourage home composting and reduce the amount of organic waste going to expensive waste-processing and landfill. Monthly shredding sessions have recently been helped through use of a heavy duty shredder loaned by the National Trust at Anglesey Abbey. We plan to offer a shredding service for Christmas trees after Twelfth Night in 2006.

The Girton electric float has been commissioned (thanks to generous grants from Girton Town Charity and CCORRN) to collect unwanted domestic items for re-use and recycling. We have made a first collection of unwanted tools for Tools for Self Reliance, and plan to have a “Green Father Christmas” collection early in the New Year for unwanted Christmas presents and no longer wanted items replaced by presents. The Float is a permanent advertisement for sustainability, has been on show at the Girton Feast, and is used for community transport eg shifting tables for community events.

The Project’s website (http://www.sustainable-girton.org.uk/) gives details about the project and also provides information on energy conservation and other practical steps towards sustainability which can be taken by individuals and householders. It is hoped to extend this activity by providing information and advice on how Girton residents can access low cost items (e.g. low energy light bulbs, insulating materials).
We were asked to support a feasibility study to examine options for alternative energy generation including solar and a wind turbine to provide energy for the Glebe School, sports pavilion, church buildings and other community uses. The feasibility report, paid for by S. Cambs District Council, can be seen on the project’s website.
A “Seed Swap” following a similar event held in February 2005, is planned for March 2006. Arising from the master composter programme, it will encourage the use of locally produced seeds and compost as part of sustainable gardening and vegetable growing.

How we work

Sustainable Girton has developed as individuals have come together to work on issues concerning composting, waste recycling and reuse, and alternative energy. In general, the way we work is by:

encouraging and developing sustainability projects such as those already under way concerning shredding, waste reuse/recycling, alternative energy generation and conservation;

identifying sources of funds from local and central govt, Town Charity, and other agencies;

maintaining links with local authorities: parish, district & county; and other groups and organisations in Girton through personal contacts, meetings, Girton Parish News, etc;

education/awareness-raising � eg. through the float, publicity, and displays eg at Girton Feast;

liason with other sustainable community groups � eg Swaffham, Hockerton (Notts), Cambridge Sustainable City.

As yet we have managed without a formal constitution or administrative structure, but this may change as the need arises, and as future plans develop.

Future goals

We are aware that there are various other activities which could be developed in the village, such as the promotion of locally grown food; reducing waste through reuse and recycling; supporting environmental activities in the Glebe School; working with other village groups and organisations, e.g. Allotment Association, which are also concerned with local sustainability.

Following the feasibility study on alternative energy generation it is clear that there is a need to consult with and engage the local community more widely. Our aim is to arrange a public meeting, possibly in Spring 2006 when residents will be given an opportunity to air their views and consider various proposals. In preparation for this meeting, we will hope to have completed an exercise to determine Girton’s “environmental footprint”. In the light of this exercise we would look at implications over a wide range of issues including energy conservation, and alternative energy generation.

The Spring 2006 meeting will provide an opportunity to present to the wider Girton community a review of what Sustainable Girton has achieved so far, and to discuss how best to proceed in the future. In the meanwhile, we would welcome more people to join us, either as individuals and/or representing other groups and organisations in the village. The main requirements are to be committed to the general aims of the group and to be willing to discuss and develop ideas on how the aims of the group can be realised within the village.