Start Somewhere – Share and Connect (On and Offline) – Sustainability Tip (5)

This is the final tip in the 5 part series looking at everyday activities, organisations and campaigns that support contributing to sustainable change. Although focused on Reading UK, it can hopefully inspire you to explore your local area or maybe instigate some of these yourself!

Start somewhere.

Often one of the most difficult things about sustainability is to know where to even begin. It can be overwhelming, confusing, intimidating and potentially make you feel vulnerable as you begin to shift, question and take different and sometimes opposing choices and steps to many around you in your personal and work life.

Be prepared to sometimes have your efforts thrown back in your face by people who just don’t get it, or even some environmental expert telling you that you’ve got it all wrong…. and you might have, but the important thing is that you tried!

We are not perfect, we’re learning. That’s the beauty in our specific journey”                 – Alex Elle (Author)

Hopefully this series has opened up your eyes, or at least given a few more ideas as to the everyday choices and actions you can take. They may already be happening locally or feel achievable. The great thing is that there are thousands, if not millions of people, around the world in a similar position. Looking to live and be more sustainable. So reach out there for support, help and inspiration.

A few little sustainability tips:

Try stepping a bit outside your usual events, groups, online news, books you read and look at things from fresh perspectives. I find that sometimes, without realising it, I can become quite siloed in my thinking and doing. Just a small shift outside normal routine can ignite ideas, interest, connections and friends.

Don’t rely on your screen, whether it be large or small, for all your information, interaction and entertainment. Real people and being out and in nature are the best!

Walk around with open eyes, ears and heart, ready to observe, question and contribute to the world around you.

Now is the time, more than ever, a so called crossroads, ignited with the power and democratisation of digital technology, that many more voices can be heard, and actions shared. We’re more globally connected and can exemplify and demand a better and more sustainable industry, economy and world!

So at number 5:

5. Get out, share and connect! There are loads of Community and other initiatives sharing energy, knowledge, spaces, connecting and encouraging rethinking and getting out into nature

LISTENING AND LEARNING 

If you’re a fan of soup as well as keen to hear about and support more local community initiatives then Reading Soup is a wonderful evening that combines the two. Pay £5 for entrance and then you’ll be able to hear 3 organisations pitch, for all the entrance money, all over a bowl of tasty soup.

If you like hearing and talking about all things green with a beverage of some sort in your hand, then there’s the monthly Reading Green Drinks on the first Tuesday of the month at RISC for informal chat and sharing.

Reading Geek Night presentation
Sly plug from Director Anthony in his EV infrastructure talk at Reading Geek Night

Alongside this is the Reading Geek Night every few weeks at Walkabout, that has a range of speakers on a whole variety of topics, with some very sustainability focused such as the recent evening on Electric vehicles and infrastructure. A year or so ago I was lucky enough to share some insights on Open Source Design for a Circular Economy from OSCEdays  and have had some really great discussions after. More recently they spearheaded a fantastic Christmas event with a whole host of Reading based organisations joining the inaugural Geek Pub Quiz (some of the trickiest questions EVER).

Reading has a massive resource and expertise in technology that when connected to environmental and social purpose and outcomes has immense potential to do some great things. Oh did I say things? Yes, The Things Network Reading has already started to connect this with interesting growing projects with the MERL among other initiatives looking at sensors and enabling open data around the town.

GETTING PRACTICAL & ACTIVE 

There’s already been a whole host of organisations mentioned in this and previous posts of the series that encourage practical action, but just in case, here are a few others:

The Reading Sustainability Centre has also been looking at how to bring more of the Sustainability activities and groups together in Reading as well as more of a physical hub with a Sustainability focused centre. One of their projects – Reading Hydro Community Benefit Society has now grown up into it’s own organisation. It’s aim is to bring a hydro power site to Reading at Caversham weir, run by and for the community, offering community shares as well as long term funding from any profits. They’ve started running monthly  regular open action evenings for all to get involved and recently linked up with Oxford Road Community Schools ORSAnauts to explore renewable energy on the river.

 

Getting out into nature is always great and there are whole host for green and blue, parks, forests, river ways and lakes around Reading to make the most of. Stretch you legs in the weekly Park Run, perhaps take part in a local litter pick with Reading Rescue or get on the Thames and Kennet and enter the charity Dragon Boat Festival race or take some Kayaking lessons with Wokingham Waterside Centre.

If you have children then the CIC Nature Nurture also develops and host a range of interactive events and activities to encourage getting out into nature to explore, discover and create

Not every classroom has four walls

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Exploring by Kayak with Wokingham Waterside Centre
FINDING SPACE TO COLLABORATE & WORK TOGETHER

A much needed and increasingly scarce and expensive resource in London and Reading alike is space. Spaces to work, meet, collaborate, experiment and create. To be allowed to try (and sometimes fail). That’s why champions of these are extremely important oasis’s of innovation and community building across sectors and perspectives.

RG Spaces is a great charity set-up to work with other organisations to enhance some of Reading’s cultural & heritage spaces (both real & virtual) and everyone’s understanding & enjoyment of them. Last September they put on a great All of a Twist exhibition at the Turbine house that is no nominated for a Reading Cultural Award.

Standing out in Reading, is the original coworking hub Grow @ Green Park ,that has been an immense champion for startups and innovating in tech, as well as curating some great sustainability talks over the last few years. With a name including grow and green you have to really. Alongside this they’ve been profile raising initiatives through Connect TVT , Showing what you can achieve with a vision, addressing a real need and engaging a team around it.

One of the businesses grown from Grow and a Gamechanger winner includes Pineapple, founded to support businesses achieve and drive towards sustainable outcomes that support the Sustainable Development Goals.

Reading also has the Climate Change Partnership that looks to bring all these great organisations with perspectives together to work towards a more sustainable Reading.

46% of Reading’s greenhouse gas emissions come from commercial activity. That’s why it’s crucial for businesses to be involved in developing solutions, with us, to tackle climate change. – RCCP

So what’s there to wait for with all these ingredients? Jump in and get started!

Want to join in mapping the organisations, people and campaigns doing some great things to get involved with and support, then share in comments, #ecordguk or just contact me

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5 Tips For Supporting Everyday Sustainable Change

  1. Broken doesn’t have to mean Goodbye – Repair, Mend, Maintain, Sew, Knit and Reinvent it!
  2. Get creative with what you have, learn and be inspired by others – Try making your own gifts, or perhaps give or take part in a workshop or events that support this
  3. Try eating and buying more Local, Seasonal, Veggie and homemade – Good for the environment and your tummy
  4. Always Question and Choose for Ethical and good design – Fairtrade, good materials, ethical policies, 2nd hand and support local and independent
  5. Get out, share and connect! There are loads of Community initiatives sharing Knowledge, Spaces, Connecting, creating Tech, Energy and supporting getting out into Nature

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This blog originated from involvement with the Open Source Circular Economy days  (#OSCEdays) and an original mapping with participants during Reading Green Fest.

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