Response to Caradon's 'Sustainability' Questionnaire.
by Roger Lovejoy, 10th October - 4th November, 2002
Point 1 | Point 2 | Point 3 | Point 4 | Point 5 | Point 6 | Point 7 | Point 8 | Indicators
Examples: Diggers (Gerrad Winstanley) | Tinkers Bubble (Simon Fairlie) | Hockerton Housing Project
Lastwords: Ideology | Sustainability
Point Two. Putting sustainability at the centre of everything the Council does:
We think that by adopting the use of a sustainability checklist* we can:
* a comprehensive list of social, economic and environmental issues needing consideration.
What are your views on this?
'Point Two. Putting sustainability at the centre of everything the Council does:' Sounds too good to be true!
Although dependent upon the interpretation of 'sustainability', that the Council may chose from time to time, Point Two does seem to recognise the importance of the concerns about the massive human consumption, waste and consequent pollution that cannot be justified on terms of needs or basic comforts.
However the checklist is a bit of a worry. Point Six already provides 'Local Quality of Life Indictors' which cover the same idea and another checklist will just give more jobs to the administrators and worse a conflict of which list to apply to which topic.
Sustainability will only be effective when the consumers what to do the work themselves not when being administered by some unanswerable authority with no understanding that the emotional state of the people is the only criteria than, if measured, would indicate the sustainability of any endevour.
I will append a sample of a checklist <Sustainability Checklist> which may be used to indicate or measure the success of any allegedly sustainable action or development'
Can you recommend any other methods of mainstreaming sustainability into our policies, action plans and services?
I'm not sure that the word mainstreaming is appropriate, it doesn't sound very low impact. What does it really mean?
Where there is a flow of substance, some parts may be seen as being in the mainstream whilst others hug the surroundings, but there really needs to be a constant and considerable flow of materail success to warrant promoting 'sustainabilty' as a going concern worthy of peoples investment of time and effort. Else the promotion of susatainbility becomes the primary goal leading only to more unnesceary conferences regulations and officials being paid for yapping shuffling documents about things they have no idea of and or prospect or intention of understanding. No thanks!
Would you be interested in using the checklist? if so, please provide your contact details here:
Point Three. Sustainability Training:
In partnership with North Cornwall and Restormel Councils, Caradon has developed an introductory sustainability training session for staff and Councillors.
Should all Councillors attend this training?
Parish Councils have also shown an interest in attending this sustainabilty training. Who else do you think may be interested?
Can you suggest any other specific types of sustainability training which you may of had experience of which we could use to train our staff and councillors?
One idea I have
is to question each Councillor on sustainabilty issues.
This can be done by filling in a questionaire, but
initially it should be done by interview in the presence
of Council Officials by electors that have some knowledge
of the underlying arguments and some experience of
Point Four. Getting the sustainability message across:
Much work has been done by Caradon over the last two years to publicise and promote sustainability.
This includes: launching the Sustainability newsletter, the Sustainable Saturday event, numerous press articles, producing a Local Agenda 21 Strategy, visits to schools and local groups, the Cornwall Sustainable Building Trust feasibility study, a sustainability section on our own website, the East Cornwall Green Action Guide to name but a few.
Do you have any innovative ideas on how we can develop other projects which publicise and promote sustainability?
Point Five. Caradon's Council's own impact upon the environment:
Environmental protection is a key factor of a sustainable sosciety.
Caradon Council over the last few years has developed corporate policies with the intention to reduce its own impact on the environment.
These policies include:
Coporate Waste Minimisation, Water Conservation, Sustainable Transport and Energy Efficiency.
For the first time we are about to produce our own Corporate Environental Strategy which will set out how we intend to reduce our resource consumption year on year.
Should we go even further and sign up to an Enviromental Acceditation System which will be more vigorous in tackling our own environmental impact?
Should we be considering purchasing more of our resouces locally? .. Depends on what they are.
Point Six. Local Quality of Life Indicators:
With partners we have developed a list of indicators which help us understand whether we are moving towards or away from a sustainable society on a number of key issues. This list is enclosed with this proforma.
Is this list of indicators suitable?
They do touch on many issues butn they could be used as a distraction from the real issue of creating sustainable dwellings and workplaces that are closley linked to avoid transport and the development of organic farming.
Have we missed anything? Are you a local organstaion which collects data that could be fed into this list?
The major indicators are
How could we publicise the trends shown by these indicators? Give prizes as descibed in Point Four
Point Seven. Key issues coming out of this review:
Our consultation has suggested that we need to work with partners to improve
Are you able to make any suggestions on ways of tackling these issues? Any ideas or experiences you may have of relevant projects dealing with these issues would be welcomed.
partners is disquieting as the alledge role of the
Council is to serve.
First it needs to accertain as to whom the council considers to be it's partners. If the council is run from the top down in terms of national legislation then partnerships will not be locally responsible except to the Council Officers who by definition see the national Government as their paymasters. Even if local taxes are used to pay their wages these could not be enforced on the local electorate without the threat of National Force via the courts or otherwise. RE: Poll Tax
If the partners envisaged are corporations in the private sector as in transport of housing, the though is how can such profit making ventures find a way to improve their product without encumbering their customers with a greater need to work away form home to apy for the improvements. All to ofetn, in anycase, the improvements are far too minor to be environmentally or socialy enduring as fiscal profit is still the prefered coin of security rather than an enhanced and enjoyable bio-diverse environment.
If the partners are the individuals who's lives can change then serious support must be given to bio-diverse development such as organic farming and suitably managed woodland. The adoption of more simple or benign technology for communications and transport is depended upon the value and security inherent in a persons home and work. The happier home the less need to work away and the less need for transportation and communication systems.
My experience of 'improvements' to the coumcil housing stock is unenviable. The job innhad was to insulate the houses. Appart from being almost completely innefective, I have witnessed shody work as the norm, exceedingly poor quality fitted units that were falling apart after some months and electrical fiitings loose and dangerous. Complaints to the workers were uneventful and reslted in only lip service and non-action - and I don't even live in a council house. My friends that do, have no faith in the council's integrity, to have to endure lengthy arguments when they have a house to run and children to feed and clothe.
Point Eight. Preparing a Community Strategy for South East Cornwall:
This Council has the responsibility for preparing a Community Startegy with a host of partner organisations. This strategy aims to promote the social, economic and environmental well-being of South East Cornwall.
In your opinion what themes or issues should this strategy be tackling?
Would you be interested in getting involved with Community Strategy to tackel any themes or issues?
Do you think a set of guidelines should be adopted which ensures any actions taken in the strategy are sustainable?
Answers in reverse order