I have worked in sustainability education for 30 years (28 years as education officer at CAT, the last 2 years part time for The Size of Wales delivering workshops in North West Wales & a year some very part time for Connecting Classrooms for Global Learning, advising schools interested in delivering global education). Throughout that 30 years I have developed activities, workshops and other resources, mainly for school pupils and teachers, run workshops for pupils and students of all ages up to masters level, delivered teacher training and facilitated and run workshops for a variety of adult groups.
Topics have included energy use, renewable energy (function, impacts & potential), eco-footprints, sustainable buildings, the impact of the products we buy, the global impacts of our actions and inequality, tropical rainforests. One activity that I developed in recent years is the use of maps or aerial photos with models, card, plasticine etc to enable people to express & discuss their vision of a sustainable future.
As a Machynlleth town councillor, since the declaration of climate emergency I have been the key link between action groups and council but also doing public engagement. I have learned Welsh and am pretty fluent.
Why are you drawn to this type of work?
I feel very strongly that creating a sustainable future depends on change at governmental level but also on actions at local level. Also that action at local level has to include the whole of the community, as far as possible. To make this possible it is necessary to create opportunities for people to voice their opinions in spaces where they feel they will be listened to. It is necessary to go to where people are – clubs, societies, church groups, schools.
Recently I have been trying to engage a wider part of the community in Machynlleth in the process of contributing to the climate action plan that self-selecting groups have been working on. I have been to a pensioners group and am booked to go to 2 church/chapel groups and Merched y Wawr. I have used a large map of Machynlleth with models etc to engage people at public events. This tends to intrigue people so they will talk and voice opinions about things which will improve quality of life as well as contributing to reducing carbon. It works with people of all ages.
Practical action is very important and I am a founder member of the local car club.
What is your vision of your region in 2050?
Car clubs, car sharing, lift sharing with electric cars has become the norm. There is more use of buses and trains, particularly for the people living in town. There are safe cycling routes to Pennal, Aberdyfi, Aberystwyth. More fruit and veg is grown and sold locally. All housing is very well insulated. All new housing is council or housing association. Local energy supply company buys local renewables. There continues to be high quality live music of all sorts easily available and plenty of fun community events. We start by drawing people into actions that are win/win, saving energy and money.