Frequently asked questions
- Why does sustainability matter?
- How can I tell if I'm being more sustainable?
- What can I do to make Herefordshire a more sustainable place to live?
- Is Climate Change really such a problem?
- How can I measure my carbon footprint?
- What is sustainability?
- What has sustainability got to do with health and wellbeing?
- How can the Bulmer Foundation help me?
- How can I be involved with the Bulmer Foundation's work?
We live in a finite world; there is only so much space, so much light, so much water. Nonetheless, for a long time now society has aimed towards growth, particularly in economic terms, and our population has followed the same pattern - without us needing to try at all! In many cases, growth has done a lot of good for people's quality of life across the World. However, resources fundamental to our survival as a species, as well as the survival of many other species, are now becoming increasingly scarce and some of the ways that we feed and protect ourselves (for example, heating our homes or transporting our food) are harming those precious resources further.
By adopting more sustainable lifestyles, business models and technologies, together with a rethink of our aspiration to keep growing indefinitely, we can all help to secure the future of our species and of many species whose survival currently depend on the decisions we make as a global society. Remember, the planet will live on without us, but if you think your life has been a worthwhile experience, don't you think future generations should have a fair go at life too?
The Bulmer Foundation believes strongly that evaluation is needed to track progress towards a more sustainable future. People have devised different ways of looking at sustainable development, many based on indicators of key elements of what we do.
For example, use of Herefordshire Council's carbon calculator www.myherefordshire.com/carbonfootprinting.aspx can inform future behaviour and assess changes in your carbon footprint over time. New approaches like triple bottom line accounting can monetise and start to join up these impacts of operations (on the wider economy, society and natural world), and we have undertaken innovative work evaluating Herefordshire's orchards in this way (www.herefordorchards.co.uk/fls/default.asp).
Consider your own personal impact on the world's resources. Ask yourself if you can reduce your own consumption, including energy, water and goods, and if you can generate less waste. Then ask if you can influence others in your community.
Here are some ideas and links to help you reduce, re-use and recycle:
- Energy: In the home - insulate; turn the heat down; switch to a renewable energy supplier; find out more by taking part in 'h.energy' Herefordshire's sustainability week.
- Food and Farming: Eat local, seasonal, responsibly produced food from independent retailers; check www.herefordshirefoodlinks.org.uk for your nearest farm shop or farmers' market; grow something - plant a tree, a garden or a window box or join a garden share scheme or allotment group.
- Transport: Walk, cycle - cyclehereford.org.uk - take the bus, take the train, drive fewer miles and share journeys by car - www.twoshare.co.uk
- Economy: Consider where your money goes and who it benefits, use local suppliers so that more of your money remains in the community; join your local credit union www.moneyboxcu.org.uk
- Society: Be an influencer, lobby your local councillor and support them in adopting progressive policies on all of the above; encourage your local school to become an eco-school - www.herefordshire.gov.uk/environment/27221.asp - join a local Transition Town, www.transitionnetwork.org
Finally, look after yourself, look after others, look after our environment and 'Be the change you want to see in the world' ....Gandhi '
The UK Government’s Carbon Plan, (March 2011) summarises the situation as follows:”Climate change is one of the greatest threats to both UK & global security & prosperity. There is overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is happening, and that it is very likely to primarily be the result of human activity.”
There are many tools available, including Herefordshire Council’s carbon calculator, which can be accessed on www.myherefordshire.com.
Sustainability is the development of an acceptable and equitable quality of life for all earth’s people which can be passed on to future generations in perpetuity while living within the carrying capacity, and protecting, the earth's life supporting ecosystems.
Many other definitions exist including the familiar “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” from the 1987 Bruntland Report.
Sustainability is integral to our sense of health and wellbeing. Human beings have the most significant impact on a complex, diverse but inter-related bio-system. Natural or ecological systems have a natural disposition to maintain balance. Hence any change creates a cycle of effects to redress a balance in the system.
Human activity, in our recent evolutionary history, has had a predominantly negative effect on our ecosystem creating imbalances that are manifested in the rising levels of “dis-ease” in our physical and emotional sense of health and wellbeing.
Our health, well-being, quality of life and our environment are interdependent. The rise in health and social inequalities has been partly attributed to the impact of our urban and rural design.
The reduction in the availability of “green or natural spaces” has led to, reduced physical activity which has resulted in the rise in stress, mental ill health, and chronic diseases like asthma, high blood pressure, obesity.
On the contrary, evidence from research shows, exposure to or activity in natural and green environments enhances recovery from surgery and increases our sense of physical and emotion wellbeing.
The Bulmer Foundation is committed to helping you by providing the following:
- ADVICE – we aim to help you become more sustainable & can show you how to be involved in local sustainability, food, land use and health and wellbeing projects.
- INFORMATION – we aim to hold an up-to-date information ”One Stop Shop” on all matters relating to community sustainability, health & wellbeing, food, farming and orcharding issues within Herefordshire.
- EDUCATION – Education is at the core of every strand of our work at the Foundation. Our flagship programme is the Masters Degree in Sustainable Development Advocacy. To find out more, please visit the masters degree course section of the site.
- SUPPORT & PARTNERSHIP WORKING – The Bulmer Foundation has experts in community health, sustainable land use, local food production, orchards and cider production, carbon reduction and evaluation. We are therefore in an ideal position to partner and support others in influencing & supporting local projects and developing strategies that will benefit our communities as a whole.
- LAUGHTER – Local laughter workshops to make you smile! Find out how the benefits of laughter will enhance your own health and wellbeing.
Why not consider becoming a volunteer with our core activities or one of our projects? Alternatively your organisation might be running a project or have an idea that you think we could help with. If you would like to get involved in any way, please give us a ring on 01432 378409, email Averil at firstname.lastname@example.org or use our contact form here on the website.