I had my last day at ACT! on Friday (and woke up pretty hungover on Saturday). I finished my project and discussed it with Charles – he seemed pleased with my work which was a relief. My framework for city ‘greening’ will be put together with a number of other parallel projects (focusing on energy, transport or land taxation for example) to build up a complete sustainable city model. With Bristol crowned European Green Capital 2015 the city has a lot to achieve ‘greening-wise’ in the next two years – so who knows, hopefully our sustainable city model will come to some use in Bristol…
I’m sad to leave Bristol, it’s such a lively and striking city, and I was so lucky with the weather – I spent many evenings on the Clifton Downs with some of my colleges from ACT!
I’ve just come out of a meeting that I arranged with a local ‘Green Business Advisor’ and an ‘Ethical Business Coach’. We discussed issues around green infrastructure, general ‘green’ practice in businesses and their experiences working in Bristol. It was good to get some first hand, local expertise and heartening to see two old guys still passionate about what they do. They also told me about some interesting examples that I might use as case studies in my project.
I’m now well underway with writing up my project – a framework for the further ‘greening’ of UK cities. Sure enough, my preparatory research was not enough and I’ve been finding out more and more as I’ve been writing (I came across a speech by Iolo Williams which is the best, most moving speech that I’ve ever seen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnJQjtvngqA).
I’ve recently been to the monthly Bristol Green Mingle with Charles and Fi. It was the first time I’d been to a mingle and I didn’t know quite what to expect – but unsurprisingly, it was just people (specifically Bristol’s greenies) drinking, eating and chatting. I met an interesting mix of people including local MPs, an ecologist and the director of the Bristol Green Capital initiative (who’s become a local hero after Bristol won the European Green Capital Award earlier this year). As well as being an enjoyable, relaxed and interesting evening it was also very useful – I gained a few handy contacts who seemed to know something (if not a lot) relevant to my internship project.
I’m now 2 weeks into my internship with The ACT! Alliance in Bristol. The ACT! Alliance is a newly set up campaigning organisation which differs from those that already exist in that it seeks to pool the efforts and resources of existing organisations to gain strength for change, rather than all working in an isolated and fragmented way. Importantly, ACT! does not compartmentalise the issues that we face, seeing that the deteriorating environment, the faltering economic system, failing politicians and poverty are all interlinked, and so are the solutions. Broadly, ACT! campaigns for sustainable development in environmental, economic and social systems.