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One Planet Living: helping us to Build Back Better

The One Planet Living® framework developed by Bioregional makes it easier for people to live sustainable lives within the planet’s boundaries. Nicole Lazarus, Head of One Planet Living, tells us how she hopes the framework will help Oxfordshire towards a cleaner, greener recovery.

Put simply, our aim is to create a better way to live. Our vision is of a world where people enjoy happy, healthy lives within the natural limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.

To achieve this, fundamental system change is needed. If everyone in the world consumed as much as the average person in western Europe, we’d need three planets to support us. Clearly, we don’t have that… so change is needed!

At Bioregional, we have always believed that deep, transformative change is possible, and our One Planet Living framework provides a straightforward path for individuals, communities, schools, businesses and more the world over. Its ten simple principles are backed by science and many years of hands-on experience. This framework is highly flexible and already helping organisations around the world to achieve their vision of a brighter, better future.

The pandemic has turned our world upside-down in ways we could never imagine and has shown us that another way of living is possible. We have a chance to fundamentally reset our thinking and an opportunity to make ideas happen far faster and far more widely that we might have previously hoped.

This includes Oxfordshire, a hotbed for thought-leadership, innovation, community action and green-minded enterprise. It makes it well-placed to create the changes we so urgently need to address the climate and ecological emergency, as well as engendering happier, healthier and more equitable societies.

In 2018, Oxfordshire became one of the four global locations that are taking part in Bioregional’s One Planet Cities pilot programme. We supported the county to create a collaborative ‘shared vision’ of a better future – drawing on the expertise of local authorities, businesses, community groups and citizens alike.

Comprehensive plans and goals are laid out in Our Shared Vision document from 2019 which covers everything from clean air and active, healthy people to a diversity of local, independent shops and enterprises; empowered citizens; truly affordable homes; positive biodiversity trends; efficient waste water treatment; affordable, low carbon transport; sustainable, humane farming and a thriving circular economy.

Now, through the One Planet Oxfordshire initiative, many local organisations are creating their own ‘One Planet’ sustainability action plans to help achieve the Shared Vision; plans structured using Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework.

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils are using the framework to help them respond to the climate emergency, both aiming to be carbon neutral districts – by 2030 in South Oxfordshire and 2045 in the Vale.

In Rose Hill (East Oxford), volunteers from the local community centre, school, church and Rose Hill and Iffley Low Carbon group came together to create sustainable change across a whole neighbourhood.  These different groups are using One Planet Living both individually and collectively to work towards a happy, healthy, equitable community, with an ambition to be the first zero-carbon neighbourhood in the UK. They have undertaken many fantastic projects, from solar panels on the Community Centre and school to successful tree planting schemes and community repair cafés.

Oxfordshire Greentech, a dedicated business network for low-carbon growth, has thrived since its launch in 2019. With more than 100 members, it is supporting companies and social enterprises to speed up the transition to a low-carbon future with events, advice and training that pertain to the ten One Planet principles.

One Oxfordshire Greentech member, OXWASH, is a revolutionary sustainable laundry service, using space-age washing machines (literally – CEO Kyle Grant used to work for NASA) which save huge amounts of water and remove microfibres. Plus, all its deliveries are by electric bike. It’s a game-changer for Oxford and OXWASH has big plans for other cities too. OXWASH’sactions on sustainability directly feed into achieving our county’s vision – and there are many other organisations like it, directly or indirectly taking action.

And these are just a few examples of the organisations working towards our One Planet Oxfordshire shared vision!

Though the pandemic has been a difficult and painful time for many, it feels as if a corner has finally been turned and we can dare to believe that the type of fundamental change we need can be achieved on a large scale. The appetite for a better, more sustainable way of life is unstoppable, and the frameworks and mechanisms needed to achieve it are readily available. The sooner more people, organisations and communities join the movement, the sooner we will enable the flourishing planet and resilient communities we so desperately need.

You can get involved by:

Creating a One Planet Action Plan like many others have done to help achieve our shared vision – check out our free resources to help you get started

Telling us about what you’re doing! Drop us an email or tell us on Facebook or Twitter, and we’d love to hear what action you’re taking to see if we can support you, and map action against our Vision

Signing up to our mailing list to keep up to date with the One Planet Oxfordshire project, including inspiring stories around the county

Joining Oxfordshire Greentech if you’d like to access a network of likeminded organisations, connect and collaborate, promote your business, and enjoy high-quality events about low-carbon, sustainability topics

Following us on social media (Twitter and Facebook)


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