Cities and towns, like Reading, are central to developing positive responses to climate change and the challenges of a world of finite resources. Reading is particularly well placed in the UK to show what that might look like in practice.
The University of Reading has an international reputation for its work on climate change, management and the built environment. Reading Borough Council has shown leadership in managing and reducing its own carbon emissions. Reading International Solidarity Centre has a national reputation for its work on global citizenship, and there are a whole host of other local green groups taking practical action to support sustainable development. All of this is happening against the backdrop of one of the UK’s most buoyant local economies.
Reading Sustainability Centre is a voluntary project. It started life as part of the initiative to develop a hydro electric scheme on Caversham Weir (Reading Hydro). We remain closely associated, but are now two separate projects. Reading Sustainability Centre is essentially a group of individuals drawn together by a desire to encourage and better connect community-led sustainability initiatives across Reading. Our long-term goal is to develop an eco-education centre in Reading that can act as an information hub and space for sustainable learning. More immediately our focus is on getting conversations going, developing experiments and ‘popping up’ were we can.
Where possible we look to work in partnership with other groups in Reading. Sustainability is too broad a topic for any one organisation to try and tackle on its own, besides there are already a lot of groups in Reading successfully working for a sustainable future. That said, sustainability is so broad a topic that most groups naturally focus on a particular aspect. The challenge is sometimes to bridge the gaps between the different ‘green’ agendas, and also draw in voices from other fields. We hope that this is one of the roles that the Reading Sustainability Centre can play.
Whilst continuing to be a locally-rooted, volunteer-led organisation, we do look for opportunities to bid for funding to enable us to take on bigger projects, do things quicker and, in the longer term, achieve our goal of a dedicated space for sustainability education in Reading.
If you would like to find out more about Reading Sustainability Centre, or get involved in a project, just drop us a line.