Working in partnership with the Earth means respecting her, and here at Braziers we take this matter seriously. We are perpetually evolving and adapting in attempts to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly.
We believe communities such as ours hold a potent role in reflecting society as a microcosm. So, please consider using any of our tactics to contribute to being the solution to our global crisis – or to tell us your solutions that we could employ.
Or better yet, come along and help us to employ them!
What does ‘sustainability’ mean?
We talk about it all the time, but do we really know what it means?
Is it just about recycling and using cars less? Or is it something deeper?
If we consider the work of Michael Ben-Eli, of the Sustainability Laboratory (full article here, or download the PDF below), and R. Buckminster Fuller, we realise that sustainability is not just about resource management. It applies to all aspects of our lives.
Their work recognises the interdependence of all systems of life, material, economic, social and spiritual.
A definition of sustainability:
“A dynamic equilibrium in the process of interaction between a population and the carrying capacity of its environment such that the population develops to express its full potential without producing irreversible, adverse effects on the carrying capacity of the environment upon which it depends.”
How can we achieve sustainability?
The permaculture principles, as developed by David Holmgren & Bill Mollison, offer a potential solution to to how to live more integrated lives. It isn’t just about gardening!
What are we doing about?
Here at Braziers Park, we have weekly (daily, often) conversations about sustainability and how we can better play our part in being the solution to our fractured way of living in the 21st century.
We’ll use the five principles above from the Sustainability Lab Core Principles to organise this section.
This list is not exhaustible.
The Material Domain
“Contain entropy and ensure that the flow of resources, through and within the economy, is as nearly non-declining as is permitted by physical laws.”
- We grow food organically, and utilise permaculture design to support our ecosystem’s diversity whilst providing a yield for minimal effort.
- We participate in food recycling by receiving supermarket’s otherwise wasted food to create delicious and nutritious meals to fuel ourselves (FareShare, in partnership with South Oxfordshire Food & Education Academy [SOFEA]).
- We buy locally and organically, wherever possible.
- We freeze food we are not able to consume immediately.
- We use ecological alternatives to single-use plastics, as much as possible (i.e. beeswax wraps instead of clingfilm, reusable containers, jars, and buying in bulk).
- We use environmentally friendly products to clean, such as vinegar, bicarbonate soda, and Ecover products, instead of harmful chemicals.
- When we have to dispose of food, we either compost it or send it to our local Anaerobic Digestion Centre (What is anaerobic digestion?)
- We eat a predominantly vegan diet, with optional dairy/egg/meat for those that eat them (how does that help?)
- We work wisely together, to reduce waste and recycle as much as possible.
- We share resources and vehicles.
The Economic Domain
“Adopt an appropriate accounting system to guide the economy, fully aligned with the planet’s ecological processes and reflecting true, comprehensive biospheric pricing.”
- We value our home, each other, our land, and the other earthlings we share it with.
- We pay fair wages and work part-time.
- We respect peoples’ limits and boundaries.
- We value each other’s contributions not only for the work they contribute, but also their character, values, dynamism, creativity.
- We consider our wealth to be not only economic, but recognise our wealth of land, food, energy, services, social, spiritual and in the provision of housing.
- We utilise a three-tier pricing system, and flexibly interact with individuals, to ensure accessibility for all.
- We operate transparently, to ensure everyone is consciously contributing to the process of economic sustainability.
The Domain of Life
“Ensure that the essential diversity of all forms of life in the biosphere is maintained.”
- We aim for organic land status to protect all species dwelling here, and the land itself, from poisoning.
- We provide space for nature to express itself naturally.
- We refrain from over-harvesting (i.e. we only take one hay crop from our fields to allow the plant species to grow to their full expression and to proliferate).
- We share our bounty (albeit begrudgingly, sometimes) with insects, bees, squirrels, rabbits and birds, which in turn share theirs with red kites, owls, kestrels, buzzards, goshawks, and foxes.
- We survey our species to protect them better (reports section coming soon).
- We employ permaculture methodology in our land, and respect ‘weeds’ and ‘pests’ as integral parts of our biome. Each species plays its part.
- Wherever possible, we refrain from unnecessarily taking life. When it must be done, we respect and honour the lives taken (i.e. we don’t cut down trees unless they’re sick and pose a threat to passer’s by, and use the wood they provide).
- We have beehives, not just so we can steal their honey, but to provide space for them.
- We ensure our biome contains many habitats for life such as ponds, meadows, forest, gardens and pastures.
The Social Domain
“Maximise degrees of freedom and potential self-realisation of all humans without any individual or group adversely affecting others.”
- We value difference and the richness diversity brings to our community.
- We warmly welcome volunteers, residents and guests from across the globe.
- We co-manage. We strive ourselves and hold each other accountable, whilst respecting one another’s agency.
- We hold weekly meetings, open to all (Sensory, Tuesday at 1945), as well as closed meetings where those that manage the organisation can share freely.
- We encourage free, respectful debate, no subject is taboo.
- We support each other through difficulties, and allow space for emotions and healing.
- We are flexible. We understand that difference can give way to conflict, and allow flexibility and agency to inform each decision we make.
The Spiritual Domain
“Recognise the seamless, dynamic continuum of mystery, wisdom, love, energy, and matter that links the outer reaches of the cosmos with our solar system, our planet and its biosphere, including all humans, with our internal metabolic systems and their externalised technology extensions; embody this recognition in a universal ethics for guiding human actions.”
- We celebrate our history, culture and faith with the celebrations and customs of those comprising the community at any time.
- We are non-secular, but respect one another’s spirituality or religious choice.
- We see ourselves as a part of interdependent systems.
- We appreciate the inherent power of intentions and language in shaping our shared reality.
- We celebrate the rhythms of our bodies, planet, moon, sun and seasons with ceremony and creativity.
- We recognise the powerful role of emotion and intuition when making decisions, valuing and moderating them through consciousness.
- We aim to increase all of our consciousnesses, through honest and loving communication, as much as we can.