Wimbledon residents in bid to go green


Transition Towns Wimbledon held their first public event last Thursday in an attempt to encourage people to become more energy efficient

By Rachel Hunter

A GROUP of green-thinking residents held gone public with their plans to make Wimbledon a less energy dependent community.

Last Thursday Transition Towns Wimbledon held a film screening of In Transition, showing projects across the country which try to make towns more environmentally friendly.

Having joined forces in March 2009, the steering group aims to raise public awareness of issues such as peak oil and climate change as part of the nationwide Transition Towns scheme.

More than 50 people turned up to Bishop Gilpin School for the presentation which was followed by a talk from Shaun Chamberlin, author of The Transition Timeline.

Terry Patterson, of Denmark Avenue, is part of Transition Towns Wimbledon.

She said: “We’re very new and this is our first public event to see if there’s enough interest in Wimbledon.

“If there’s a great amount of resistance in a community then it’s difficult to take it further, but we’re very hopeful about the people here. We’d like to put on a bigger event next time.”

The group aims to do more than just attract like-minded people and wants to get others involved who aren’t already aware of the issues.

Once local awareness reaches a critical mass, the group intends to hold a ‘great unleashing’ when Wimbledon becomes a Transition Town.

Smaller groups will then be formed to facilitate changes, focusing on areas like waste, energy, food, transport and education.

Terry says she hopes Transition Towns won’t be necessary in years to come, as those in power will take notice and start implementing changes themselves.

However she says it’s also about moving the focus away from material possessions and starting to lead more fulfilling lives.

Whilst the numbers attending on Thursday exceeded the group’s expectations, they still have a long way to go as many Wimbledon residents are not aware of the scheme.

James Shuttle, 18, who works in the Centre Court Shopping Centre Marks and Spencers, said: “I haven’t heard of the scheme but I think it’s always positive to help the environment.

“There will always be a lot of energy being used in Wimbledon but each and every shop could cut down.”

However the large turnout has encouraged the steering group who will hold a meeting next month for those interested in joining them.

They also work closely with community group Sustainable Merton whose co-founder Tom Walsh attended the event.

“I am really pleased to see so many people here,” he said. “By coming tonight it means people are actually taking that first step.”

The Transition Town scheme started in Totnes, Devon in 2006 when a group of residents joined to try to make their town more resilient to rising energy prices and climate change.

There are now 130 Transition Towns across the UK and over 1000 initiatives worldwide starting the process to becoming one.

The steering group will meet next on November 10 at 7.30 at the Wimbledon Quaker Meeting House.

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