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Balby Quaker Meeting

Sustainability Commitment: the sustainability policy of Doncaster Local Meeting

This policy is displayed publically in the meeting house.Central to Quaker witness are the testimonies to simplicity, equality, peace and non-violence, integrity and the community. These connect us directly to the care for our environment and the life it supports.This has been central to the care taken with the refurbishment of our meeting house. We continue to live our environmental commitment through our individual choices and action as well as those we make as a community.

These choices will be reflected in:

  • the selection of products used within the Meeting House
  • the ways in which we deal with our waste
  • the use of energy
  • the cultivation of our garden

We shall continue to challenge our actions and behaviour and constantly review the practices of all who use the Meeting House.

We acknowledge our support of the Living Witness Project, which aims to support the development of Quaker corporate witness to sustainable living and explore ways of taking it to the wider community in Britain and elsewhere.

"We do not own the world, and its riches are not ours to dispose of. Show a loving consideration for all creatures, and seek to maintain the beauty and variety of the world. Work to ensure that our increasing power over nature is used responsibly, with reverence for life. Rejoice in the splendour of God’s world."

Advices and Queries no.42

August 2012

 

In 2007, Doncaster meeting decided to refurbish its premises. As a part of the developments, the heating system needed replacing and updating. The group of us assigned to deal with this decided that we wanted to do this as sustainably as possible. We spent many hours talking with the architect and a number of consultants about the best possible way – we looked at ground source heat pumps, at under floor heating systems, bio mass heating systems, heat exchange systems and solar panels and finally decided that the most effective way of being sustainable was to invest in complete insulation. The very high ceiling in the main meeting room took all our heat way above our heads, so we had a suspended ceiling installed. All the walls had internal cavities created; the windows were replaced with new draught free and well fitting frames which were all double glazed. New well fitting doors were hung. Heating is provided by a new efficient condensing boiler.

While all this was going on, a small sub group worked on a sustainability policy which would come into effect once the newly refurbished building was opened.. This involved not just heat saving but also how we deal with our waste, ethical shopping, the cleaning materials used in the meeting house and transport issues. The latter is the hardest to tackle as people come from long distances and there is often no public transport on a Sunday. However, we now buy ecologically friendly cleaning materials and washing up liquid. A compost waste bin sits in the kitchen to receive tea bags which are tipped into the compost bins in the garden, the contents of which can eventually be used on the said garden. Other waste is segregated and put in the appropriate bins in a nearby car park. We try to ensure that energy is used only when necessary. The buffet at the opening ceremony was provided by a local caterer who shops at Doncaster market thus reducing food miles. Alongside, the meeting has become a fair trade church and tries to restrict refreshments to goods that are fairly traded and has a small shop on the premises.

Our policy is displayed to users of the meeting house in the hope that they will all behave sustainably too and appreciate the spirit in which the policy was written.

Jill Cooper
2011