New eco group Sustainable Wareham meets for first time

The environmental group Sustainable Swanage has a new neighbour – Sustainable Wareham and the two have started to work together to tackle the issues of climate change and sustainability throughout Purbeck.

Formed during lockdown, the founding members of the new environmental group have been able to meet in person for the first time, following the easing of Covid rules.

Following in the footsteps of Sustainable Swanage, the group was founded by Mary Morris, who’s been the climate ambassador for Stoborough Women’s Institute for two years.

While it’s based in Wareham it also includes members from the surrounding villages such as Stoborough and Sandford.

People on Wareham Bridge

Sustainable Wareham members meet at a distance on Wareham Bridge

“Main issues for us are litter, plastics, energy, eco tourism and enhancing nature”

Mary Morris said:

“It’s the first we’ve all been able to meet. Up to now it’s all been Zoom meetings, but it’s so good to actually speak to people in person, although outdoors and at a distance.

“There’s just so much to do. The five main issues for us are litter, plastics, energy, eco tourism and enhancing nature.

“We all need to work together across Purbeck and we’ve already been talking to Sustainable Swanage. I’m also a member of the Purbeck Energy Group and we’ve also been liaising with Planet Purbeck, which has gathered significant momentum very quickly.

Sustainable Wareham members

Founder Mary Morris with Janet Toal, Phil Christopher and Anne-Marie Goodbody

“Move away from plastic”

The way forward for the group is to help local businesses, residents and visitors replace old ways of doing things with more sustainable options. Mary continued:

“We need to do something about single use plastics, and we would like to try to influence companies to move away from plastic, particularly those that use bottles.

“But we don’t want to criticise them – we want to help them and work with them by doing things like investigating whether there would be any funding available.

“We will also be lobbying the town council but, again, in a spirit of cooperation.”

Sustainable Wareham members

Sustainable Wareham members Ruth Carpenter, Paula Edwards and Vicky Charles

“Do the right thing”

On climate change, Mary added:

“It seems pretty obvious what’s happening to our planet and the possible solutions are fairly clear and straightforward. Getting there is the difficult bit.

“Wareham is a good place to live and we need to preserve the best of Wareham in a sustainable way, so it is a place of beauty and relaxation.

“Visitors come here because of our countryside and heathland and we need to maintain that. Tourism quadruples our population in the summer and we need to find positive ways to help our visitors care for the environment and do the right thing.

“Sustainable Wareham will be doing what it can to improve the situation without overcomplicating things. Actions need to be doable in a reasonable timeframe.

“Many have targets in 2040 or 2050 but all that’s doing is postponing everything. We will be focusing on actions as if we only have ten years to make a difference.”

Sustainable Wareham members

Sustainable Wareham members Clare Winton, Chris Hockley, Jill Scragg and Harperkash Rispin

“Helping each other to achieve common aims”

Sustainable Swanage was formed in 2018, so has now had time to establish despite many plans having been disrupted by the Covid pandemic.

Sarah Spurling from Sustainable Swanage said:

“It’s great to see more environmental groups setting up and taking local action. By all working together we can make more progress and communicate our messages better. It’s really nice how we are all supporting and helping each other to achieve common aims.”

Further information

To get involved with Sustainable Wareham or just find out more, email or visit its website

More about Sustainable Swanage is on its website

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