The Sustainable Land Trust (SLT) is offering a new way for parish councils, communities and schools of Rutland and Leicestershire to take ownership and management of their environmental impacts.
Biodiversity loss, climate change and sustainability are terms branded across our news networks and social media, but the language associated with such topics is often complex, multi-layered, and difficult to apply to our personal situation. This means we rely on county councils to deliver the work needed, and scientific professionals who have limited diaries and are therefore, competitively sought after. There is a real mentality that these groups will ‘fix’ the environment, but it is the responsibility of everyone to protect and enhance the world around us.
That’s why SLT has developed the ‘Centre for Nature & Society’ that will empower and upskill local communities with the conceptual knowledge and practical understanding of ecosystem services, natural capital and ‘sustainable life’, so that they know how to positively manage their landscapes. Ecosystem services are classified as the many and varied ‘services’ that the natural environment provides society, for example: shelter, food, water and air; Natural capital is the way we value these services so that they can be compared and managed accordingly; and Sustainable life covers various topics which ensure human civilization can exist fruitfully and without detriment to the resources left for future generations.
This bespoke and holistic service has been developed in relation to the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, the Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. That means target groups will be making a positive difference both nationally and internationally.
Firstly, SLT will deliver training and workshops to help participants understand the baseline data within their local landscape, develop the skills to monitor change and engage the communities with ecosystem service benefits. SLT also hopes to test a new and exciting tool, that will showcase all these benefits in a visually stimulating and engaging ‘StoryMap’. StoryMaps will allow target groups to document the change they are implementing and the positive impact this is having, through videography, imagery, map tours, voice tours and data recording.
Alongside the environmental advocates within each of the parishes, SLT will facilitate communications between developers, landowners, councils and other stakeholders, so that projects can be delivered in line with the timeframes of local government and national policy. SLT also aims to continue this service for years to come as a resource to call on for training, advice on new legislation and the monitoring of landscapes overtime, through data collection signposting and our StoryMaps software.
SLT have partnered with seven parish councils and community groups across Rutland and Leicestershire, but they hope to expand the service to neighbouring counties and eventually, nationally through STEM UK, Let’s Go Zero and the British Science Association CREST awards.
If your parish, community, or school is interested in the work we are doing, send us an email with your letter of support, project brief or questions, via [email protected]. You can also keep up to date with the progress of pilot by following our social media!