SUSTAINABLE Wallingford started in 2003 when a group of local residents decided to engage with the rest of Wallingford’s residents to alert them to the dangers of what we now call climate change.

This was done through events such as swap shops, film nights, talks, competitions to design a reusable cotton shopping bag, and more.

People joined to learn more about what changes they could make to reduce their carbon footprint.

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Soon there were many members who formed several groups; each group focussed on their particular areas of interest/concern, such as the waste group, the buy local group, and the energy group.

There was also a group made up of representatives from each of the above groups, later formalised with a chair, treasurer and secretary, which had oversight of all the groups’ activities.

This ensured that planned events did not clash and that the overall message to Wallingford and the surrounding area was consistent.

Some years ago, we contacted all the other South Oxfordshire community action groups (CAGs) to see if they would join with us in trying to work more closely with the town, district and county councils.

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All those groups sent a representative. Thus, South Oxfordshire Sustainability (SOS) was born, led then by the much-missed John Gordon.

Sustainable Wallingford also held its Swap Shops for many years to help keep down waste. Many of you will have found a bargain there. We have also run information stalls at events, and held film nights – Peak Oil, Age of Stupid, Trashed, On the Brink, Tomorrow.

Now there is a new kid on the block; Extinction Rebellion (XR). It’s great to see so many people on the streets letting our government know we see it is not doing enough to help our country adapt to climate change.

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However, SOS, XR and Sustainable Wallingford (SW) each have distinct and different roles. SOS deals with councils, XR is about non-violent civil disobedience and SW helps us learn how to reduce our carbon footprint.

We have a plan of activities to help more people reduce their carbon footprint and live more sustainably, but we need more volunteers. Currently, we have just enough people to run the Repair Cafe and the Incredible Edible project. But if you volunteer for a few hours, we could do so much more. No specialist knowledge needed, but welcome if you have some.