WE in Wallingford and surrounding area are fortunate.

Not only do we live in a beautiful part of the country and in an age when most of us don’t know real poverty, but we also live at a time when there are so many opportunities.

We live in a vibrant community here reflected in the fact that there are so many clubs and organisations in which we can play a part.

Also, there are many volunteering opportunities: charity shops, and many other charitable organisations, all looking for some of your time.

It used to make me laugh when Mr David Cameron spoke about his ‘big society’. Had he not realised that volunteers were already keeping the country going?

It is often volunteers who keep a community sustainable, ongoing and thriving.

Another aspect of sustainability is the more obvious one: being environmentally aware, living sustainably.

That just means living in a way that does not use more than one’s share of resources, even if you have the income to enable you to do so.

It’s so easy once money becomes less tight to use a car more than buses because it’s comfortable and convenient.

It’s easy to feel less anxious about the heating bill and not put on the extra jumper.

When food shopping, it’s tempting to not be so careful about buying more than is needed therefore creating waste.

And at Christmas, the temptation is strong to splash out – not only on the cost of a gift – but the number of gifts. We’ve all been there.

But for the sake of our children and future generations, we need to try harder to use fewer resources so that they continue to have the choices we have enjoyed. We could eat less meat, more vegetables; keep the heating down and wear warm clothes, to reduce fuel bills and CO2 emissions; use buses more than cars. Walk or cycle for your own health. Play Secret Santa where you buy one gift for the person whose name you pick from a hat.

This is Extinction Rebellion’s Hierarchy of giving gifts. Give memories (memberships, event tickets), give your time, upcycle (repurpose old items), buy second hand (antique and charity shops), make (craft, bake treats), ethical buy and last resort buy new.

Join us at Ribizli Cafe, 53 St Mary’s Street on November 30, 3pm - 6pm to experience the joys of a sustainable Christmas. See our facebook page for details.