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The Rotary Club of St Andrews held its weekly virtual meeting. One of its own members, Daphne Biliouri-Grant, was the speaker. Since being able to retire two years ago she has concentrated her time on volunteering in her local community, here in St Andrews. She spoke to us about one of the many projects with which she is involved, Sustainable St Andrews. This is a long-term project that was created in response to the ongoing issue of our global environmental crisis. It requires not an immediate solution but a transformational change in both behaviour and education, not only in how we function as individuals but also as businesses and organisations. The plan is to develop a clear and unified sustainable strategy that will be supported by the four main stakeholders in the town: the University of St Andrews, the R & A, the Links Trust and Fife Council. It is essential to get the support of these bodies so that they feel part of the project.
Last year Daphne led a project to have a Plastic Free St Andrews and Sustainable St Andrews has grown from the knowledge she gained from the contacts she made in the food and drink sector in the town of which there are 144 outlets. She was able to make contact with them all and ascertained that a high percentage were very keen to eradicate the single use of plastics in their businesses.
It is important that Sustainable St Andrews engages with the main businesses in the town but also with local community groups. Daphne is already engaged with three of them. They are the North East Fife Community Hub, St Andrews Botanic Gardens, and the Fife Climate Action Community Network. It is hoped that in the future many other community groups will become involved.
The United Nations believes that partnerships are needed to achieve a sustainable future. Daphne identified three distinct groups in the town, each of which must be engaged: residents, students and visitors. Changing attitudes to sustainability takes time but, as our speaker said, “You never know if it will work unless you try it.” Angela Fowlis thanked Daphne for an inspiring and informative talk. The many questions put to Daphne by her fellow Rotarians were a measure of how interesting and thought provoking the talk had been.
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