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  • Writer's pictureNina Dar

Nina's Blog: Being Sustainable is not just about climate change

Having recently qualified as a sustainability leader, Nina Dar begins exploring the challenges and realities of achieving sustainability in Warrington. Our Green Warrington will be following Nina's journey...

Being sustainable is not just about climate change, although that is a pretty important element that we must do something about. Sustainability is about meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (McGill University). It is about economics, social needs, and the environment, basically all the elements we need to flourish on this planet.

The United Nations has 17 Sustainable Development Goals that the UK has committed to delivering against. In fact there is a lot of information on the gov website, check out this link:

I was embarrassed that I had never heard of or seen these before I went to study at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leaders (CISL) and I wasn’t on my own.

What I did realise was they made perfect sense. The 17 boxes are our system for life. You may have heard the term “system thinking”? It is a way of viewing things as patterns, cycles, interconnecting themes, instead of single events. This is important when it comes to sustainability because everything is interconnected, actions have consequences and if you do not visualise and analyse the whole picture (positive and negative), change is rarely successful and you can spend a lot of resources chasing a single event - when it may not have been the one that will make the difference.

I am a change agent by profession. 25 years and counting, dedicated to change in the corporate world, system thinking is my thing. But I rarely get to execute it properly because people feel it is easier to focus on THE one thing that will accelerate change. The problem is, it is never one thing and pretending that we have a headline we can all fall behind frustrates people, loses trust and faith that anything will change and usually results in change fatigue. I hate the saying “people don’t like change”. In my experience, people do not like badly managed change and that is what most people get.

We cannot take that approach with our need to be more sustainable.

When I graduated from CISL, they encouraged us to start at home. Look at what was going on our own doorstep and see how we could get involved and make a difference. I have lived in Lymm since 2004 and I really had no idea what was happening in Lymm, never mind Warrington. A global career flying in and out of Manchester airport did not help but if I am honest, I was not really that bothered, I did not think it would interest me.

Lockdown grounded me, CISL helped change my mindset and I have had my eyes opened by my path of local discovery.

Fields and woodland at Lumb Brook Road, Lumb Brook Valley, Warrington

Photo by Dave Weston

Warrington, a population of roughly 209,500, politically split into two, North (labour) and South (conservative). Lymm is in Warrington South, so that is where my discovery started. You can listen to a chat with Bob Barr an

This blog will be published every two weeks, alongside a new episode of the podcast. We will take inspiration from others as well as what is happening in Warrington, here is a summary of what the series will contain or watch the video here

Woolston Eyes Nature Reserve, Warrington

Photo by Dave Bowman

Now we are in a position where we need millions of change agents who understand that we need to live a more sustainable life. We need the pursuit of that change to be inclusive, fun, rewarding and to unite communities everywhere. We will be the ones who need to ensure that we do not compromise the life of future generations. We can not rely on politicians to do the right thing on our behalf, they themselves are compromised. We are mums, dads, grandparents, sons and daughters, customers, consumers, employees, business owners, we have a huge amount of power to decide what happens to our communities, the land around us, businesses, schools, water, energy, housing, town centres, transport and much more. It is up to us to direct those we put in power, help them to know what we want and how we can get there together.

It is community groups like Our Green Warrington and many like them that will make the difference.

Your first action could be as easy as signing up to be part of the group.

Protecting our countryside: Fields at Stockton Lane, Grappenhall

Photo: Our Green Warrington

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