One Planet Swansea logo
Swansea Councillors are being asked by members of the ‘One Planet’ Swansea working group to pass a motion declaring that Swansea City become a ‘one planet’ city. The text of the email sent to all councillors reads:

I would like to ask you to support a motion for Swansea Council to adopt the framework of One Planet Swansea which has been put forward by The Centre for One Planet Living whose director is David Thorpe, author of the book ‘One Planet’ Cities: Sustaining Humanity within Planetary Limits.

What is it?

If everyone in the world lived the way we do in Wales we would need three beautiful planet Earths to support us. Already the world as a whole requires 1.6 Earths to support the way we live.

This is why we have a climate and extinction emergency that has been acknowledged by Swansea Council.

As a solution, we propose a comprehensive ‘one planet’ framework that will cause system change over time to reduce the impact of our way of life to the level that the planet can provide, and reintroduce more nature into our environment. It means more local production and supply, an end to waste, more jobs, greater prosperity and improved health. There is everything to gain.

Any public or private body within the region can use the framework to optimise their spending decisions in order to achieve the goal of making Swansea reduce its ecological and carbon footprint to a measurably sustainable level, as aspired to in the Well-Being of Future Generations Act.

The time period is defined (say, fifteen years). Capacity building would be given in the use of accounting tools to heighten awareness of the impacts of different versions of spending decisions on supply chains and infrastructure. The enthusiasm of citizens would be harnessed to help reach this goal.

What’s happened so far?

Swansea Rural Development Programme (RDP) Local Action Group (LAG) has already taken on board the first steps of this framework by commissioning work to reframe their Action Plan and the RDP around the ‘one planet’ framework – this will affect the rural areas around Swansea.

The LAG members say it would be much easier to achieve their aim if the City Council was on board as well, since the rural is inextricably linked to the urban areas, as a market for goods and services produced in the surrounding countryside, and as a destination for urban dwellers.

Members of the One Planet Swansea Working Group, which contains representatives of different local groups including the Swansea Environment Forum and several councillors, have presented the One Planet Swansea framework to Martin Nicholls, Director of Place at Swansea Council.

His response is: “This does indeed look like a comprehensive analysis.” However he says that the council lacks the funds to commission a baseline exercise to determine the existing ecological footprint of the area. “This isn’t through lack of interest or commitment but simply lack of funding.”

Why a motion?

We believe that if a motion was passed by the council signalling an intention to become One Planet Swansea this would be tremendously exciting, and attract much attention locally and around the country, because they will be the first city to do so.

This in itself could stimulate the potential for funding to emerge, through various bodies – for example members of the Public Service Board and the wider Swansea Bay City Region – chipping in together to raise the necessary sum to commission the work, which is not a large amount.