Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Quakers

The Religious Society of Friends

Towards Sustainable Derby






See calendar for updates






All meetings are at

Derby Friends Meeting House (Quakers)

in St Helen’s Street.

Start time 12.30 for 12.45

Bring your lunch—tea/coffee provided

Finish at around 2pm

For more information,

call Steve Adams on 07885 410732



Past sessions 2016

There was no meeting in July or August

19 June – 30 Days Wild
Ian Care and Lucy Care introduced an activities session, based on the national wild life month, when Derbyshire Wild Life encouraged everyone to get out into the country.  We looked at plants and trees indoors, and went in the garden to examine our immediate environment more closely.

15 May – Vegan dieting
Gillian MacPherson introduces the subject.  We had eaten vegan for the Welcome Lunch last week, and there were more examples today.  Sally Bramson described her journey to full time veganism.  There were lots of questions and discussion.

17 April – A Review of Living Witness workshop and Swanwick Sustainability conference
Reports from Gillian and Steve, and discussion.

20 March – Film: Dirt, with discussion.
Led by Ian Care and Lucy Care.

18-20 March – National Quaker Conference
at Swanwick – Gillian Macpherson and Steve Adams attended.  See report from Gillian and Random ? Thoughts from Steve.

12 March (Sat am, before Area Meeting) – Living Witness to deliver session:  Where have we got to?  Where are we going?

21 February – Refugees

A century of human migration has started.  Why are there refugees?  How can we help?  What’s likely to happen in the future? We had talks and discussions on this whole challenging subject, including inputs from Gillian Macpherson, Lucy Care, Ian Care, Sarah Wall and Steve Adams.

17 January - Derwent Valley Cycleway

With the aid of photographs and maps Ian Dent led a discussion on how this cycleway could, from Matlock to Derby, faciliate bicycles, horses, people on foot etc. make their way along the river Derwent.

Past sessions 2015

20 December - Spiritual approaches to Sustainability
Gillian Macpherson introduced a miscellany of the writings, poems, and songs, places, journeys and activities, that that have moved those present.  The session was varied in subject and medium, and may well be repeated in the future.

15 November - Reconnecting with the soil                          
In this ‘Year of the soil’, Katy Doncaster demonstrated practical examples, based on the Scandinavian-inspired Forest schools method, of local primary school children enjoying the freedom of creating pots, bread, safe fires, etc, supervised in a local wood, as well as in creating gardens around the school.  The benefits were clear in the growing confidence and self awareness of the children in relating to the natural world. Seven year old Alexander demonstrated this to us in his ability to use a bow saw safely to cut discs from a small branch to make a pendant. Often children with ‘special needs’ who did not achieve in a classroom environment found they could blossom in this situation.

18 October – Bats – What they do for us and what we can do for them
Alan Wragg from Derbyshire Bat Group spoke about bats, why they are important, what we can do to protect them, and where we can find them.  He showed lots of photographs of the different kinds of bats, and told us which we could find in Derbyshire.

20 September - Extreme weather and climate change, Ed Sears led us through a series of detailed graphs and maps showing the way that temperatures and rainfall have increased since the nineteen-sixties.  He anwered qustions from participants and referred to some ways in which people - including the speaker himself - are responding to try to turn the situation around.

16 August - Review Meeting, The facilitator helped the group to look at what we've covered and consider what issues we should focus on in our fourth year. Leader Gillian MacPherson.

19 July - Film: Cowspiracy,  Owing to small numbers, we postponed the update on climate change to September and watched the film Cowspiracy, which reveals that the largest driver of CO2 damage to the atmosphere is the production of live animals for food. We were stunned and began to consider how this might change our eating behaviour.

21 June - Bees: the role they play in sustaining the human race, Ian Care introduced the session, explaining about pollinators, especially the varieties of bumble bees found in the UK.  Chris Ring shared his experience of bee-keeping and his knowledge of bee-keeping elsewhere in Europe.

17 May - Local Exchange Trading Schemes, Mark Simnet tolds us about LETS which enables members of a community to trade skills, goods and services, using their own 'community currency'.  It also performs a useful function in  helping to bring people in communities together.

19 April - Peak Oil - Where are we  now? Lucy and Ian Care provided up-to-date information about the situation regarding fossil fuels, and facilitated discussion about the dependency of our society on them, and how we can reduce it.

15 March - Place Making: turning spaces into places, Place-making challenges the vehicle-dominated culture of our streets.  Dan Robertson (Project Officer, Pocket Places for People) facilitated a lively discussion on place making work that Sustrans and others are doing in Derby and about how we can take it up in our own neighbourhoods.  Tigers on the roads and pavements, and pianos in the street, are memorable examples of the way Dan encourages looking afresh at and behaving differrently towards the envionment.

15 February - Paying Attention, Improving communications between us.  Following on from the November session, Galib Drakovac with the help of Olivia Summerbridge, focused on how to improve communication with friends and family, but also more widely across the community.  We looked at how miscommunication occurs with individuals, groups and society as a whole, and how it can be avoided by focussing on the present, and being open, honest and attentive.  Practical examples helped us to understand the differences.

18 January - 'The Power of Community', Ian Care showed a powerful film about the way that Cuba responded when the Soviet Union collapsed.  Cuba had to get used to not having petrol and other imports which was very similar to the impact that oil running out will have on us  There was initially severe hardship in all sorts of ways but in the longer term the message was quite optimistic because they have learnt to develop a way of living which doesn't rely on oil and which is far more sustainable, respectful of the planet's resources, and more of a genuine community. 

Lucy and Ian Care led us in an interesting tour round our own attempts to und

Past sessions 2014

21 December - How do we use our homes, Shaun Bennett from Derby Homes spoke about how Derby social housing had  been progressively improved for less expecnsive day to day use for the occupier and the local authority, and for sustainability,  Early work was to lower heat loss from the buildings, and then to employ more economical and more effective heating, always seek to use the most up to date systems available.  In some cases, Derby Homes were testing the most recent research products.

16 November - Effective Communication, Lucy Care and Gillian Macpherson led a lively active session in which we considered how others think and how we may build a society that works through understanding each other better.

19 October - Peace and Climate Change- DVD, Ian Care used the DVD to facilitate discussion, considering the relationship between climate change and peace.  Does climate change make conflict more likely? What other solutions are there rather than military ones?  Are there any signs of hope in the world now?  What can we do to make war less likely.

21 September - Stealing our grandchildren's future? - the moral challenges of an ageing population,  Chris Ring led us to think of the differences in lifestyle and expectations between post-50 year olds today, and pre 1945.  We then considered government attitudes to 'frail old people' and their costs, compared with the many ways in which the post-50's assisted our families and our communities, voluntarily, thus saving the government considerable amounts.  We talked about 'well-being' and how the energies of the post-50's could  be used to create this quality of our communities.

17 August - Using Water Well, Edwina Woodland from Severn Trent talked about water supply in the UK and the treatment of water waste.  She gave examples of how Severn Trent is generating renewable electricity and re-think how they dispose of their waste.

20 July - Waste reduction and Recycling, Richard Winter spoke about his experience in the public and private sectors finding ways to as much waste as possible.

15 June - Co-operatives - what are they and why? Ruth Strange helped us to look at some and examples; some failures and challenges, new initiatives and experiments; parallels to Quaker values; and try some co-operative games!  She introduced us to four new networks that have sprung up recently in the UK, and Ruth is now involved in Whole Food Action which will launch its own website in Sepetember.

18 May - A visit to the Derwent hydro-electric plant, Leader, Gethyn Davies from Derby City Council, showed a group of more than a dozen round the hydro-electric facility which provides most of the electricty for the newly-opened Council House.  He answered all our questrions with great good humour - and all on a Sunday lunchtime too!

20 April - Changing Our World Together, Practical Projects from Canterbury Conference.Jacqueline Chambers attended the Climate Change Conference based on the Canterbury Commitment and led the workshop around this theme.  Jacqueline summarised the key areas and sessions she attended at the conference.  The key message in considering our response to the Canterbury Commitment and climate change is we need to start transforming ourselves.

16 March - Community Gardening, Marina Kennedy and Ann Hope told us how they claimed a community space in Nottingham and created a garden for all in that local area.  It was fascinating to hear of the beginnings, the contacts they made, the set-backs they met, and the challenges they faced, before finally succeeding in making a garden that was used and appreciated in the community.

16 February - Keeping us and the house warm, Jeremy Fisk from C-Changes asked us to think about where we use energy in our homes and what opportunities there are to make savings.  He explained about the developments in insulation, room and house heating, and we thought about what progress we had made.  There was a wide ranging discussion and lots of sharing of experiences. ideas and suggestions.

19 January - Green solutions, Lucy and Ian Care led us, as a Meeting and individually, to assess how we did in 2013, and then looked at hopes and plans for the New Year.  We started by considering the issues we had considered during 2013 and the impact they had had on us.  We then discussed what we were most concerned to know more about in 2014.  These were listed and will inform the planning group.

Past sessions 2013

15 December- Chasing Ice, Steve Adams introduced James Balog's fascinating and worrying film, and he and Ian Care led some discussion of the current state of global warning.

17 November - Green Christmas, Kathryn Hey led us in exploring practical ways in which we can plan to have a more sustainable Christmas this year.

20 October - Ethical Investment, Having outlined the different types of ethical investment, Tamsin Caine explored its history and the present situation, which has risen from £1.5 billion at the beginning of the century to £11.3 billion now. She considered the advantages and disadvantages of negative screening, positive screening and dialogue and engagement, and encouraged the group to discuss them.  She warned us of the pitfalls in attempting to invest ethically, and concluded by informing us of other sources of information. 

22 September - Seed and plant swop, Kathryn Hey led a plant and seed swop, from which everybody gained - and learned as well.

18 August - The Transition Network - Transition Belper's experience, Ian Jackson explained how Belper, Transition Town started, with a few volunteers, using Bob Hopkin's book 'The Power of Just Doing Stuff', and have evolved into an inspiring local community that has a real impact on self-sufficiency in Belper.  Local foodstuffs, independent shops, and the creation of hydropower for energy, have all involved ther community in positive projects.  Ian's talk and Powerpoint pesentation showed us how ordinary people can affect their own lives and surroundings in creative ways if the will is there. Transition Towns is a worldwide movement from ground level.

21 July - Food, Ruth Strange from Soundbites started with a discussion of some terms - familiar and unfamiliar - from sustainability. We then considered a definition of sustainability, and went on to anwser some key questions to be answered in order to work towards Derby and ourselves becoming sustainable.

16 June - 'Someone should do something', Lucy Care got us thinking about the actions we want to take and the things that are getting in the way of us doing them. She made us realise that we don't have to solve the problems around us, just make a contritbution to the solution.  She wanted us to see that joining others in the struggle is likely to make more of a difference.

19 May - The clothes we stand up in, Millie Holder discussed some of the issues facing us - and the world - around sourcing, making, buying and disposing of the clothes we wear.  She gave - and displayed - lots of examples of her own work, and encouraged us to think how we could give our fabrics a new lease of life.

21 April - What's in a river? Tim Pickering took us for a virtual tour of the Markeaton Brook and helped us to consider how rivers can help us towards sustainable thinking.

17 March - Use Your LOAF - Choosing what to buy - or not, Following Fairtrade Fortnight (25 Feb - 10th March), Sarah Wall encouraged Friends to buy LOAF (Local, Organic, Animal-friendly, Fair trade) and explored in more detail some of the current challenges in ethical purchasing.  She spoke of research done on major international campaigns to assess their effectiveness.  There was also a chocolate shop before the session.

17 February -  Greener Gardening, Robert Fairbrother, who is researching this area both theoretically and practically, led us in some unexpected directions to understand his thinking.  The following is a flavour.

A garden is something that you make, and a gardener is what the garden makes you ... The garden greens itself, the task is to green the gardener, through slowness, stillness, silence, peace, and especially, listening to the landscape of the soul ..... By this gate we enter into the interconnectedness of the world in which we find ourselves ..... A world in which nothing is lost, and even death is integral.

20 January - Sharing what we've done: Ideas for the Future, Lucy and Ian Care led us in an interesting tour round our own attempts to understand sustainability and begin to move towards sustainability in our own lives.  They encouraged Friends to share their own experiences.  Among other things, we learnt that moving towards sustainability in one area may clash with sustainability in another.