community renewable energy symbol

Embracing the Green Circular Economy: A Step Towards Sustainable Prosperity.  As we begin to understand the challenges of the future, it becomes increasingly evident that the old story of using consumers (us!) to fuel economic growth by buying stuff they don’t need is of course incompatible with the limitations of living on a small island with finite resources.

Amidst multiple challenges, inspiring local projects are emerging that offer sustainable paths forward. One such project is Community Energy Horsham, which embodies the principles of the green circular economy and paves the way for a more prosperous and resilient future.

Community Energy Horsham is a community-funded renewable energy project which aims to harness the power of solar energy, reducing the community’s carbon footprint and promoting clean, sustainable energy generation. By encouraging local investment and involvement, Community Energy Horsham empowers residents, strengthens community ties and provides opportunities for individuals to participate actively in the transition to a greener economy.

This initiative aligns perfectly with the principles of Kate Raworth’s ‘Doughnut Economy which emphasizes the importance of renewable energy, and using only what we need. By generating clean energy locally, Community Energy Horsham reduces reliance on fossil fuels and contributes to a healthier environment for all.

Another Sussex community initiative that embodies the principles of a sustainable economy is the Lewes Pound. Introduced in 2008, this community currency is accepted by most independent stores within the town, keeping money circulating locally. It supports the UN sustainable development goals by reducing carbon emissions associated with transportation and encouraging residents to spend their money locally, supporting over 100 local makers and traders; this is in contrast to the money spent in chain stores which tends to quickly move out of the area.

Other local projects such as the North Horsham Community Land Trust, which we wrote about earlier this year, serve as a testament to the power of creative community-driven initiatives and the potential for sustainable development in our small area. By investing in and supporting Horsham Community projects like the Land Trust or Energy and embracing the green circular economy, we can create a shift while nurturing our local economies.

We can support local companies such as John Lewis, (which pioneered employee ownership way back in 1929) and is 100% owned by its staff, as is the Riverford Veg box scheme where again, all employees are co-owners and as such are a meaningful part of the company rather than being human ’resources’ to be used up then disposed of.

Out-of-town shops such as Rusper Village Stores which is owned by the community are popping up, and buying from market stalls such as the excellent Sussex Peasant supports wholesome, healthier farming practices with bio-dynamic meat, dairy and veg which is picked in Sussex just the day before, and where nothing is ‘waste’.

Perhaps most importantly, all these wonderful initiatives enable a shift in mindset, encouraging us to prioritise living healthy lives in the broadest of senses, to use less and to embrace sustainable practices in all aspects of our lives from our investments to our snacks.

by Morag Warrack

Morag Warrack editorial contributor