In the last of the reports from the Vision Group's AGM last week, Sidmouth College students Mabel Cornwell and Chris Turner talked about Sustainable Development from the perspective of their colleagues. They touched on three areas:
Mabel and Chris said there is great awareness of the need to reduce carbon emissions, but because bus fares to school are so expensive for over-16 year olds (£6.40 return Newton Poppleford), there is little incentive to use public transport. Young people are learning to drive from the earliest possible opportunity, which means there are lines of cars outside the College every day.
There was considerable sympathy from amongst the audience, many of whom felt it was unfair that those over 60 were entitled to a free bus-pass, whereas those under 18 were not. It seemed to be 'loading the costs onto the next generation'
[See the previous talk: The culture of 'entitlement' amongst Baby-Boomers means that future generations are expected to pay as times get harder - and yet, because of widespread illiteracy about these issues amongst younger generations, this situation is being accepted. Futures Forum: VGS AGM: sustainable development: the bigger picture]
> THE BRAIN DRAIN
Most of Mabel and Chris's contempoaries wanted to leave Sidmouth after College, either for work or for university - which meant that the 'motivated and intelligent are leaving'.
Again, their concerns were echoed in the audience - that there are no jobs available and that house prices are too high. Others expressed the feeling that 'money should be channeled to the young, at the beginning of their lives, rather than saddling them with costs, as they are the future.'
> LOCAL PRODUCE
Mabel and Chris made it clear that their peers are well aware of the need to reduce food miles - and would rather have strawberries grown at home in back gardens rather than flown thousands of miles to supermarket shelves. But people say they don't have the time or money for such things - and yet locally-produced food is often much cheaper...
It was also appreciated that locally-produced food is good for the local community because it encourages money to be circulated locally.
On this note, members of the audience mentioned the energy group SVEAG's consideration of a Community Energy Scheme which would produce a district heating system - which would keep product, resource and jobs 'in-house'.
See: Vision Group for Sidmouth - Energy