UN World Environment Day – how ONCA ‘consumes with care’

Authored by George Pundek

As you may know, today is the UN World Environment Day. An annual event, #WED15 aims to encourage worldwide awareness and action for the environment, with this year’s message being to “consume with care”. Given the importance of the day, we’d like to invite you to consider the practical ways we can uphold these aims as individuals and as a community. Indeed, here at ONCA, we believe we can all go further by minimising consumption in order to maximise environmental care. Do you, however, often feel daunted by the task? Or find it hard to source materials? Or feel like simply recycling your plastic bottles is merely a drop in the ocean?

A recent challenge for us was our endeavour to uphold this aim during our refurbishment of the ONCA Centre. Yet this provided us with an opportunity to see the benefits of collaborative problem-solving, and its powerful results. For despite the scale of the task, we were able to ensure that 85% of all paint used was paint recycled or intercepted from incineration and landfill, something made possible by the kind donations from local company New Life Paints. All of our wood has been reclaimed either from local skips or from Brighton-based The Wood Store, who collect waste timber for reuse and recycling. The brilliant people from the web-based stuff-sharing service Freegle also donated most of our new office furniture and supplies, and inspired us with their passion for recycling unwanted goods. Meanwhile, Alys Dobbie of Nanadobbie hosted an upholstery workshop, upcycling colourful spare fabric to reupholster the donated furniture. This is all part of our aim to build a bank of skills, through which people can exchange their specialist knowledge in a non-consuming, democratic and non-monetary way.

The completed ONCA Centre thus stands as a testament to the potential of minimising consumption, and more importantly to the creativity, generosity and imagination of ONCA’s community of volunteers, friends and supporters. We are eternally grateful to all those who helped in this achievement, and thanked them at the launch of the centre on May 30:

 Brighton Vox Choir performing at the ONCA Centre Launch Party


Do you know of other methods of minimising consumption, or perhaps have ideas? Do you have your own plans for World Environment Day 2015? Let us know on Twitter @ONCAnetwork