about the "our south west" project
focusing on a sustainable and resilient future
Since its launch in 1999, www.oursouthwest.com has been an on-line champion for sustainability in the South West of England. Its aim has been to provide a useful one-stop-shop of internet access to news, information, environmental data, contacts and links for everyone working towards a more resilient and sustainable future for the South West, including business managers, policy makers, environmentalists, teachers, lecturers and school, college and university students.
The editorial policy of this website has always been politically neutral and www.oursouthwest.com does not endorse or accept liability for the goods, services or other activities of organisations featured.
Its role has evolved on a continuous basis, as other organisations have come and gone or developed their own web based resources previously hosted by www.oursouthwest.com. Today the site is undergoing continual rationalisation whilst it continues to hold several key documents and reports concerned with sustainability, climate change and resource efficiency issues for the South West as well as hosting web pages for key regional organisations or projects on those subjects. These can be found via the site's A - Z Site Index.
In its "BUSINESS" section, the site contains an extensive range of advice, special management guides including our ground-breaking guide on "Resource Efficiency & Corporate Responsibility - Managing Change", our nationally recognised "Greener Events" practical guide to help reduce the environmental impacts of conferences and seminars, tools and sources of help, and also hosts the web pages for the South West Energy & Environmental Management Groups (EEMGs).
During 2008 a photo gallery was added to mark the project's 10th anniversary in January 2009. The South West is an amazingly beautiful region and the photographs featured in the photo gallery from around the region help mark and celebrate that fact. The photographs have been made available for free download and use by others.
Following the Government's decision in July 2010 to close the Government Office Network including GOSW, www.oursouthwest.com's managing editor, Phil Harding, retained responsibility for the continuing management and rationalisation of this website (on a voluntary not-for-profit basis). He also took over ownership of the website on a not-for-profit basis pending a possible transfer to another organisation or agency based in the South West of England that might wish to take over this useful and valuable resource.
Note 1. The popular "Quotes Corner" originally created by Phil Harding on www.oursouthwest.com was transferred to the philharding.net website in August 2010 where its development continues. It features a vast range of quotes and quotations that continue to grow: environmental quotes, sustainable development and sustainability quotes, quotes about business and the environment and business and sustainability, quotes about the importance of people and social issues, as well as quotes containing pearls of wisdom and wit. The purpose of "Quotes Corner" is to inspire (and entertain!) and make the quotes available to others for communicating the sustainability message.
Note 2. The British Library has held archived copies of the www.oursouthwest.com website since 2008. If you wish to trace past papers/pages from www.oursouthwest.com you may find such material from this link: http://www.webarchive.org.uk/ukwa/target/9175112/source/alpha.
The Managing Editor for www.oursouthwest.com is currently
The team that supported the www.oursouthwest.com website
Contact details are on the home page of this web site.
All those behind oursouthwest are very grateful to regional partners and the many individuals whose work, activities and contributions are published or highlighted on this website. Their work towards a more sustainable future for the region (and beyond) is extremely important and highly valued.
The original "our south west" project came about after the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) organised a regional consultation conference "Sustainable Futures for the South West" that was held at Bristol Zoo in November 1996. The purpose of the conference was to consult with regional partners and key interest groups on how sustainable development could become more of a mainstream issue for the region.
Outcomes from this conference included the production of "Changing for the Better", a general guide to sustainable development and the South West - this is featured on the www.oursouthwest.com millennium archive, and work that led to the creation of the region's round table for sustainable development, Sustainability South West. One particular recommendation to emerge from the conference was that GOSW should develop a project involving young people and the concept of sustainable development*.
*Sustainable Development (a definition): At its heart sustainable development is the simple idea of ensuring a good quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. It is about
living within the carrying capacity of the environment so that how we live, work and enjoy leisure activities, does not harm or put undue pressures on the environment. It is about ensuring everyone has the opportunity to have a decent education, a quality environment that they take pride in, good health and a decent job.
Positive approach to sustainability
After consulting with a range of experts, Plymouth Young Persons Agenda 21 (PYPA 21), various contacts and regional partners, GOSW's then "Environment and Energy Management Team" developed a project to promote sustainable development to the region's young people.
The aim was to emphasise the positive side of sustainability by valuing the beauty and diversity of the region rather than concentrating on negative aspects such as waste and pollution. GOSW offered the region's young people an opportunity to identify what they themselves felt was special about the South West at the millennium where they lived. Their views and images of what was special about the region to them so that they would want to secure a sustainable future were sought during 1998; the outcome was featured in a millennium archive called "Our South West".
This unique archive, which also featured special items of interest submitted by local authorities and other organisations and a bio-diversity audit of the South West region, is featured in the millennium archive.
The name "our south west" was chosen to represent pride, value and a sense of common ownership and responsibility: "this is a great place to be, it belongs to all of us, we all have a responsibility to look after the South West and secure a sustainable future". The original concept of "our south west" still remains; it sets a challenge to value what we have - and to care for and protect it by working towards a more sustainable future.
Having collected contributions from throughout the region, in January 1999 GOSW launched the "our south west" millennium celebration of "what is great about this part of England" at a televised event in Bristol. The project was launched with its own website, a CD ROM millennium archive and, during 1999, a touring exhibition of selected images from the project which travelled to Bristol, Plymouth, Bodmin, Bridgwater, Dorchester, Yeovil, Salisbury and Tewkesbury.
Over 12,000 visitors had the opportunity to see the exhibition and there was extensive coverage on local TV, radio and in local newspapers. During 1999 nearly 400 SW secondary schools applied for and received their own free copy of the CD ROM millennium archive.
Special "our south west" sustainable development awards were made from October 1999 to October 2001. Details of the awards can be found via the site's A - Z Site Index.
The original team
The original production team for the "Our South West" project in 1998/99 was led by Phil Harding, Regional Energy & Environmental Officer at GOSW and comprised Martin Boulton - Agenda 21 Co-ordinator (now with Phil Yarrow Consulting Ltd), GOSW; Theo Wood, Terri Gough and Rob Stafford of COI - Bristol and, for CD ROM and website design and production, Ian Newton of !Xclaim Multi Media. Other partners involved in the original project included: The Environment Agency (SW), the SW Biodiversity Partnership, PYPA 21, Avon Environmental Education Liaison Group, Devon Environmental Education Working Group, Common Ground, The CREATE Centre (Bristol), Sustainable Somerset, Tony Whitehead (RSPB), Nigel Howe, Wendy Emmett, BBC and Barclays Bank (who sponsored the touring exhibition).
Progress and expansion of oursouthwest
Within weeks of its launch and during the course of 1999, the oursouthwest team at GOSW undertook major development and expansion of the website. This was in response to the perception that emerged during the development stage of the oursouthwest project that a rapid growth in the use of the internet and e-mail was underway for communicating information of all types. The oursouthwest team at GOSW wanted to ensure that all interested parties in the region would be able to readily access key regional and national sustainability information.
The site was to become the region's flagship for promoting sustainable development issues and was probably one of the world's first regional websites dedicated to encouraging and enabling sustainable development at the local, regional and business level.
As society moves forwards in the 21st Century sustainable development will increasingly be seen to be a resilience issue for protecting and enhancing our quality of life within ever decreasing environmental limits.
(Last reviewed February 2013)
www.oursouthwest.com is run on a voluntary not-for-profit basis so it is not, as a general rule, open for sponsorship support from either commercial or not-for-profit organisations although in some circumstances this is permissible to help cover management time and costs. The preferred format is through a text link clearly showing sponsorship of the page (or of the whole website) where the link appears. The Managing Editor is open to proposals but see the "Notes" below.
The oursouthwest editorial team does not endorse or accept liability for the goods, services or other activities of organisations featured on www.oursouthwest.com.
Note 1. Any sponsoring organisation should be one that shares the corporate social responsibility (CSR) objectives and values behind www.oursouthwest.com (see the section 'origins' above for definition of sustainable development). The acceptability of the CSR credentials of potential sponsors is at the discretion of the oursouthwest managing editor.
Note 2. Any sponsorship support will be made clear to visitors. Such disclosure is important, just as online and offline consumers want to see the nature of any paid relationships (for example, a newspaper advert headed by the word "Advertisement").
© All material on this site is copyright material from various sources, including: RSPB, English Nature, National Trust, Government Office for the South West, English Heritage, Environment Agency, Government News Network (GNN) - Bristol, Alan Watson, Amy Wynn, R S Key, Phil Harding, Rachel Malone, Elizabeth Cooksey, !Xclaim Multimedia and various other individuals indicated at source. Material from www.oursouthwest.com can be reproduced as long as the source is shown to be www.oursouthwest.com together with any other named author/originator where shown.
www.oursouthwest.com is managed by philharding.net