What I learnt setting up an event for sustainability professionals in my local area

The power of shared learning

A photo of a People Planet Pint coaster from the first event Marjolein and Ellie ran in Kendal in 2023.

Subject knowledge is a vital part of CPD for sustainability professionals and translators. So vital in fact, that it’s one of the eight key skills areas listed by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting when completing a CPD entry. If I look at the time I allocated personally to CPD last year, I dedicated almost 50% of it to increasing my subject knowledge. I usually do this by attending webinars, reading articles, listening to podcasts and completing online courses.

But when I consider how I most enjoy learning – in the company of others – there seems to be a missing link. Learning alongside colleagues I find I learn more, retain more detail and have an entirely different (and often more enjoyable) experience to when I’m alone. So how can we translators and sustainability professionals expand our subject knowledge in the company of others in a way that is not too cost intensive?

Finding a sustainability event in my local area

The issue that faced me when I decided it was time to grow my local community of sustainability professionals and increase my knowledge of this subject area was that most of work was carried out from my home office, rather than from a shared space where I might meet like-minded individuals. However, the benefit of working in the sustainability industry is that it is focused on accessibility. After all, for the change required in this sphere, everyone needs to be onboard. Last year, I attended a People Planet Pint (PPP) meet-up at the end of the Better Business Conference in Manchester. The premise of the event was simple – get to know people interested or working in sustainability better by sharing a drink.

I was eager to find a PPP event in my vicinity, so went online to see what the options were: Manchester was the closest, almost 100 miles from where I live! Disappointing, but not surprising. Having had a good look at the website though, setting up a PPP event seemed relatively simple. PPP events are run by Small99, a company focused on helping small businesses reduce their carbon footprints, and sponsored by Krystal Hosting. Small99 provide all the marketing materials, support networks and Eventbrite link information for the event; all I had to do was find a co-host (for my own sanity!), choose a location and pick a date.

A close colleague working in the adventure film industry immediately came to mind as a potential co-host. Ellie Green and her company Summit Fever Media have been making significant strides in how they tackle sustainability, plus she lives nearby. To my relief, Ellie said yes as soon as I asked her. We approached a new café/event space called No Hands Rest in Kendal for the location. They had only recently opened but had shown a conscious and ethical approach to sustainability and marketing.

The first People Planet Pint event for sustainability professionals in Kendal

On the 15th of December, we held the inaugural People Planet Pint event in Kendal. 38 people had registered to attend and 26 turned up on the night. We had people from a wide range of backgrounds: experience in low-carbon built environments, nutrition experts, public sector workers, sports event providers, writers and translators, and film production companies. The most common reason for attending was to learn from others and network.

Following brief introductions, conversations ignited as people learned more about each other. The progression was natural, and conversation seemed to flow easily. Attendees quickly forged new relationships, exchanged details, recommended local companies and services. Best of all, we learned a great deal about everyone’s individual experience of tackling the climate crisis. Actions ranged from renewable energy usage, dietary changes, reducing plastic usage, introducing and supporting young people in their sustainability journeys and growing fruit and vegetables. It really showed that we all have a truly unique way to wrestle with this problem, but that everyone’s contribution is as valuable and worthwhile as the next. When you combine all this expertise, you can really see how much can be learnt from events like these.

A photo taken in No Hands Rest in Kendal during the first People Planet Pint even here. The image shows attendees chatting in small and larger groups.

My key takeaways from our first event for sustainability professionals

Going forward into 2024, I now know that I have a group of local experts with a wide variety of experience I can look to for experience and in-depth knowledge. This is invaluable when you’re increasing your knowledge of a subject area and finding resources to draw on. Over the coming year, we plan to meet at least once every quarter to support and build this new group of individuals.

It was clear from the first meeting that this was something that was lacking in the local area. All who attended are keen for it to flourish over the coming months. Let’s all raise a glass to shared learning!

If you’d like to attend our next People Planet Pint event, keep an eye on my events page for upcoming events. Hope to see you there!

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