This section is a kind of gallery of different
groups, projects and ideas that we particularly like and think
will be inspiring to other people. There is a vast amount
of activity, so this could be overwhelming. On the other hand
people don’t realise how much there positive activity
there is, and far more depressing things dominate the mainstream
media. We hope our choices will inspire you.
The main pressure group in the UK specifically devoted to
campaigning to reduce airport growth, as well as aviation
growth. See www.airportwatch.org.uk
There are lots of schemes where you can be counted as you
make changes. For example The Carbon Account enables you to enter meter readings and vehicle mileage, calculates emissions and shows progress on a graph. Carbon Independent is a clear, simple footprint measuring website with full references.
Just one return flight from London to New York produces a greater carbon footprint than a whole year's personal allowance needed to keep the climate safe. Our carbon footprint is the estimated amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) given out as we travel, buy food, heat our homes and enjoy our usual lifestyles. See www.carbonindependent.org
Sustainable Tourism Project) benefits the environment
Cornwall by developing sustainable tourism. It offers public
training and a network for members who can be tourism providers
other kind of group wanting a sustainable Cornwall. As well
practical advice on waste, energy, transport, building and
local food, they
aim to make tourism accessible to all those who have been
excluded, for example by disabilities. They want to spread
their example to
the whole of the UK. See www.cstn.org.uk
Climate Change Action Groups
Climate Outreach and Information Network
(COIN) in Oxford is setting up groups for people who want
to come together to share thoughts, ideas, feelings and concerns
on climate change. COIN aims not only to achieve sustained
and concerted Oxford action on climate change, but also to
use the Oxford experience as a "test bed" for expanding
COIN activities out nationally.
Conventional approaches to climate change
prescribe set activities, targets, and result areas and provide
a rigid “check list” for activities. Motivational
theory shows that a more flexible approach based on self-directed
learning is likely to be more effective and easier to replicate.
The Action Groups adopt a more flexible method, using a "learning
set" or "Study Action Group" (SAG) model based
on self-directed learning.
Action Groups themselves can be composed of individuals, friends,
acquaintances, neighbours or work colleagues. Action groups
can grow out of already existing organisations or larger groups.
The group collectively decides whether an Action Group exists
for a limited time or for a single purpose or is allowed to
do other things and continue on a permanent basis. In similar
fashion, Action Groups can be formal or informal, have a coordinator,
a leader or none at all. Their shape, form and size will vary
tremendously but they are best kept small. See www.coinet.org.uk
Climate porn a
The two most prominent media messages on climate are “we
are all doomed” and “I’m doing my bit for
the planet”. People put these together and conclude
that the small actions on offer cannot possibly help, and
probably nothing will. In its report Warm Words, the IPPR
said that the doom and gloom message is prominent because
it is secretly thrilling, they called it “climate porn”.
The small actions include kettles, car journeys and light
switches. In fact there are accessible, substantial actions
that will help if a minority actually do them. The focus should
be on big actions like installing cavity wall insulation or
solar power, and these must be seen as “things people
like us do”.
Link to press release: www.ippr.org/pressreleases/?id=2240
Link to full report: www.ippr.org/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=485
Energy Beyond Oil; Paul Mobbs,
2005; Matador Publishing, published under the Creative Commons
Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. £15.99
Paul Mobbs talks about giving people
the confidence to change the way society operates. “A
low energy lifestyle, powered by renewable energy and some
manufactured energy (like biofuels), is entirely possible
using existing technologies”. There will be a range
of options depending on how people would like to work in a
future low energy society. I prefer to think of this as being
high energy in many ways, in the sense of being more alive,
working harder but more healthily, and putting out far less
carbon to destabilise the world. This book is a useful textbook
about how we get our energy now, and how it needs to change
in the next 40 to 50 years. I have kept reading it ever since
I got it, because it requires time to take in all the implications
of peak oil. See www.fraw.org.uk
Green burial: the Eternal Forest
A small charity restoring a wood on the beautiful Llyn Peninsula
in North Wales. “We are managing it organically, as
a nature reserve where we can provide burials. We plan to
nurture and protect many more areas of woodland, and will
do our utmost to ensure that they will be natural woodland
in perpetuity. Our woods will never be sold or clear-felled.”
The town of Kinsale in Ireland has started
planning its descent from oil dependency. A Permaculture lecturer
at the local college organised a meeting involving most sections
of the community; students put the plan together and it will
be revised every year to monitor progress. See transitionculture.org
Heat: How to stop the planet burning,
George Monbiot, 2006
Click for Ann's book
review and plan
for action on climate change.
We and our pets are energy sources too!
A cat’s power is about 11 watts. An average human at
rest is 60 Watts but this increases to 500 Watts if we are
dancing. What better excuse for a party?
local industrial and provident society in Lewes, an offshoot of the Transition Town. It is run on a shoestring with a half-time worker and support from the voluntary directors but has the contract for the council's grant scheme and energy advice, and is raising a share issue for PV on the local brewery. OVESCo stands for Ouse Valley Energy Services Company. See: www.ovesco.co.uk
TEQs: tradable energy quotas
Each of us would be given carbon credit
cards to spend on transport, home energy, food and other goods.
If we chose to fly everywhere, we would then find it difficult
to have enough hot water. See www.teqs.net
There are now thousands of Transition Towns all over the world. See www.transitiontowns.org.
Russell Smith took the worst possible east-west facing Victorian house and made it low energy with internal wall insulation and windows that lose less heat than most people’s walls. See www.parityprojects.com for much more that the project now does.
The Wasteless Society
This has given rise to a multitude of low carbon, low waste cooperatives and projects in the Bishop’s Castle area of Shropshire.
For more information and up to date news see www.wasteless.co.uk
Women’s Environmental Network
The Yellow House
For local food, growing your own, local groups, and a women’s perspective on climate change and much more. WEN is a unique, vital and innovative campaigning organisation which educates, empowers and informs women and men who care about environmental issues. Visit www.wen.org.uk and join.
Very detailed account of converting a 1930s house in Oxford, looks as if it helps you learn the principles behind energy in houses, as you follow their process. George Marshall is one of the founders of COIN. See theyellowhouse.org.uk