Sunday, 22 February 2009

The Centre for Alternative Technology

Image of eco-cabins robbed recycled from CAT's website

This weekend, together with a bunch of cool people from Green and Away, I stopped in an eco-cabin at the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) in Wales.

The place is set in a beautiful wooded valley and the site itself is full of life, with trees and many plants growing up, and a lot of wildlife flying, scurrying, croaking and clucking around. This in itself is quite surprising considering the majority of the site evolved atop a slag heap of waste material from a slate mine!

What is most inspiring about the place is that it has been created by a bunch of committed people, containing many specialists in their field, who find out about or invent technology that may help people live sustainably, build it, try it out and see what works. They then share the knowledge that they gain and train others in using it.

This has resulted in a lush site full of many interesting things: living and working spaces that are beautiful, energy efficient and built in sustainable ways; pollution-free ways of powering everything such as microhydro, wind power and the like; sand filtered water from a reservoir; organic food and herb gardens; amazing ways of treating waste, such as reed beds for a very ornate and healthy way of treating sewage; and many other things. The site works so well that they are actually net exporters of power, providing the rest of the electric grid with more energy. Neither do they require mains water or any help dealing with sewerage. They started out with very, very little money too.

It is quite amazing to see what is possible. Often we live in dull buildings in ugly cities, that are hugely inefficient, very polluting, isolating, harmful to life and just generally not that pleasant to live in. But we could be living in such beautiful places within a happy, supportive community where life could thrive, oh, and accidentally save the world1 while doing it!

1 humans' place in the world

2 comments:

  1. good to know that such a place exists... :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yeah :) It is very positive

    If you select France here http://www.cat.org.uk/links/links_content.tmpl?subdir=links&sku=LINKS_EEC there might be similar places near you

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