Shelagh Doonan shares her experience of the ‘CAT course Zero Carbon Britain’
Centre for Alternative Technology’s 2-day course - ‘Zero Carbon Britain’
Good learning for good purpose
Following our 25th AGM this year (24/9/20, online), three of us each facilitated a short session exploring three different aspects of AMED’s work:
Julie Allen offered a ten-minute illustrated meditation on the theme of thresholds, both inner and outer, and invited us to remember a threshold or epiphany moment in our lives.
Bella Mehta led an insightful half hour exploration enabling us to reflect on the question:
“How might we in AMED increase the diversity of our membership, particularly in relation to people of colour?”
Between these two sessions, I called my own ten minutes “Good learning for good purpose” (recording upload to our new AMED Network YouTube Channel) and gave a taste of what was for me one of my stand-out learning experiences: a two-day online course in May 2020 with the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) on Zero Carbon Britain.
My end-of-course lightbulb thoughts
Why does this learning event stand out and stay with me so strongly?
Besides great facilitation, there were excellent speakers, including:
transport; housing; food/land-use; energy; well-being; carbon sequestration/peat restoration
Listening to Sonya gave me a series of inspiring lightbulb moments, particularly when she said that her parish of Wedmore (pop. 3.3K) is about one wind turbine away from reaching zero carbon. Her description of the range of macro- (e.g. establishing a solar farm), and micro-projects (e.g. Brownie and Scout Zero Carbon badges) that Green Wedmore have developed, show that Zero Carbon is not only Possible, but is already a Reality at some local levels.
A guiding principle of this course, and of CAT’s work is “Wicked problems need wicked solutions”.
Building alliances across many sectors, multi-solving synergies and virtuous circles- these are illustrated in microcosm in places like Wedmore and many other places across the country that we don’t hear enough about. For instance, there are now about 300 community energy-generation organisations across England and Wales. There has also been a rapid increase in the energy contributions of renewables to the national grid: from 3% to 40% in 15 years.
CAT has recently set up the Zero Carbon Britain Hub & Innovation Lab, to develop and share resources and positive solutions. Following the CAT course, I have been inspired to contribute to this work by collecting and writing up some local stories of carbon-reduction efforts of e.g. a new fruit and veg shop, and our own journey to retro-fit our house.
With thanks to all at CAT.
For CAT Resources (free info, free webinars, research, long and short courses) see
The above notes are also saved in the attached PDF document.