The Community Behind Europe's Leading Eco-Centre (Video)
Image credit: Centre for Alternative Technology
As one of Europe's leading renewable energy education centers, the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) has featured regularly on TreeHugger. From its experiments with DIY biochar through building the high-tech Wales Institute for Sustainable Education, to releasing an ambitious 20 year plan for a Zero Carbon Britain, CAT somehow manages to straddle both the big-picture policy perspective, and the crunchy-granola DIY aspects of eco-living. Many people don't realize, however, that beyond the visitors centre and workshops and reports, CAT is also a living, breathing intentional community. But a new video reveals a little more about what it's like to live at CAT. The community at CAT, which I have had the pleasure of visiting on a number of occasions, consists of long-term residents and short-term volunteers living in a mixture of old quarry workers' houses (CAT itself is housed in an old slate quarry), and purpose-built eco-dwellings. At any one time there are as many as 16 people, including adults, teenagers and young kids living on site, and they work together to uphold the center's principles of "preserving biodiversity, combating climate change and promoting global equity."
Much like the video about Findhorne Ecovillage that I posted on back in August, it would have been nice to hear a little more about the decision making process at CAT, methods of conflict resolution etc. While I'm sure that life is as rewarding and interesting as this video makes it appear, consensus-based decision making doubtless creates its own unique challenges which would be interesting to learn about.
But I guess that would need a much longer video. (And an even longer meeting to agree on the content!)
More on the Centre for Alternative Technology
Centre for Alternative Technology—Europe's Leading Eco-Centre
DIY Biochar: CAT Explores Terra Preta
Paul Allen of the Centre for Alternative Technology
Wales Institute for Sustainable Education