With more than 50 proposed new coal plants being put on the back burner, it would seem that Big Coal is losing friends, even despite its recruitement of cute kiddies to push its message. But while any move away from coal would be a great thing for the environment, what about the communities that depend on coal for their economies? Coal mining communities may do well to start taking note of what’s been going on at the former Ollerton colliery in Nottinghamshire in the UK. Ollerton closed its doors in 1995, resulting in mass unemployment in the community. However, as we read in the ever informative Guardian, the locals were determined to create a brighter, cleaner future for their town:
"We used to say 'where there's muck there's brass' but we'd had enough muck when mining came to an end," says Stan Crawford, the former president of the National Union of Mineworkers in Nottinghamshire, who heads the group's remarkable creation, Sherwood Energy Village.
Looking out over wind turbines, ponds and modern offices angled to trap sunlight, he can now count 600 jobs on the site, as many as when Ollerton colliery finally closed in 1995.
"We knew two other things back then: that we wanted a diverse economy, after years of the pit for the men and the clothes factory for the women, and we didn't want anyone else imposing our future on us," says Crawford.
The energy village also includes rainwater harvesting, and is currently the construction site for some 196 sustainable homes. The project has been so successful that it has won the Silver Jubilee Cup, the Royal Town Planning Institute's highest award. ::Sherwood Energy Village::via The Guardian::