h.Energy week will run from 10th to 16th October. It aims to raise awareness of carbon reduction and renewable energy activities in Herefordshire. It is being organised by Herefordshire newleaf http://www.herefordshirenewleaf.org.uk/ During the week there will be dozens of open houses demonstrating renewable energy technologies and sustainable building techniques, an energy showcase at the Shirehall with speakers (me included) and exhibitors, but perhaps most exciting of all the presentation by the consultants Wardle Armstrong of their study on the possibilities of renewable energy in Herefordshire.
All the h-Energy events count as just one of the 4,376 events organised in 173 countries as part of the Global Work Party organised by 350.org for 10th October 2010: 10/10/10 (see http://www.350.org/ ) More events are being organised daily. This, like the 24th Oct action last year, establishes 350.org ‘s climate change campaigning as the biggest global political/environmental action in history. All this is excellent, necessary, and has my full support. However these actions and the actions of individuals in relation to their own houses and lifestyles have limited power to actually reduce Co2 total emissions. We need the bigger changes that can only be made by councils, governments and international agreements. Copenhagen was a failure and so far both the UK government and Herefordshire Council’s policies have been far from inspiring.
It has been my mission over the last few years to write and speak about the most inspiring examples that I can find. Very often these inspiring examples are led by visionary councils and mayors who seek dramatically more ecologically sustainable developments which also lead to greater economic prosperity. The Danish island of Samso, the Chinese city of Baoding and the Austrian town on Gussing are three wonderful examples. Perhaps the Wardle Armstrong report will make the right kind of recommendations and inspire Herefordshire Council to rewrite its local development framework document and set our county on a low carbon sustainable development path as inspiring as the Austrian town of Gussing, about which I’ll write next week, and which has reduced Co2 emissions by an amazing 93%!