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Blog posts tagged with 'climate change'

Monday, 4 October 2010

New website reports on how the arts in the UK are going green

The website Sustainable Ability is a new arts project that aims:

to help drive forward transformative responses to resource scarcity and climate change from individuals and organisations working in the arts.

It is intended as another point of connection in the growing network of support designed to help the UK’s cultural and creative sector.

Sustainable Ability has just launched a report by Hilary Jennings and Lucy Neal on the cultural sector's response to climate change, along with a Google map of activities, the findings of a survey, and a useful list of additional resources.

For organisations and websites in the UK working in this field, see also: Julie's Bicycle, Tipping Point, Cape Farewell, Arcola, Do The Green Thing and - closer to home - Ashdenizen. See also what the National Theatre is doing to reduce its energy consumption.

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Cookstoves: "secret weapon against poverty and climate change"

Anne Wheldon, Senior Advisor for the Ashden Awards, will be giving a talk in central London tomorrow evening: 'Stoking up a cookstove revolution: The secret weapon against poverty and climate change'.

The event will be held at: The Carpenters Arms Pub, 12 Seymour Place (Marylebone), London, W1H 7NA Time: 18.30-20.30 Admission is free. The event is hosted by HEDON's London RIG. More information.

See also on this blog:

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Blog Action Day announces 'water' as this year's topic

Early this morning, Blog Action Day announced that the topic for October 15 is 'water'. (Last year it was climate change; the year before it was poverty.) The Ashden Awards blog is one of nearly 800 blogs that have signed up to write about water that Friday.

Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from around the world to post about the same issue on the same day "with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action".

Last year 13,606 bloggers from 156 countries joined in the conversation about climate change.

We'll be blogging news on October 15 about Ashden Awards winners, such as: IDEI, CRELUZ, Practical Action and AIDFI (currently nominated for World Challenge award).

As Mary Robinson said in New York last week: "Water is the oil of the 21st century and waste is the gold." Maybe waste will be next year's topic.

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Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Waving to Copenhagen

Guest post by Anne Wheldon, Technical Director at the Ashden Awards.

On Saturday, I went to London with my husband to take part in ‘the Wave’ – the national demonstration to highlight the seriousness of climate change and the need to take action, before the Copenhagen COP meeting. I’m not a ‘Frequent Demonstrator’ but I just felt that it was so important to be there and be counted. And it seems that over 40,000 other people thought the same. The numbers meant that we were still a long way up Whitehall at 3pm, when ‘the Wave’ encircled the House of Commons, but we still waved our placards and blew our whistles.

There’s great media coverage of the event, so here are just a few personal reflections:

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Housing Retrofit is the biggest carbon saver

John Doggart, director of The Sustainable Energy Academy.

Housing emits 27% of the UK’s carbon emissions, providing a huge challenge for the year’s ahead. But the good news is that even owners of the five million older homes have the power to drastically reduce carbon. By retrofitting old houses with energy saving measures you can save between 60-80% of the property’s carbon footprint.

We’re calling on the government to help homeowners and social housing landlords by kick-starting a massive retrofit process. By providing low interest finance that makes repayment costs lower than fuel bill saving, the UK will move closer to meeting the goal of using 80% less carbon by 2050. German experience has shown that a euro spent by Government can stimulate up to six euros of energy improvements.

The Sustainable Energy Academy has set up the Old Home Superhome campaign, a network of more than 40 exemplar hard-to-treat homes across the UK that have reduced their energy use by at least 60 percent. We help ‘Superhome’ owners promote their achievements by opening their houses to the public during Open Days.

The Open Days have inspired thousands of visitors to take action in their own homes by seeing and experiencing the warmth and comfort of a low carbon home, and how easy it is to achieve.

“But how much does it cost?” everyone asks. About the same as you would spend on upgrading a kitchen or bathroom. Well worth it for the huge carbon savings you can make for yourself and for the planet.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Developing countries need appropriate, low-cost technologies

Amitabha Sadangi is Director of International Development Enterprises India (IDEI), winner of the Ashden Award’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2009.

The gravity and magnitude of climate change demands that we get down to quick, firm and sustainable action. I believe our environmental problems are of our own making and if we want to change what lies ahead we need to look at the actions of today.

IDEI is addressing the needs of poor farmers in India by promoting appropriate technologies and by optimising the use of water for irrigation. We have developed a simple treadle pump and drip irrigation technology for small hold farmers that are low cost and environment friendly. Together the two technologies have led to saving over 530 million litres of diesel, over 3000 million cubic meters of water and 417 million kWh of electricity,

Over one million farmers have adopted our technologies – that is around five million people - and made a net income of $1 billion.

We are fixing what exists. As the World Economic Forum highlighted recently, drip irrigation is improving irrigation systems, with reduced wastage of water through evaporation. Now we are advocating for greater accountability by questioning “subsidies” that are leading to the exploitation of our precious water resource.

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Monday, 7 December 2009

Ashden Award winners are pathfinders to a more sustainable future

Sarah Butler-Sloss, Founder Director of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.

Sustainable energy sources which reduce carbon, bring health and education opportunities and a better life to millions worldwide are not some distant dream – they are being used today by over one hundred Ashden Award-winning programmes.

Thousands of miles from Copenhagen, in countries like India, China, Tanzania and Brazil, there are outstanding enterprises delivering affordable and appropriate renewable energy technologies at a local level but on a large scale.

Renewable energy is transforming the lives of people in the developing world: women cooking on safe and efficient smoke-free stoves; children studying with solar lamps and farmers trebling their incomes by using simple treadle pumps to irrigate their crops. A study we commissioned in 2008 found that over 10 million peoples’ lives are being improved thanks to the work of just ten Ashden Award winners.

In the UK, Ashden Award winners are using renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency schemes and decentralised, low carbon sources of heat to create jobs, boost businesses and reduce fuel poverty while at the same time substantially reducing carbon emissions.

However, all these technologies need the political and financial will to scale-up and reach many more millions of people. Now is the time to back these and similar pathfinders to a sustainable future and generate huge social, economic and environmental benefits.

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Friday, 13 November 2009

The real agenda for Copenhagen is tackling poverty

Harish Hande, CEO, Selco Solar Light, Bangalore, India.

Poverty is the greatest threat to our environment. The poor use some of the most inefficient technologies and polluting fuels - not because they are cheap but because they don’t have a choice.

Today’s debate on the climate change treaty is seen as between the developed world and the developing world. It has led the rich in developing countries to hide behind the poor and the poor in developing countries to be short changed. The reality is we all have a vested interested in getting this treaty right – rich and poor.

We have before us a wonderful and unique opportunity – to implement climate change solutions that will also reduce poverty, like affordable solar energy systems. My social enterprise, Selco India has provided 112,000 solar home systems to low income households and institutions. We ensure that the systems are affordable by partnering with microfinance organisations that provide small loans. We have also set up a pilot fund to guarantee the deposits on solar systems for very poor families. Nothing can compare with the thrill of someone switching on a light for the first time and knowing how this can change their life!

Much, much more of this can be done and we are showing just what's possible. If we partner with the poor to create options for them to produce their energy sustainably – be it through renewable energies or clean stoves or biogas – we will get a double whammy: a curb on climate change but also a route for them out of the relentless poverty trap.

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Stoves can help save the planet

Svati Bhogle, Managing Director, Technology Informatics Design Endeavour (TIDE), India

So far India’s media coverage on Copenhagen is all about dissent, discontent and dissonance when it should be about collective resolve and action on climate change.

Copenhagen is about reducing emissions globally but it is also about equitable and efficient use of energy. We require more sustainable use of energy as opposed to today’s abuse in the developed world and misuse in the developing world.

Two billion people - mostly in the developing world – still depend on traditional fuels like wood and charcoal for their cooking and heating. Each day they consume something like 1.2 million tons of biomass for cooking. With fuel efficient stoves these families can cut their energy use in half. They can also avoid the terrible toll of black smoke from inefficient stoves that literally choke the lives of so many women and children.

My organisation, TIDE helps some of the eight million small businesses in South India by providing improved woodstoves and kilns that burn biomass more efficiently and save at least 30 percent of fuel. We're saving well over 40,000 tonnes of wood each year and giving more than 150,000 workers a better, healthier and safer environment to work in as a result.

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Monday, 2 November 2009

Ashden Awards advocate warns against countries pursuing 'narrow interests' in Copenhagen

Speaking as officials gather in Barcelona tomorrow for a final round of negotiations, Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said:
"I gave all the world's leaders a very grim view of what the science tells us and that is what should be motivating us all, but I'm afraid I don't see too much evidence of that at the current stage.

Science has been moved aside and the space has been filled up with political myopia with every country now trying to protect its own narrow short-term interests. They are afraid to have negotiations go any further because they would have to compromise on those interests."
Read the full story in the Guardian
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