I had an inspiring day at yesterday’s Ashden conference. The focus of the day was on changing public attitudes and behaviour to encourage sustainability and there was a fantastic variety of projects on show demonstrating this, from the UK and worldwide. Who could have guessed that the National Trust were able to cut energy use at their properties in Wales by 40%?! If they can do this with all the barriers of heritage planning, anyone can.
Common features were community participation and engagement from the earliest planning stage and taking people along with you as the project develops. Clear objectives and good internal and external communications were key.
A highlight for me was talking to Tri Mumpuni (pictured left) of Indonesian group IBEKA, who develops community owned micro hydro schemes (a familiar concept to us at Practical Action) in Indonesia. Her sheer persistence with the authorities in her country has resulted in delivering 61 schemes, providing clean, renewable energy to 54,000 people. Other organisations were energetically distributing low cost solar lights and chargers, ceramic water filters and microfinance for renewable energy systems.
But the most obvious quality on display was passion – for sustainability, for their projects and above all to help improve the lives of others. With energy high on the agenda at the Rio+20 summit in June, it is uplifting to discover that there are so many people out there making a difference. With their help and enthusiasm Energy for All by 2030 may just be an achievable goal.