Big Green Weekend

This was held in Hebden Bridge back in February. Clive Mingham, of Manchester Friends of the Earth, reports:

The idea behind this event was to promote all aspects of "green" living to the public at large, and at the same time be entertaining and informative. In keeping with the green spirit I cycled for an hour and a half to get there. Exhibits were spread throughout Hebden which was looking particularly beautiful as there was new snow on the valley sides. Unfortunately the cold weather spoiled the demonstration of passive solar heating as the water in the panels was frozen! At least the sun shone and enabled the solar panel exhibits at Hebden's Centre for Alternative Technology to function impressively. It turns out that if every house in the country had a solar panel roof the UK could do without at least one power station. The cost of panels is coming down and their efficiency is going up so at some point this is going to be feasible. There already exists a house in Surrey which generates so much solar electricity that it exports its surplus to the National Grid.

Another interesting and topical exhibit concerned "green" fuels. Several cars were shown running on alternatives to petrol and diesel. These included a Volvo Estate running on vegetable oil and a Toyota Landcruiser running on liquefied petrolium gas (LPG). I would have been more sympathetic had these cars not been gas guzzling symbols of overconsumption. Clearly, car use needs to be reduced alongside improvements in efficiency and fuels. Hopefully there will come a day when being seen in a big car will carry the same stigma as being seen wearing a leopard skin coat.

Overall it was an interesting weekend and I would go to a similar one particularly if it was held at a warmer time of year.

Clive Mingham, Manchester Friends of the Earth (0161 834 8221,

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© Networking Newsletter (April 2001)