I was with Paul and the team from Wales last night and we are now starting to realise the enormity and the honour of what happened. We were at the Royal Geographic Society for the Ashden Award ceremony which is now recognised as one of the blue ribbon sustainability awards in the world. Over £200,000 was distributed to the winners to allow sustainability projects to develop and move to the next level. Through the night winner after winner was announced and these to me were some of the most inspiring sustainability projects i have seen. They ranged from hydro and community development projects in Afghanistan and Indonesia, water purification in Cambodia, the greenest hospital in the uk and the highly innovative lift share website. Those who attended the prestigious Ashden Awards last night were moved to think of the possible which is such a change given the tsunami of constant bad news we seem to be experiencing year after year.
As for the little old team from the National Trust in Wales. Yes we were really pleased to win one of the highly coveted Ashden awards but I was completely blown away when we also won the gold award as the leading UK sustainability project. Still has not really sunk in.
The Ashden Award is much much more than the recognition and funding it brings. the strength of the award from my side is the network, experts and on going development support the award provides to the winners. Even in the three days of the conference and awards there were so many ideas, solutions, partnership possibilities flying around.
For example Puni from IBEKA a community hydro and sustainable development NGO from Indonesia was having a chat with me about old Gilkes turbines in her country. I introduced Mark from Ellergreen to Puni as he specialises in reusing old Gilkes hydro turbines (he went back home and bought back a list of all the Gilkes turbines supplied to Indonesia). They started having a chat around how they could collaborate. Mark and I have an unhealthy fascination with old hydro turbines and their reuse. (Mark has a good collection!)
Later Paul and I were having a chat with Ali from Liftshare which now has half a million people registered with them and sharing journeys (saving fuel, carbon and allowing people to access work) They are in the throes of testing a stunning new journey and lift share planner. This could be an ideal tool for somebody like the National Trust with our 30 million visits a year. Lift share to a property!!. We have been scratching our heads on the carbon emissions from our visitors…more on this I’m sure
and so it went on – Energy for all provided ideal advice on our community hydro, we helped others with our experience on LED lighting.
Our minds are buzzing at the moment with the possibilities. But am I still having a problem with accepting that the National Trust ‘fit for the future’ programme won the Ashden gold award! An uplifting evening. We a had a room full of people who wanted to ‘do stuff’ and not a Hollow Man in sight (T.S. Elliot)