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Visit to Centre for Alternative Technology

03/06/2009

Multi-faith visit to Centre for Alternative Technology, Machynlleth

On Thursday 28th May 16 people from the multi-faith project visited the Centre for Alternative Technology, at Machynlleth, North Wales. After a 2 1/2 hour journey we arrived into a fullish car park, which was testament to its popularity,as were the many family and organised groups we saw during our time there.

Trip to CAT, Group Photo

CAT

Since starting on an old quarry site in 1973, CAT has grown to become Europe’s leading eco-centre. It is staffed by 90 permanent staff and volunteers, and a further 60 people during the summer months, and receive around 65,000 visitors every year.

In their own words:

“We offer solutions to some of the most serious challenges facing our planet and the human race, such as climate change, pollution and the waste of precious resources.

We demonstrate practical ways of addressing these problems. Leading by example, we aim to show that living more sustainably is not only easy to attain but can provide a better quality of life.

We address every aspect of the average lifestyle – the key areas we work in are renewable energy, environmental building, energy efficiency, organic growing and alternative sewage systems.

Entrance was via a water-powered vernicular railway. The top carriage filled up and then emptied on reaching the bottom. An example of using what resources were on hand, and in Wales, as everyone knows, there is no shortage of rain-water.

At the top we met our guide for a free 1 hour tour, who was very knowledgeable and obviously passionate about environmental and sustainability issues. She gave us a quick but informative tour of the main areas, which included

the processing and recycling toilet block

recycled wall insulation materials

an eco-house using amongst other things,passive solar heating, floor insulation and wall insulation.

the organic garden

a sustainable transport area

solar and wind power

interactive displays

a large cafe with outside eating area

After lunch we were free to wander at will, and take in the rest of the site or revisit some parts in more detail. There is a lot on offer there, the fruits of over 30 years dedicated work by people at the forefront of sustainability, and it is just about to open the WISE ( Wales Institute for Sustainable Education) centre. This will run state-of-the-art courses for business leaders, policy makers, professionals and students.

In their words again

There are plenty of opportunities to find inspiration, learn about sustainability and get hands-on with our displays, but CAT also provides an environment where visitors can simply relax. There are children’s play areas throughout the centre and plenty of open space where visitors can enjoy the enchanting natural surroundings.

All in all a very interesting and enjoyable day out, which left me feeling that I’d poked my head through the portals of many aspects of sustainabilty and ecology, which upto now have been relatively fringe elements in society, but are now starting to impact on the day to day lives of us all.

There will be another trip to CAT next year for those who are interested.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 05/06/2009 1:57 pm

    I was one of those on the trip. It was very educational without being moralistic …. even if in our project we do try to appeal to faith in getting faith communities engaged in environmental matters.

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