CAT Chief Executive honoured in third sector leader awards

We’re extremely proud to announce that CAT Chief Executive Adrian Ramsay has been named as one of five rising stars in the third sector by charity leaders’ network ACEVO.

The ACEVO Fellowship Awards champion inspirational and emerging leaders from across the country, identifying those who deserve greater recognition for their work and achievements locally, nationally and internationally.

Adrian, who has been CAT’s Chief Executive since June 2014, said:

14303695647_81c9e69a4d“This award is a great recognition of CAT’s achievements over the last couple of years and our crucial role in promoting practical solutions for sustainability. Staff across the organisation have worked hard to grow the impact of our work as our mission to support people and organisations in building a zero carbon future becomes ever more pressing.

“We have seen substantial growth in student intake to our postgraduate courses in sustainability and architecture and a doubling of the number of people taking CAT short courses. We have introduced a new trail around the CAT site, opening up access to our woodlands. More organisations are coming to CAT as an eco venue for conferences, retreats and away days. The reach of our Zero Carbon Britain project continues to grow, with my colleague Paul Allen having delivered presentations at the last two international climate change conferences.

“I’m delighted to accept the award and look forward to using the opportunities offered by the fellowship to support CAT’s continued development and growth.”

Paul Farmer, Chair of ACEVO said: “ACEVO and the Leadership Trust Foundation are delighted to announce these awards. They are only ever issued to candidates of the highest quality whose passion, professionalism and ability to inspire place them at vanguard of emerging leaders. Their beneficiaries, causes, staff and boards are all fortunate to have these individuals at the helm. Too often hard work and vision do not get the recognition they deserve. These awards attempt to address that deficit.”

Other winners from the sector are: Gail Gibbens, CEO of Sheffield Futures; Anita Grover, CEO of Auditory Verbal UK; Trish McGrath, CEO of Aberystwyth Students Union and Jane Bake, the Director of Service Innovation and Integration at St Barnabas Hospice.

We’re really pleased that CAT’s work in researching and promoting sustainable solutions has been recognised in this way.

Community energy leaders condemn Government proposal for feed in tariff

CAT joins leading sustainability organisations and businesses calling for clear commitment from UK government to save the UK community energy sector

650 delegates from 72 countries attending a major international conference on Permaculture held in LondWestmill-energy-farm-coop-017on this week, backed calls from key energy entrepeneurs attending the event for the UK government to show commitment to community-owned renewable schemes.

Howard Johns, author of Energy Revolution a book about successful community energy initiatives around the world to be published next week said today:

“The Government’s latest proposals to cut the Feed in Tariffs will as currently suggested do irreparable damage to Britain’s rapidly expanding renewable energy industry. In particular, many groups of hard working people striving with their neighbours and friends to develop and build local renewable energy systems will be stopped in their tracks at the eleventh hour by these careless proposals.”

Emma Bridge, CEO of Community Energy England added: “If the Government’s community energy strategy launched in January 2014 is to be worth the paper it is written on, then the Government must retain workable incentives that support the community energy sector.”

Commenting further, Adrian Ramsay, CEO of The Centre for Alternative Technology added:

“We know that it is technically possible by 2030 for the UK to create a prosperous economy that generates zero carbon emissions by putting a major focus on energy efficiency measures and by and by using 100% renewable energy. It is paramount in this year of key climate negotiations that the UK government shows initiative and leadership to deliver this crucial objective.”

More information

On 27th August, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) announced a review of the Feed in Tariff (FiT) scheme set up in 2010 to promote small-scale renewables through ensuring householders, communities or businesses are paid a set tariff by electricity suppliers for the power their projects generate. In the latest proposals ministers have set out plans to rapidly reduce the value of the Feed in Tarrif and phase it out completely perhaps as soon as January 2016. This is the latest in a series of recent announcements from DECC that seek to minimise renewable energy deployment. Figures vary but estimates made by the renewables sector suggest anything between 15 and 40 K jobs could disappear withhin a matter of months. Fro more information see . Media queries: contact


Howard Johns, is a community energy entrepresur who founded Southern Solar and OVESCO – the first community owned PV power station in the UK near Lewes in West Sussex. He is available for interview. Tel: 07719181010.

Permaculture is a holistic design framework for delivering sustainability at any scale. The International Permaculture Conference is a biennial event taking place in London, hosted by the Permacultre Association Britian. IT is fillowed by a five day practical event (International Permaculture Convergence) for practiioners from around the world taking place in rural Essex. Media queries: and Ryan Sandford-Blackburn 07455158458

Who’s Getting Ready for Zero? Published by the Centre for Alternative Technology on Sept 1st 201 is a report that details over 100 sceanrios from around the world where countries, regions and cities are preparing for the transition to a zero carbon future. Media queries: 07770881503


CAT to host hit reality show Cariad@Iaith

S4c Press Release

Seven days, eight contestants, two presenters, and one language. Over the course of a week, eight Welsh celebrities will try to learn as much Cymraeg as possible and this year, the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth will be turned into a classroom fit for the stars.

And S4C can reveal that this year’s brave crew of celebrities who will eat, drink, sleep and live the Welsh language and face a range of outdoor challenges include one of Wales’ most famous weather presenters, an Olympic medal-winning athlete, a former Welsh rugby international, a CBeebies presenter, a well-known comedian and a galaxy of actors.CF6rS-RUoAA0r-u

Cariad@Iaith, presented this year for the first time by opera star Wynne Evans along with the darling of all Welsh learners, Nia Parry, will start with a special preview programme on Sunday 14 June at 8.00 on S4C with daily programmes to follow every weekday night at 8.25 and 9.30 with the final on Saturday 20 June.

Now in its seventh series, Cariad@Iaith has featured Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Gareth Thomas, Steve Strange and Janet Street-Porter amongst others as previous contestants and this year’s line-up is no less impressive.

 Derek Brockway is one of the most familiar faces on Welsh television, having presented the weather on BBC Wales Today for 18 years. Derek is originally from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan and lives near Cardiff and is also the presenter of TV series Weatherman Walking.

Rebecca Keatley will be well known to younger viewers as a presenter on children’s television service, CBeebies. Originally from Port Talbot, Rebecca now lives in London where she presents programmes such as Let’s Play on the channel.

Chris Corcoran is a comedian and radio presenter who currently presents his own radio show on BBC Radio Wales on Saturday afternoons. Chris has supported Rob Brydon on tour and has featured on many comedy shows on TV and radio. Before turning to comedy, he was a teacher at Barry Comprehensive School.

For 15 years, Jamie Baulch was a poster boy for Welsh athletics, having won a total of 11 medals at events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and the IAAF World Athletics Championships. He recently appeared on BBC Wales’ looking for my birth mum programme where he traced his birth mother.

Pontypridd actress Nicola Reynolds first appeared on our screens in cult film Human Traffic, set in Cardiff. Since then she has had roles in Coronation Street, High Hopes and Clocking Off but may be more familiar as the face of Meg as part of BBC Wales sitcom Scrum 4.

Merthyr-born actor Steve Speirs has appeared in series such as Doctor Who, NCIS and Jonathan Creek as well as films such as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and Pirates of the Caribbean. He is also a writer for Ruth Jones’ hit sitcom Stella.

Caroline Sheen is a West End actress originally from Port Talbot who has appeared in an array of musicals including Grease, Mamma Mia and Les Miserables and has also appeared in popular TV series Torchwood and Hotel Babylon.

Ex-Cardiff Blues and Wales international rugby player Tom Shanklin is Wales’ fifth highest-scoring rugby player on record. He earned 70 caps for the Welsh team and has also played for the British and Irish Lions squad.

Co-presenter and tutor Nia Parry added, “I love everything about the Cariad@Iaith experience – the fun, the activities, meeting new people and working with a wonderful crew but above all I love teaching Welsh in the classroom again and welcoming another set of various stars is great.”

With the help of tutors Ioan Talfryn and Nia Parry, the eight brave contestants will have their knowledge of Welsh put to the test with formal lessons and by using the language during physical challenges and the unique teaching method of desuggestipedia, which encourages language immersion through songs and games.

But after a whole week of lessons, only one can be crowned winner of the series, with the week’s best learner announced on the Saturday final.

Another addition to the series this year is the new presenter, Wynne Evans who was a contestant on the show in a previous series. “I’m very excited about presenting the show. I can’t quite believe that I’ve gone from being a contestant to being a presenter,” says Wynne who has also presented the seres Am Ddrama on S4C. “I’m not quite sure if I’m ready but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.”

This year’s series is sponsored by the Welsh Government. First Minister Carwyn Jones said:  “As a government we are committed to giving people of all ages the opportunity to learn Welsh and are keen to encourage them to use the language in their day to day lives.

“The Welsh for Adults programme is key to ensuring that adults have opportunities to learn Welsh and I am pleased that we are working with S4C to support Cariad@Iaith to encourage more adults to learn Welsh or improve their skills.”

Kim Bryan, a spokesperson for the Centre for Alternative Technology added, “It is a fantastic opportunity for CAT and Machynlleth to showcase the wide range of activities there are to do in the area and the friendliness of the local community. The Welsh language is a vitally important part of our culture and hosting the Cariad@Iaith programme here at CAT is a tremendous way to support it.”


Wyth seren yn bwyta, cysgu ac yn dysgu Cymraeg ar Cariad@Iaith 2015

Saith niwrnod, wyth cystadleuydd, dau gyflwynydd ac un iaith. Dros gyfnod o wythnos, bydd wyth o sêr Cymreig yn ceisio dysgu Cymraeg hyd eithaf eu gallu, ac eleni, mi fydd Canolfan y Dechnoleg Amgen ym Machynlleth yn cael ei thrawsnewid i ystafell ddosbarth arbennig iawn.

Gall S4C ddatgelu bod y criw enwog eleni fydd yn bwyta, yfed, cysgu ac yn byw’r iaith Gymraeg ac yn wynebu gweithgareddau awyr agored amrywiol yn cynnwys un o gyflwynwyr tywydd enwoca’r genedl, athletwr penigamp sydd wedi ennill medalau Olympaidd, un o gyn-chwaraewyr rygbi gorau’r wlad, cyflwynydd teledu plant CBeebies a llu o actorion adnabyddus.

Bydd Cariad@Iaith eleni’n cael ei chyflwyno am y tro cyntaf eleni gan y canwr opera Wynne Evans ynghyd â’r bytholwyrdd Nia Parry, gyda rhaglen rhagflas arbennig i’w gweld nos Sul 14 Mehefin am 8.25 ar S4C gyda rhaglenni nosweithiol yn cael eu darlledu bob nos am 8.25 a 9.30 gyda’r ffeinal nos Sadwrn 20 Mehefin.

Dyma’r seithfed gyfres o Cariad@Iaith ac mae sêr y gorffennol yn cynnwys Ian ‘H’ Watkins, Gareth Thomas, Steve Strange a Janet Street-Porter ac mae’r enwau mawr yn parhau eleni.

Mae Derek Brockway yn un o wynebau mwyaf adnabyddus ar deledu Cymru, ac mae wedi cyflwyno’r tywydd ar BBC Wales Today am ddeunaw mlynedd. Mae Derek yn dod o’r Barri yn wreiddiol, ond mae bellach yn byw ar gyrion Caerdydd. Mae hefyd yn cyflwyno’r gyfres Weatherman Walks.

Bydd Rebecca Keatley yn wyneb cyfarwydd iawn i wylwyr iau fel cyflwynydd ar wasanaeth plant CBeebies y BBC. Yn wreiddiol o Bort Talbot, mae Rebecca’n byw yn Llundain lle mae’n cyflwyno rhaglenni fel Let’s Play ar y sianel.

Digrifwr a chyflwynydd radio yw Chris Corcoran sy’n cyflwyno ei raglen ei hun ar BBC Radio Wales ar brynhawniau Sadwrn. Mae Chris wedi cefnogi Rob Brydon ar daith ac wedi ymddangos ar nifer o raglenni comedi ar deledu a radio. Cyn troi at fyd comedi, roedd yn athro yn Ysgol Gyfun y Barri.

Am 15 mlynedd, roedd Jamie Baulch yn un o eiconau’r byd athletau, ac mae wedi ennill 11 o fedalau yn y gemau Olympaidd, Gemau’r Gymanwlad a Phencampwriaethau Athletau’r Byd. Fe ymddangosodd yn ddiweddar ar raglen Coming Home BBC Wales i gwrdd â’i fam enedigol am y tro cyntaf.

Ymddangosodd Nicola Reynolds o Bontypridd ar ein sgriniau’n gyntaf yn y ffilm Human Traffic a leolwyd yng Nghaerdydd. Ers hynny, mae wedi ymddangos yn Coronation Street, High Hopes a Clocking Off ond efallai ei bod hi’n fwy adnabyddus fel ‘Meg’ o’r gyfres Scrum 4 gan BBC Wales.

Ganwyd Steve Speirs ym Merthyr Tudful ac mae wedi ymddangos mewn cyfresi megis Doctor Who, NCIS a Jonathan Creek ynghyd â Star Wars: The Phantom Menace a Pirates of the Caribbean. Mae hefyd yn ysgrifennu ar gyfer y gyfres Stella gan Ruth Jones.

Mae Caroline Sheen yn actores yn y West End yn Llundain ac yn dod yn wreiddiol o Bort Talbot. Mae wedi ymddangos mewn nifer o sioeau cerdd megis Grease, Mamma Mia a Les Miserables ynghyd â chyfresi teledu fel Torchwood a Hotel Babylon.

Tom Shanklin yw un o chwaraewyr rygbi mwyaf llwyddiannus Cymru, ac ymhlith sgorwyr uchaf y tîm cenedlaethol. Mae wedi ennill 70 o gapiau dros ei wlad a hefyd wedi chwarae i Gleision Caerdydd a Llewod Prydain ac Iwerddon.

Dywedodd cyflwynydd Cariad@Iaith, Nia Parry, “Dw i’n caru popeth am y profiad Cariad@Iaith – yr hwyl, y gweithgareddau, cwrdd á phobl newydd a gweithio gyda chriw hyfryd, ond dw i wrth fy modd yn cael addysgu Cymraeg yn y dosbarth eto. Mae’n hyfryd cael croesawu sêr mor amrywiol i’r ystafell ddosbarth unwaith eto eleni.

Gyda help y tiwtoriaid Ioan Talfryn a Nia Parry, bydd yr wyth seren dewr yn profi eu gallu yn y Gymraeg drwy wersi ffurfiol a defnyddio’r iaith wrth ymgymryd â heriau corfforol amrywiol a’r dull unigryw o ddysgu, sef ‘dadawgrymeg’, sy’n hybu defnydd o’r iaith drwy ganu a chwarae gemau.

Ond ar ôl wythnos gyfan o wersi dim ond un seren fydd yn cipio’r teitl o ddysgwr Cymraeg gorau’r gyfres a chyhoeddir yr enillydd yn ystod y ffeinal ar nos Sadwrn.

Wyneb newydd arall fydd yn ymuno â’r gyfres eleni fydd y cyflwynydd Wynne Evans a oedd yn gystadleuydd ar y rhaglen mewn cyfres flaenorol. “Dw i’n teimlo’n gyffrous iawn am gyflwyno’r gyfres. Dydw i ddim wir yn gallu credu fy mod i wedi mynd o fod yn gystadleuydd i fod yn gyflwynydd,” meddai Wynne, sydd hefyd wedi cyflwyno’r gyfres Am Ddrama ar S4C. “Dydw i ddim yn siŵr os ydw i’n barod ond dwi’n edrych ymlaen at yr her!”

Noddir y gyfres eleni gan Lywodraeth Cymru. Dywedodd y Prif Weinidog Carwyn Jones: “Fel Llywodraeth, rydym yn gwbl ymrwymiedig i roi cyfleoedd i bobl o bob oedran i ddysgu Cymraeg ac i’w hannog i ddefnyddio mwy o’r iaith bob dydd.

“Mae’r rhaglen Cymraeg i Oedolion yn allweddol er mwyn sicrhau bod gan oedolion y cyfleoedd i ddysgu Cymraeg ac rwy’n hapus iawn ein bod yn cydweithio ag S4C i gefnogi Cariad@Iaith er mwyn annog mwy o oedolion i ddysgu Cymraeg neu wella eu sgiliau.”

Ychwanegodd Kim Bryan, llefarydd ar ran Canolfan y Dechnoleg Amgen, “Dyma gyfle euraidd i’r Ganolfan ac i Fachynlleth i arddangos yr ystod eang o weithgareddau sydd i’w gwneud yn yr ardal a chyfeillgarwch y gymuned leol. Mae’r iaith Gymraeg yn rhan annatod a phwysig iawn o’n diwylliant ac mae croesawu Cariad@Iaith yma yn ffordd wych o wneud hynny.”











Easter Eco Events At the Centre for Alternative Technology in Wales

pond dippingCome and join us for an action packed Easter holiday for all the family, events will be running from the 30th of March through till the 10th of April. From daily guided tours to eco activities for children, talks, workshops, music and exhibitions there is something for all ages. There will be a daily guided tour of the CAT visitor centre exploring some of CAT’s history, renewable energies, organic gardening and sustainable architecture. Our straw bale theatre will be open for children’s eco activities from 11-3 pm everyday including Easter treasure hunts, crazy inventors, bug hunting, eco games,  storytelling and our specially designed zero carbon tours.

Specialised tours of CAT’s unique and sustainable gardens and renewable energy systems will take place throughout the week, check the visit CAT website for tour specifics

Our woodlands team will be demonstrating and teaching visitors simple woodland crafts using traditional woodworking tools.  Paul Allen and members of our zero carbon Britain team will be giving talks around current environmental issues and our zero carbon britain project.

For up to date information on our Easter events please check out

CAT is the UK’s leading eco centre and runs a 7 acre visitor centre, courses, graduate school and information department. We are open throughout the year for day visitors and groups.

New Carbon Accounting Tool Released

Aubrey Meyer developer of the framework known as Contraction and Convergence launched a new carbon accounting tool at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

The new educational resource, CBAT (short for the Carbon Budget Accounting Tool) brings to life a process of ‘Contraction and Convergence’ which helps the user explore the potential of global climate deals that are do-able safe and fair, ending up with roughly equal global rights per capita to emit.

The CBAT tool helps  understand this process by inter-actively modelling the rates of change of net greenhouse gas emissions. CBAT is aimed at everybody (experts and students alike ) to help  decide what needs to happen in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Developer Aubrey Meyer says that, “the purpose of CBAT is ‘educational’ with an emphasis on improving the understanding of what is needed for us to really achieve the UN goal of avoiding really dangerous climate change.”

Aubrey Meyer celebrates the launch of his new carbon budget accounting tool with CAT staff, students and trustee’s

CBAT has a broad base of support that includes United Nations secretary Ban Ki Moon, Caroline Lucas, Rowan Williams, Jonathon Porritt, Tony Juniper and many more.

The Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth is the UK’s leading environmental educational charity. Set up in 1975 to inform, inspire and enable practical solutions for sustainable living. CBAT was launched during the Politics and Economy module of CAT’s new masters in Sustainability and Adaptation.

Tom Barker, senior lecturer at CAT said “It is an honour for CAT to have CBAT launched here. It will be a very effective tool in the fight against climate change and a brilliant opportunity for our students to get to grips with a new program to better understand climate accounting.”



Renew Wales wins community category at Wales Green Energy Awards

Renew Wales, a project all about supporting communities developing renewable energy projects in Wales, has won an award in the coveted Wales Green Energy Awards. CAT is a partner in the Renew Wales project, providing training and support. Peter Davis, Sustainable Development Commissioner for Wales commented on the project:

Kit Jones, Media Officer at the Centre for Alternative Technology said:

“Over the next few decades we are going to have to completely overhaul energy infrastructure across Wales. There is a massive opportunity to create a new renewable infrastructure which is widely owned within the local community. This would bring many benefits to the people of Wales. Community Energy is really important for making sure technologies like wind, solar and hydro power which are delivering environmental benefits are also delivering social benefits. We are really pleased that this is being recognised by the Wales Green Energy Awards, and to be part of the project which is leading the way.”

CAT archivists nominated for digital preservation awards

The work of  Aberystwyth students, Kerry Evan, Ann Macdonald and Sarah Vaughan  on the CAT archive project Voices from a Disused Quarry  has been shortlisted for a prestigious digital preservation award. The DPC Award for the Most Distinguished Student Work in Digital Preservation celebrates impressive work by any student which lowers the barriers to digital preservation. It is presented to the student that, in the eyes of the judges, has produced an essay, course work, project report, dissertation or thesis that has had (or will have) the greatest contribution in ensuring our digital memory is available tomorrow. Voices from a Disused Quarry by Kerry Evans, Ann MacDonald and Sarah Vaughan,  is an exceptional example of that. 9781902175706_200_voices-from-a-disused-quarry_haftad

Created in 2004 to raise awareness about digital preservation, the Digital Preservation Awards are the most prominent celebration of achievement for those people and organisations that have made significant and innovative contributions to ensuring our digital memory is accessible tomorrow.

Allan Shepherd from CAT said ” the nomination is testament to the extraordinary and diligent work of the Aberystwyth student team. Their work was of exceptionally high quality and we wish them all the best in winning the award.”

‘In its early years, the Digital Preservation Award was a niche category in the Conservation Awards’, explained Laura Mitchell, chair of the DPC. ‘But year on year the judges have been impressed by the increasing quality, range and number of nominations.’

‘I’m delighted to report that, once again, we have had a record number of applications which demonstrate an incredible depth of insight and subtlety in approach to the thorny question of how to make our digital memory accessible tomorrow. ’

Voices from a Disused Quarry created digital oral histories, to celebrate the ground-breaking Centre for Alternative Technology’s 40th anniversary (2014). As part of their studies, MSc Archive Administration students from Aberystwyth University’s Department of Information Studies (AUDIS) prepared the oral histories for long-term preservation by the National Library of Wales (NLW) and for discovery through the People’s Collection Wales. Working directly across these organisations, students undertook the preparatory activities required to assure long-term access to the memoirs of those who undertook pioneering work on sustainable technologies. Activities included data modelling, identification, organisation, cataloguing, copyright verification and recommendations for future care.


41 ways in which the Centre for Alternative Technology has changed people’s lives.

We are still celebrating our 40th birthday party.  Following on from our facebook post where loads of people sent in ways in which CAT has inspired them here is a much discussed and edited 41 ways in which CAT has changed people’s lives.

1.  1  Since doors opened  in 1975 over 2 million people have been informed, inspired and enabled at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

2.   2. The early settlers occupied a disused wasteland and through organic gardening and sustainable land management practices have transformed it into an oasis of biodiversity.

3.    CAT has led the way in experimenting and trying out renewable energy technologies, many of which are now mainstream such as wind energy and solar panels.

4.    1000’s of students have studied at our Graduate School of Education and have gone on to work in a wide range of different fields

5.    Over 50 companies have been sent up by CAT graduates as a result of their masters

6.    CAT has helped set up and support companies such as Dulas, Aber Instruments and  True Energy,  innovative renewable energy companies.

7.    CAT employs a significant number of people in the area.

8.    200,000 school children have taken part in our Educational programs and workshops

9.    Over 50 groups per year come and stay in our residential eco cabins where they have to manage their energy and water usage for their visit.

10.  The visitor centre welcomes 55,000 day visitors a year

11.   In 1978 CAT produced the 1st ever vision for a zero carbon Britain , last year we published the 4th, setting out how we can reduce our carbon emissions to 0 by 2030.

12.  CAT has worked alongside numerous other local organisations to develop tourism strategy for the Machynlleth area.

13.  Developed game changing carbon calculators such as Laura’s Larder, the Carbon Gym and Dan’s house. All as educational resources available to all.

14.  Facilitated the installation of the Bro Dyfi community wind turbine


15.  CATs runs a free information service open all year round, it responds to over 10,000 inquires annually.

16.  Hosted 100’s of conferences from leading environmental organisations in the UK such as the National Trust, Transition Towns, Friends of the Earth, Renewable Energy UK etc.

17.  Contributed to a wealth of media outlets through radio and television interviews

18.  Our sustainability experts have written 100’s of articles for publications across the world

19.  Printed and distributed 93,000 copies of our in house magazine Clean Slate, a practical journal for sustainable living.

20.  Researched and published 80 different publications, tip sheets and resources that have become leading titles in the sustainability arena such as the Wholehome book.

21.  Inspired a whole new generation of architects and planners through our masters courses

22.  Hosted numerous TV broadcasts in our WISE building, including BBC any questions and question time.

23.  Taken part in popular TV programs such as Blue Peter, All over the Place, Castaway, Changing Rooms, Countryfile and many more.

24.  CAT has won numerous prestigious environmental awards including the Ashden Awards, People and Environment Business award, Renewable Campaigners of the Year.

25.  CAT has been a test bed for sustainable, low impact building materials including earth, timber, hemp and lime.

26.  WISE’s 7 metre high rammed earth walls are the highest in the UK

27.  The Wales Institute for Sustainable Education has been a game changer in the field of architecture, since it opened it has won the Outstanding Earthen Architecture in Europe Award 2011 (Terra Incognita, Education and Culture DG, EU Culture Programme) Royal Institute of British Architects Award, Regional Architecture Award 2011 Dewi-Prys Thomas Prize 2012, National Building Excellence Awards 2011: Best Technical Innovation.

28.  WISE was listed number 1 in the Daily Telegraph’s list of “Top 10 Buildings of 2010”, Listed in the Guardian’s 2010 “Top 10″ buildings list Was “highly commended” at National Eisteddfod architecture competition

29.  Developed and designed solar fridges for medical use in developing countries.

30.  Through seed saving have preserved numerous indigenous varieties of vegetables and flowers.

31.  The CAT gardens have consistently demonstrated the benefits of organic garden, and provided vegetables all year round for our onsite restaurant.


32.  Garden volunteers at CAT have gone on to grow other organic gardening businesses such as the Green Isle Growers.

33.  CAT has raised awareness of healthy eating and whole foods via its onsite restaurant and the Quarry café and Quarry shop in Machynlleth ( now independent)

34.  Provided a platform for the integration of art, sustainability and the environment.

35.  Sold 1000’s of copies our book, the Little book of slugs popularizing organic methods of slug control.

36.  CAT participates and advises numerous national and international networks including the Scientific Advisory Council for Wales, INFORSE, Climate Change Commission for Wales, Technical Advisory board for Farming Connect.

37.  Since the 1990’s CAT has been home to the a colony of rare lesser horseshoe bats

38.  CAT has been one of the UK’s oldest cooperatives and inspired many other similar structures for organisations.

39.  The onsite community at CAT has been a living example of sustainable low impact living with 100’s of people living and working there.

40.  Known as the “poo” centre, CAT has led the way with eco sanitation research and applications.

41.  For the last 40 years CAT has demonstrated sustainable solutions for practical living and shown that low carbon lifestyles are not only possible but desirable. In doing so we have been part of an environmental and social movement which has reached the mainstream.



Shampoo: To use or not to use.

Garden and Media department volunteer Nathalie Brandebourger from Paraguay stopped using shampoo a year ago. In this article she talks about why she did, what she learnt and what she does instead.

Saying stop to shampoo.

My name is Nathalie Brandebourger, and 10 months ago, I said stop to shampoo, it’s been almost a year since I last washed my hair with that chemical cocktail known as shampoo. Why did I say STOP? I’d had enough,  I was washing my hair every day and just after one day of shampoo, my hair was greasy again. My tips were always dry, I didn’t understand why, I was spending a fortune on shampoo. I spent lots of time thinking that what I was doing was  good for my hair but instead I was destroying it little by little. Now, I have said stop, I don’t want to spend a lot of money anymore, I don’t want to destroy my hair anymore and not the planet either.20140216_140807

Why is shampoo bad for us and the planet?
Shampoo and other hair products contain nothing natural,  have a look at your shampoo bottle (not organic) and read the details of ingredients; sulfates, silicone’s, phosphates, alcohol, parabens. These ingredients are irritants, allergens, endocrine disruptors and carcinogens. instead of helping are skin and hair they tend to damage it. Have you ever noticed that the more you wash your hair, the faster it seems to get dirty?

There is a reason for that, when you shampoo hair, aggressive contents in shampoos take away the sebum (the natural oil produced by the body) required to protect our scalp. In fact, thanks to shampoo, the sebum has no opportunity to be spread along the full length of our hair. So, to compensate, our body will produce much more! Say hello to oily roots and dry tips…
Shampoo, hair conditioner, protective balms, rejuvenating treatments, moisturizing oils, these products are expensive. Let’s not be fooled by brands that are sponsoring well known hairdressers. It’s a marketing strategy!
These products are bad for the environment: not only do they contain highly polluting compounds, but they are all contained in plastic. And, let’s not forget about the amount of wasted water with every shampooing.

How to start?
Stopping washing your hair does not  happen overnight, especially if you’re an anti dandruff shampoo regular that won’t go out without your washed hair. You need to be patient and try to understand your hair’s needs.
1. For addicts of the chemical foam, you need to start by spacing shampoos. This is very important: If you wash your hair every day, do it every other day; if it is twice a week, try to do it once every 5 days, etc. Wait until your washes are  well spaced (at min. 1 week) to proceed.

2. Brush your hair. You can use a boar bristle brush or a wooden brush with synthetic bristles,  brush your hair every morning for 2 to 3 minutes, from the top of the head to the tips and in every way (upside down). This is to distribute the sebum all along the lengths. I suggest washing your brush every day to remove all the little hairs stuck in and rubbing in with water and a little bit of baking soda or soap; very easy. If you have curly hair, detangle your hair with a wooden brush and wet your hair after brushing to style your curls.
3. Avoid shampoo  and wash your hair with the no-poo (for ‘no-shampoo’) recipe (recipe below). After some time, you will wash your hair every other week until the day you will just need to wash it with water only!
4. Now for the most difficult step,  do not wash your hair for 1 month. Yes, I know, it’s almost unthinkable, but to help you, use dry shampoos. You just need corn flour for example (maizena), or green clay (this is not an invention, the starch is often the #1 ingredient of dry shampoos).Your hair will be like new.


No-poo recipe
You need:
– Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). It must be very very fine, not in crystals.
– Apple cider vinegar (organic) or lemon juice
– Essential oil (Ylang-Ylang but can be others)
Baking soda is a fantastic cleaning product. Its main benefit is the fact that it is a mild alkali with fine, slightly abrasive particles. These two factors work together to break down dirt and grease incredibly effectively. Baking soda is not a common irritant, so it won’t cause issues for most people.

Apple cider vinegar in complement to baking soda works incredibly well. It balances out the alkalizing effect of the baking soda to restore your hair’s natural pH levels because vinegar is more acidic. It also helps kill bacteria (great if you have dandruff issues!) and is a natural humectant. Keep in mind that shampoos, even organic ones, have a ph > than our hair ph. Shampoos can be the reason of your dandruff problem.
1. Mix 2 tbsp of baking soda (1 if you have short hair) with 2 tbsp of water. You get a more or less liquid dough (up to you to add water or not, it is to your preferences).
2. Wet your hair thoroughly and then proceed with the dough like a traditional shampoo. Warning, it doesn’t foam! Massage your scalp with small circular movements, go between each strand. The easiest way is to do it upside down to aim the hair, not directly on scalp. Avoid lengths and ends which don’t need.
3. Rinse your hair.
4. In a glass, pour 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar and add water, preferably cold. Add 2-3 drops of essential oils of Ylang-Ylang or other in the same glass. Pour gently the diluted vinegar on your lengths and not in your scalp. Divide well (watch the eyes)
5. You can chose: you can rinse it after 3 minutes or you can rinse briefly after the vinegar, or you can just not rinse your hair.