Waves, weirs and waterwheels – unleashing the power of water

How can we use and manage water in a more sustainable way? CAT volunteer and MSc student Ed Macdonald has been exploring the issues and delving into the detail of hydro power.

Born in the year of the water dragon, perhaps my interest in watercourses is to be expected. As a kid in a nearby natural sandpit I was enchanted by flow of the stream, able to bypass attempts to dam it with clay. Fast forward 20 years, I found a refreshing challenge in designing water treatment facilities for schools in the Kenyan highlands with an NGO, which led me to CAT’s Graduate School of the Environment for further training.  Continue reading “Waves, weirs and waterwheels – unleashing the power of water”

Zero Carbon Britain: Making it Happen

It’s now almost ten years since CAT’s first Zero Carbon Britain report was published. Today zero carbon is becoming a much more commonly accepted goal – but we urgently need to make it happen! Paul Allen introduces a new report, due out in spring, that looks at the barriers to getting to zero and how these can be overcome.

On 5 October 2016, the threshold number of signatories to the Paris Agreement was achieved, enabling it to enter into force on 4 November 2016. This historic agreement is underpinned by a global consensus of science that clearly recognises the need to reach zero carbon. Fortunately, a wide range of detailed scenarios and real-life practical projects clearly demonstrate that we already have the tools and technologies needed to get us there.  Continue reading “Zero Carbon Britain: Making it Happen”

Celebrate with CAT’s architects of the future

CAT’s Architecture Professional Diploma students celebrate the end of their studies with a private view of their work and a party at CAT on 20th January.

This unique event invites industry VIPs, students, local people and friends of CAT to view the final projects of these up-and-coming architects after 18 months of intensive study. Transforming study rooms into exhibition spaces their inspirational designs and models will be available to view with the students themselves on-hand to talk guests through their visions. This will be a unique insight into the ideas of the architects of our future. Continue reading “Celebrate with CAT’s architects of the future”

CAT customer and supporter survey – let us know your views

Can you spare a few minutes to help CAT in the development of our strategic planning?

We are reviewing how best we can maximise our impact towards our mission of delivering practical solutions for sustainability. As a result we will set our objectives for the next three to five years.

site_wise_catIf you are a CAT supporter or a customer using one of our services we would like to ask you to complete this short online survey: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CentreAltTech

The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete and is being managed on CAT’s behalf by ACEVO, an umbrella organisation for charities which specialises in supporting strategic development.

All responses will be treated as confidential and anonymous.

Responses to this survey will be crucial in helping CAT to establish its future priorities and objectives over the next few years. We would be really grateful for your help.

 

3rd Aberystwyth Scouts awarded Ready, Set, Recycle prize and a day out at CAT

Earlier this year WRAP, world leaders in supporting organisations to be more recycling efficient, launched a nationwide competition called Ready, Set, Recycle. The project worked in collaboration with The Scout Association to challenge Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorer Scouts to recycle as much packaging over 4 months as possible. The individual troops documented their process and shared it with other scout groups through the Scout Association website.

WRAP has announced local troop the 3rd Aberystwyth Scouts as the winners. The prize was a goodie bag from Recycle Now and a group trip to CAT.

CAT’s dedicated teaching staff Christine McLennan and Ann MacGarry took the winners on a fun filled tour of CAT’s recycling and waste displays followed by a hands-on recycling workshop to further inspire their recycling efforts.

WRAP Director Marcus Gover said about the project,
“The ‘Ready, Set, Recycle’ challenge is a positve way to engage the whole family and get them recycling more at home. The Scout Association is well-known for the work it does to encourage young people to help their local communities, so we are extremely pleased to also be supporting the Environmental Conservation Activity Badge.”

Follow the links to find our more about this nationwide project and its collaborative partners WRAP, the Scout Association and the 3rd Aberystwyth Scouts.

3rd Aberystwyth Scouts collecting their recycling prize at CAT
3rd Aberystwyth Scouts collecting their recycling prize at CAT

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.

CAT and OXFAM Changemakers

In a one-day collaborative workshop CAT’s own education officer Ann MacGarry worked alongside an educator from OXFAM to deliver a workshop for teachers in Cardiff entitled Exploring the refugee crisis and the movement of people. This was the latest part of the Changemakers project that CAT’s education team have been running with other organisations in Wales over the last few years, funded by the Welsh government.

The CAT contribution this year, in terms of content, was looking at the impact of climate change on migration, this turned out to be a very interesting area of research as it is not at all simple. The pattern is if crops fail or land and homes are flooded, people move to somewhere safe as close to home as possible, hoping to move back. However there are populations on the Pacific islands and in areas where the water sources have dried up permanently or become salty that cannot ever return home. It is also emerging that many of the most vulnerable people simply do not have the resources to move.

There is evidence for a link between a prolonged drought in Syria between 2006 and 2009 (the worst on record) and pressures that led to the uprising but there are many other factors as well, so it certainly does not seem to be the key cause.
Ann explained that she feels that there are three main points that need to be remembered when discussing this subject.

“Firstly, all the evidence suggests the impacts will get worse, secondly the impacts are going to fall mainly on areas without the resources to adapt and thirdly that it is the rich who produce the vast majority of the greenhouse gases, not the poor.”

ChangeMakers is a global citizenship project which gives both students and educators the opportunity to learn and think critically about issues surrounding our global refugee crisis before planning and taking appropriate action to create positive change.

Through her involvement in the project Ann said that she has learnt a lot but that it is worrying that so many of us are ignorant of who is really supporting refugees globally and the huge difficulties faced by the small number of support givers that do make it to these vulnerable communities.

She said that the teachers that were involved in the workshop in Cardiff were aware that they did not know enough but were very receptive and gave enthusiastic feedback on how they would use the resources available. The teachers also really valued the fact that the course was held in Oasis, the Cardiff centre for asylum seekers and refugees. Ann said that,

“It was encouraging that there are teachers out there who are keen to teach about these issues and schools who will enable them to go out for a day to educate themselves on this difficult and complex subject”.

changemakers

Views around CAT on 1st December

We have had a spell of cold and frosty days here at CAT, with head gardener Roger recording -10C on the night of 29th November. These cold, still days lend a Nordic atmosphere to this unique environment – and we felt we just had to share it with you!

Tarren y Gesain
Tarren y Gesail
Tarren y Gesain
Tarren y Gesail

 

 

Frosty hillside
Frosty hillside

 

Frost crystals on a bench
Frost crystals on a bench
Woodland walk picnic area
Woodland walk picnic area
Quarry outcrop
Quarry outcrop
View of the old quarry from the Woodland Walk
View of the old quarry from the Woodland Walk
Mossy slate
Mossy slate
Icy stones
Icy stones
Icy waterfall
Icy waterfall
Icy grass 'fingers'
Icy grass ‘fingers’
Icy grass 'fingers' close up
Icy grass ‘fingers’ close up
Frosty moss
Frosty moss
Lichen and moss
Lichen and moss
Tarren y Gesain
Tarren y Gesail