Ashton Hayes is a small village/parish in NorthWest England. A seemingly typical English countryside habitation, it gained notoriety in 2006 for aiming to become the first truly Carbon Neutral village in the country. A concerted effort was made to take measurements of the annual output of CO2 from that village and a community-wide campaign was launched to reduce the emission levels. It included a thorough examination of how houses were being insulated; how much electricity could be saved; and how people – in general – could reduce their carbon footprint whilst being able to conduct their day to day activities. Of course one can definitely pick holes in this, pointing out that if people are traveling out of the village and they are taking long flights for holidays etc, then there is still a huge chunk of CO2 emissions they are still responsible for.
However, that would be harsh, as part of the spirit of what they are attempting to do is to kick off a trend which hopefully sees other villages/parishes follow in their footsteps and reduce their Carbon emissions as well. It seems counter-intuitive but living in urban city centers is the greener thing to do (CO2 emissions-wise) compared to villages and rural areas because less energy/per head is used. Apartment buildings are always going to be more Carbon efficient residential assets than houses. In non-urban areas, people tend to have bigger houses; they require more energy for electricity and heating purposes and they have to drive more (on average) for simple day-to-day tasks. I guess the worst of both worlds (from Carbon emissions point of view) are suburbs, because they not only mean more CO2 emissions from Cars, but also people living in bigger houses (therefore higher heating and electricity requirements). And what do authorities/local governments – especially here in North America – do about it ? Well, they promote and subsidize the suburbs over the City apartments – another little reminder how hopelessly off the ball they are, when it comes to tackling Climate Change. So, it is even more laudable that a rural community like Aston Hayes is taking up this challenge.
Anyway, that’s the boring (ranty) bit out of the way. Here is what I really wanted to share. A short film on the town of Ashton Hayes and how the entire community is coming together to help out with the CO2 reduction. (And yes, when primary school kids are carrolling about ‘Carbon neutrality goals’, you know, you’r onto a winner)