Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Community dream - Centre for Alternative Technology

The 'water taxi'
Inspire, inform and enable – so goes their slogan.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, Ms Tagalong took her two young girls via water-operated carriages up the mountains in Snowdonia as an antidote to their near exposure to a nuclear power plant visit. She was inspired to do it again. Visit CAT that is, not the nuclear plant!

Some twenty years later, Mr Ideasman is having his fill. No longer a 'hippie' sanctuary from the 70s the disused quarry even houses a state of the art Wales Institute forSustainable Education building offering Masters courses in sustainable architecture and research facilities for various projects. Signs urge visitors to donate to the poo needed to research the type of worm needed to eat their way through human excrement! Ms Tagalong was pleased to know that it has already been proved that the worms both reduce volume of the waste and minimise bacteria and viruses.

Sally, our enthusiastic guide obviously had not heard of Snowy and her poo worm farm back in Australia!

Sally talked through the beginnings in 1973, the piles of slag, the digging of ponds and her involvement as a volunteer in the 80s to her subsequent employment.

'Nature loves messiness,' she enthused as Ms Tagalong nodded her head in agreement. No manicured beds here. A wonderful forest garden (Permaculture principles) and various vegetable and herb beds with experiments in compost supply the residents and Mr Ideasman who sampled tayberries and loganberries espaliered and trained over archways. No nagging worries about Eden here!

Volunteers keep the gardens looking their best and Ms Tagalong came across a ruthless chopper of chives in flower. Luckily Sally was looking the other way.

State of the Art Lecture Hall
Ms Tagalong learnt about the rammed earth walls in the information centre and the piece de resistance internal walls of the auditorium. (Nothing new to Mr Ideasman) They oohed and aahed though at the huge moveable moon disc in the centre of the ceiling letting in light and the sliding wall, all working on passive solar systems. State of the art sustainable architecture in action.

CAT offers courses in Wind Power to Hedgerow Herbalism and everything inbetween. Now if only time can be found in between all the travelling to attend one of these!

When in Wales make sure you visit this community dream in action and spread the word about sustainable living. It works!

p.s. Mr Ideasman says the food was great too.

Sustainable garden
Enjoy the photos!

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