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Hampshire's carbon cutters

Local individuals, schools and businesses who are "doing their bit" to reduce their personal carbon emissions reflect on their hopes and expectations for the Copenhagen Summit.

School teacher: Kit Rogers

Kit Rogers
Kit Rogers has overseen the reclamation of a walled garden

"We are trying to cut our carbon emissions through physical changes to Priestlands School and also behavioural changes - a sort of top down and bottom up approach.

We had solar panels installed on the roof - we have analysed data on electricity use per-pupil and it has gone down significantly.

People are also getting better at turning things off - this is helped by our team of Eco Monitors - they are the green police.

There is a huge amount of embedded carbon in a sheet of paper and we were horrified to discover that we were using around three million sheets a year. Through staff training we have reduced this by almost 50%.

The students have reclaimed a derelict walled garden and now grow fruit and vegetables, raise pigs from which they make their own award-winning sausages, look after chickens and have introduced a bee hive to produce the school's own honey (award-winning too).

All this produce is sold to the school canteen which cuts down on food miles.

We recognise that if we are serious about reducing our dependence on fossil fuels for energy then we need to get it right at schools - if we can't do it here, we're in big trouble.

My expectations are that no firm legally-binding targets will be set in Copenhagen. I'm afraid there seems to be just too much vested interest in not signing up.

Many politicians, quite understandably, are worried that if they sign up and others don't, or don't pledge enough of a reduction, then their country will suffer economically while others prosper.

Somehow we need to get beyond our nationalism and start seeing ourselves as all global citizens.

We all inhabit the same planet and it is about time we took collective responsibility for its long term health."

Kit Rogers is sustainable school co-ordinator at Priestlands School in Lymington

Householder: Rob Veck

Rob Veck
Rob Veck is renovating his detatched house in Colden Common

"I'm doing what I can to cut our carbon footprint as much as possible. Using Passive House Standards, which they use in Germany, we've put insulation everywhere.

So far we've put in underfloor insulation, installed a wood burning stove with solid concrete blocks around it to absorb the heat.

We will have insulation on the outside walls and roof of the new extension, as well as triple-glazed windows so the house will effectively have a "teacosy". If we minimise draughts, we could only need to use heating 10 days a year.

I had read The Party's Over by Richard Heinberg which made me think about how we use energy and what population the world's resources can support.

I decided to retire early from my job as an IBM project manager and use the pension and savings to invest in changes to the house, documenting it by step-by-step on Green Home Diary.

It's great fun and very rewarding being able to share knowledge with others.

I'm quite pessimistic about what will happen in Copenhagen - it's got very political. I feel I can influence my own life and locality but my influence diminishes when it comes to national and international decisions.

There is a lot of talk about new eco-homes but what about all the existing homes leaking heat and energy? - that is where the challenge is."

Rob Veck is currently renovating his 1979-built detached house in Colden Common.

Businesswoman: Sam MacArthur

Sam MacArthur
Sam MacArthur has holidayed-at-home in recent years

"I shop locally to support local retailers in Emsworth as much as I can and, for the last year, my husband and I are sharing one car - it helps that I work from home.

Around the home we recycle as much as possible and have our own composter, but think we could do a bit better with using energy-saving bulbs and lagging the loft a bit more. I'd like to get an energy monitor to see where we're using the most electricity.

We've taken UK holidays for the last couple of years, but usually enjoy going to France. Neither of us travel abroad for business or have taken long haul flights for several years.

I'm hoping that leaders will address the issues of climate change more seriously than previous attempts. It would be great if Obama would commit the US to greater carbon emission targets, since they are the worst offenders.

I think if governments, influential people and large organisations are seen to be doing their bit, then it can also persuade more people to follow suit."

Sam MacArthur runs internet marketing consultancy, forty-first.co.uk in Emsworth.

Student: Aakash Naik

Aakash Naik
Aakash Naik is part of the UK Youth Climate Change Coalition

"I've signed the 10:10 campaign pledge to cut my carbon emissions by 10% by the end of 2010. The students' union is also aiming for the 2010 targets which is amazing.

We've looked at what products we buy for the union and how we get a green message across to students - like encouraging them to use public transport.

Politicians will talk about targets for 2050 but they are very far in the distance, but we're setting a good example ourselves - it's about personal lifestyle choices.

I'm going to Copenhagen by ferry - I want to show that you can fly less but enjoy the journey more when you travel - it's an easy way of cutting carbon.

I'm not an angel, I eat lots of meat and forget to switch my lights off - but the reason I'm involved in climate change is that it is going to affect me by the time we get to 2050.

If we make the bold decisions now and make binding targets, it won't be too painful on us as individuals - compared to 20 years down the line when we'll have to deal with the consequences. Even if you don't believe in climate change, you have to see that the oil is running out - we've got to get to a post-carbon economy.

There is hope in the message that you can make small changes to your lifestyle now to make life healthier, happier and better."

Aakash Naik is vice-principal of Portsmouth University Students' Union and part of the UK Youth Climate Coalition Delegation at the Copenhagan Climate Change Summit.

Business manager: David Maskery

David Maskery
Alresford Golf Club saved 4,000 through energy efficiency measures

"Concerned about increasing utility charges in 2008, Alresford Golf Club undertook a complete review of its energy use. The Greening Campaign helped us draw up an action plan with some "quick fix" solutions.

Some examples were: using energy saving and LED bulbs, central heating and lighting timers, IT equipment configured to minimise energy use during periods of inactivity, kitchen waste was composted, we also fitted energy-reducing devices to beer and soft drink coolers.

The measures saved 8% of our gas use and over 10% on electricity compared with the previous year - that's a £4,000 saving against budget (2008-9).

It demonstrated to our members that the club is being prudent and effective with their money and supported the work of the local Greening Campaign Group in demonstrating to local business and individuals that changes can be made easily and with a tangible payback.

At the Copenhagen Summit we'd like to see a demonstration by governments and politicians that climate change is being taken seriously and that differences can be affected in the short term.

Governments need to make reducing carbon emissions and energy efficiency easier for small business and individuals, even to the extent of offering incentives to follow-through the schemes."

David Maskery is secretary/manager of Alresford Golf Club.




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