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Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Thursday, 21 May 2009 16:51 UK
Living a sustainable Norfolk life
Wind turbine at Swaffham, Norfolk (Photo: PA / Sean Dempsey)
Wind farms across Norfolk help conserve energy

The first Norwich and Norfolk Sustainable Living Festival looks at how our 'green' actions can benefit future generations.

More than 30 organisations are hosting exhibitions, debates, workshops and activities around sustainable living at The Forum in Norwich.

The fair culminates in the BBC Garden Design Event to give advice on making your garden wildlife friendly.

The festival takes place from Friday, 22 May until Sunday, 31 May, 2009.

The Sustainable Living Festival has been founded by the University of East Anglia (UEA) and Community University Engagement East (CUE East).

"We are trying to get people of all ages to come along and find out what they can do to put a bit of sustainability back into their lives and everyone else's," said Angela Nanka-Bruce, a representative from CUE East.

The festival looks at many different aspects of 'green' living, including wildlife conservation, bio-fuels and even bicycle maintenance.

"There are major challenges facing us in society in how we continue to produce things like food," said Dr Colwyn Thomas, lecturer at the UEA in the School of Biological Sciences.

"Crop production is going to be a major challenge in the future and we have to be able to do that in a sustainable way.

"At the moment when we produce food and crops, they require a huge amount of input to optimise yield and that's not always sustainable.

"We've put on a display to raise awareness of how biotechnology can have a major impact on sustainable living in the future - not just in terms of food production, but in terms of individual health as well."

Help the environment

Solar panels
You can find out how sustainable energy helps us all

You can engross yourself in the technical science behind living harmoniously with the planet, but the festival is for anyone who wants to learn how they can help the environment, even if it's just by turning their television off standby.

"It's not just about being technical and learning about composting, there's lots of different facets at the festival," said Angela.

"We have lectures in the evenings on many interesting subjects, such as the plight of the honeybee, and there are many workshops for children - the Girl Guides are even helping people make wind turbines. There's something for everyone," she added.

A giant map titled The Butterfly Effect also lines the floor of the Atrium in The Forum, where people can plot what they want to use the Broads for.

"People are going to put stickers down - the stickers will then highlight how people want to use our countryside," said Chris, a volunteer at the Sustainable Living Festival.

"Some stickers are for conservation, others for tourism and others for agriculture. We're hoping to get an understanding of the differences of opinion in Norfolk for what people want to see happen in the Broads," he added.

BBC Garden Design Event 2009

A monarch butterfly (Photo: Mario Vazquez / AFP / Getty Images)
The Butterfly Effect plots how people want to use the Norfolk Broads

The final three days of the festival culminate with the BBC Garden Design Event 2009, which is linking up with BBC Springwatch, local schools and Fusion at The Forum to showcase films showing the importance of gardening in Norfolk.

You can also find details of the Garden Trail, where individuals and businesses have opened their doors to show how they have made Norwich city centre environmentally friendly.

"At the BBC Garden Design Event they will be taking over and building gardens - some will be based on an allotment style garden and people will be able to see a mirror image of the Springwatch garden at Pensthorpe too," said Angela.

If you want to find out about how you can make a difference, the Sustainable Living Festival takes place at The Forum, Norwich, from Friday, 22 May until Sunday, 31 May, 2009.

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