CAT (CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE TECHNOLOGY)

After the trip we were asked a number of questions in order to gain an insight into our experiences of CAT. Here are my responses.

1. Had you heard of CAT before you came on the module? If ‘yes’ then please give an idea where you’d heard about them.

Nope, the module was the first time i had heard about CAT.

2. Please give your thoughts on the 3x most notable points raised in the sustainability lecture on site. For example it could be methods of reducing CO2 discussed, the varying views of the ‘future’ given the issues of oil and climate change or maybe the idea of ‘real worth’ with materials and artifacts (i.e. remember Jo explaining that one torch would appear to be the most sustainable but in practise another was simpler and more effective).

  •  An interesting point that was raised, one that i hadn’t thought about before, is the fact that it is unjustifiable for us, the UK, to ask a developing country to reduce their carbon emissions when we can produce up to 10 times as much. So we, and other first world countries, need to be the first to set the bar for emssion reductions.
  • The second most intersting point, was that Cuba is the most eco friendly country in the world. Due to oil restrictions historically, so they have adapted their lifestyles to survive without it. Something that we all need to do.
  • The third interesting point was that recycling is not enough, that just turning the switch off is not enough. That we need to fundamentally change our lifestyles in order to reduce comsumption. This is more important.

3. Please give your thoughts on the 3x most notable things picked-up while at CAT (i.e. it could be one of the specific exhibits seen, their self sufficiency with solar etc and/or maybe the clever use of materials with specific buildings to help reduce CO2 etc).

  •  I really liked the solar powered roof. It demonstrated really well that you can make a roof out of solar panels that really looks good, as well as producing a lot of power.
  • I was interested in the main building, how it was built sustainably (as much as possible) and how it had been planned out specifically to effectively achieve its goals. All of the strange materials that were used in the building were really interesting.
  • I also liked the simple and easy to understand diagrams around the site, demonstrating simple improvements people can make, for instance facing houses south in order to gain the most benefits from the sunlight.

4. Now you’ve had time to reflect, what 3x things gained from the CAT visit might you bring forward into your ideas and developments for the sustainable packaging brief?

  • The talk demonstrated how different materials, sometimes strange materials can have benefitial properties that can compete with synthetic materials. So i will make sure to look at unlikely places when researching materials.
  • It highlighted how important considerations into energy consumption and chemical usage in maufacture and production of products are. So i will really look into the materials and production processes that could possibly be used in order to really limit the energy used and use as little harmful chemicals as possible.
  • Local production and material sourcing is also important, i think if it is possible to source a material locally rather than internationally it is worth while environmentally.
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