A small town in England has been able to embrace the participation and enthusiasm of many of its 1,000 residents in an effort to become the first carbon-neutral village in the UK.
"Until recently, Ashton - as the locals call it - was an affluent, sleepy community of just 1,000 people. But last year the village was unexpectedly transformed into a model for grassroots efforts to fight climate change."
"Aiming to become the first carbon-neutral village in the United Kingdom, Ashton residents have mounted an aggressive campaign that is equal parts competition and collaboration, replacing incandescent bulbs, installing solar panels, planting trees, and boosting their recycling. Given the huge number of variables, it's unlikely that anyone will ever know when (or if) the village will fully attain its goal. But it is already setting an example with a well-stocked website, a promotional video, and even a rap song performed by the local kids."
"'Working as a community, you don't feel like a crank or an oddball,' says organizer Garry Charnock. 'The message to government is: People are willing to do things.' The government seems to be listening. In April, Ashton Hayes used a $51,000 grant from the British government to hold a conference to teach other communities what it had learned."