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Communities carry on Green Crusade

The WMN launched its Green Communities series only in March, but already the grass roots environmental campaigns we followed have had a remarkable impact.

Every week, ordinary people in towns and villages are joining forces to combat climate change, falling oil reserves and energy security. Graeme Demianyk speaks to groups in two urban areas - Falmouth
and Exeter - who have taken up the call to arms, and also catches up with the five existing Green Communities.


Urban locations do not lend themselves easily to green makeovers. That's Lorely Lloyd's assessment of her efforts to clean up Falmouth's act.

A town still dependent on its historic ties with the docks and attracting the tourism pound, just going about its daily business is energy intensive. As such, its carbon footprint is likely to be higher per head of population than rural towns and villages.

Add to that the long-term unemployed, a mushrooming elderly population and the recent injection of thousands of students at the university campus and it's a tough, diverse crowd to convince.

"We have peculiar problems in Falmouth that won't be met the same way as other, smaller communities," says long-standing environmental campaigner Ms Lloyd.

Falmouth is one of the increasing number of communities to adopt "transition town status".

A set of guidelines spell out how a town can make the "transition". Ms Lloyd explains: "Transition brings it down to a package where you're saying how do you fuel yourself, how do you feed yourself, how do you keep your economy going? It's a mind set that people can see and grasp."

Ms Lloyd was inspired to take Falmouth down the transition path by seeing both The End of Suburbia, a documentary on "peak oil", and a lecture by Rob Hopkins, architect of the transition concept.

"I am happier than I would be if we were all singing and dancing. Generally that doesn't last. When someone converts very quickly, they'll go back into their old style really quickly. We're building up a team now."