Big Green Gathering 2005

by James Lea, 10 August 2005

One of the UK's largest alternative festivals, the Big Green Gathering is "an educational event, designed to increase awareness of the ecological crisis facing our planet, and of the steps we can all make to help build a genuinely sustainable future.  It is for people who care about health, the environment, sustainability, our children's future and life in general." The 2005 event took place from August 3 to 8 in the Mendip Hills near Cheddar.

A handbuilt wind turbine, generating power to run the permaculture tent's lighting and sound. The multiblade design ensures good startup in low winds, and can be furled back to prevent damage in high winds.

A handbuilt wind turbine.

James in the tipi field.

James in the tipi field; superb structures which can be made surprisingly warm when a fire is built in the middle.

A portable solar cooker. This focuses sunlight over a large area onto a point source, such as a cooking pot, concentrating sufficient heat to allow cooking from sunlight

A portable solar cooker.

Side view of a portable solar cooker.

Side view of the solar cooker, mounted on a tilting axis to allow tracking of the sun and maintain optimum focus for quick cooking.

The Campaigns field with a wide range of organisations represented. On the far side is one of the large marquees used for talks and performances.

The "quiet area" part of the camp site!

The campsite - this was the so-called "quiet area"!

Michael Meacher, former Environment Minister and Tony Juniper, Director of Friends of the Earth at "Any Green Questions?" discussing a range of topics including climate change and Peak Oil.

Simon Fairlie

Simon Fairlie from The Land Is Ours, explaining how the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act forced us all off the land and into towns and cities, driving up the cost of housing and massively increasing car use, while making the countryside unaffordable for those of us who would like to make a living from it.

Seize The Day, an excellent band with some inspiring songs. Their gigs are always packed out and are popular on the festival circuit.

Seize the Day

Solar powered sound stage.

The solar powered sound stage - no diesel or petrol generators in sight!

A Douglas Fir framed house: a beautiful structure which could be infilled with straw-bale walls and thermafleece insulation. Cost? About £8,500. Why are conventional houses so expensive? Answer: ridiculous land prices driven by the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act (see Simon Fairlie picture above).

Douglas Fir timber framed house skeleton.

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-- (c) James Lea, www.GreenLiving.co.uk, 2005 - 2007 --