#itshappening: real signs of a brighter future

These are the best #itshappening stories from 2012. Check out the latest updates on the main gallery.

Westmill Solar Coop

Community buys out the local solar farm

Westmill Solar Cooperative just became the UK's first and world's largest community-owned solar project, after raising £6 million to buy out their local solar park.

Homemade solar panels!

"I’m proud of my homemade solar panels which work well and cost £352 for materials, mainly pipe and valves, as the rest was discarded stuff. Now four summers old they’ve probably paid for themselves."

Joe Fergusson, Ayrshire

South Korea doubles 2013 emissions target!

The South Korean government has announced new emission reduction targets for 2013 - industrial and power sector businesses will be required to make a 3% cut compared to this year's target of 1.4%.

Reaching the new target would equate to a reduction of 17.2 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Photo: Ryan Pikkel

Cosying up to energy savings

"This photo features a fitter from the Cosy Home Company, founded by a friend of mine here in North Devon, low carbon guru Mukti Mitchell.

They specialise in energy conservation measures for period homes, including the secondary glazing system featured in the photo."
Pete Yeo, Devon


Britain's first community wind farm

The UK’s first community owned wind farm, Baywind Energy Co-operative was established in 1996. Baywind assisted the Co-op Group during their Join The Revolution campaign.


A safer school run in Bradford

Getting around Bradford just got a bit easier, thanks to this new walking and cycling bridge..

The Manchester Road bridge connects communities either side of the busy dual carriageway and provides a new safe, direct and traffic free route to school for pupils of Newby Primary School.

Photo: Sustrans

Mystery of the missing energy bills!

"I just received our energy bill. I am so happy to see how much our consumption has gone down, but why? Could it really just be that we broke (and not replaced) our electric kettle, replacing it with a whistling kettle? I've just published a blog post running through my home energy saving measures and trying to work out what's made the difference"
Nicoletta Landi, Ealing

Repair and re-use on the Royal Mile

Remade in Edinburgh is a community re-use and repair project that's gone from strength to strength since it secured crowd funding at our Pitch Pledge Party event .

From a newly-acquired HQ on the city's prestigious Royal Mile, Remade in Edinburgh runs free repair sessions for computers, furniture and textiles. By helping people keep their stuff going for longer, the project brings down the emissions that come from making and shipping all those unnecessary replacements. They've even inspired a few spinoffs, including our own Remade Around the World project.

South America's largest wind farm

"The inauguration of the wind farm in Oaxaca, Mexico, the largest in South America."

Photo: the Mexican Embassy in London


Solar cinema in Brighton

10:10 Brighton & Hove and One Way Theatre powered up the solar cinema for an evening of short films.
Tom Chute, Brighton

The watering team

A food growing site in a Premier Inn hotel car park in Belsize Park. Set up by Transition Belsize, it has rainwater capture from a nearby wall and wormeries to create compost from food waste. From left to right: Lois, Ed, Helena, Liz..
Alexis Rowell, London

Kyocera's king of cycling

"This is Philip Duley – our most prolific cyclist from the recent Reading Cycle Challenge.

Kyocera got over half of our staff cycling during June 2012, clocking up 371 miles."
Tracey Rawling-Church, Reading

The low-carbon cottage at the end of the rainbow

"This is a photo of our triple-glazed house, with solar panels which help to run the pump in the bore-hole which supplies our water & runs our ground source heat pump (& the washing is drying outside in the sunshine!)"
Judith Witts, Argyle

Skill-sharing under the solar tree!

"Demand Energy Equality is a Bristol based grass roots energy project that seeks to empower and power low income households through the transferral of DIY solar panel skills.

This autumn we built the UK's first solar tree in south east Bristol with help from over seventy local community members, each of whom participated in DIY solar PV workshops over three days. The solar panels, built from reused and reclaimed materials, were then attached and wired onto the steel tree structure designed by local artist John Packer. The tree will power a rain fed irrigation pump for local food resilience project Edible Futures, while inspiring people to learn more about and take action on energy, ready for the future."

 Photo: Demand Energy Equality, Bristol

Picture of inside of wooden cabin with view of countryside through window

Safe cycling in Lincolnshire

Cyclists pass the Lady of Shallott sculpture on the Water Rail Way in Lincolnshire – part of a national network of safe cycling and walking routes provided by Sustrans.

Photo: David Martin/Sustrans


Wildlife approved solar power!

"A robin inspecting last year's project, our solar powered shed."
Gavin Roberts, Ickenham

Wind, solar and hydro power on the Isle of Eigg!

Four 4kW wind turbines on the Isle of Eigg. A dam feeds 100kW hydro and is the biggest renewable generator in Eigg Electric.

"We've also added 20kW of PV to the 10kW we started with. 30kW solar PV all year round has made a big difference!"

Photos: Lucy Conway

Growing community with Planet Southbank

Planet Southbank, a community group set up in the Southbank area of York, was set up by local residents to encourage low-carbon living and sustainable lifestyles by growing and sharing food, supporting local independent traders, promoting energy-saving through information stalls and events and by arranging fun social events that promote community cohesion.

This photo shows Cath in the community garden (a partnership with the local church, St Clements) handing veggies to passers-by (we get stopped by people so often it’s hard to get the gardening done!)

Kate Lock, North Yorkshire


University carbon-cutting challenge!

"This is a photo of me on campus at Wivenhoe Park, Essex, recruiting student members to the society, explaining what we do as a society (e.g. lobbying the University to switch to a renewable energy supplier, trips to permaculture projects, eco pubs, tree planting events) and giving away free houseplants to students when they join the society!"

Tom Jones, President of the University of Essex Environmental Protection Society


Living wall of insulation

"Living wall - put up to hide the oodles of external wall insulation (hemp) behind it to keep the house cosy. It looks like rows of salad at the beginning but soon it goes all 'rainforest' and wild!"

Ayesha Garrett, London

A snowy sign of a well insulated roof

Marie Parker from Harrogate, North Yorkshire sent us this photo of her newly insulated roof. The reduced amount of heat escaping means that the snow is melting much more slowly than on her neighbour's roof!

Marie Parker, Harrogate, North Yorkshire

Low-carbon lohberger

"We replaced our oil-burning AGA (it came with the house) with a woodpellet cooker called a lohberger. The woodpellets come from a renewable source."

Mechteld Blake-Kalff, Gloucester

Fish and veg side-by-side in the city!

"Our new Aquaponics system in Birmingham: growing fish and vegetables together, in the city. Space efficient, energy efficient.. and a great way to get people interested in food security and climate change."

Jonathan Melhuish, Birmingham

Pedal power at Commercial!

"Here is nice picture of one of our Green Angels teams who introduced pool bikes to encourage staff to explore the local area at lunchtime, to go on local appointments by bike and to try cycle commuting."

Simon Graham, Commercial Group


Question Time sees the light

"I’ve been greatly inspired recently to hear that the entire travelling BBC Question Time lighting system has been converted to LED.

The last two programmes broadcast were entirely lit with LED. The power consumption for the show is now just 25% of what it was before."

Colin Jones, Devon

Tasty meals from surplus food

"Foodcycle volunteers rescue surplus food from supermarkets and cook nutritious meals for people at risk from food poverty and social isolation. This photo's from a Jubilee event they did with Age UK back in June 2012.

Mal Chadwick, London

Photo: Foodcycle


Sharing a lift, saving a lot

This is Kate from Norfolk, who's making huge savings by car-sharing with liftshare.com

Photo: liftshare

Overland adventure to Morocco

"This is me at Tangiers Port on a stormy day in November 2011. The boat was hours late and the sea was heaving but I wouldn't have swapped the overland journey for the world. It's a wonderful short trip, which saw our boat followed by a pod of dolphins.

The Carbon cut by travelling overland to Morocco is quite significant too!"
Matthew Butcher, London

Picture of inside of wooden cabin with view of countryside through window

World's largest solar park keeps breaking records!

First Solar's giant Agua Caliente project in Arizona is due to be completed in 2014, but it's already producing 250MW of clean electricity.

Photo: First Solar

Exploring Asia by train!

Kate Andrews of Loco2 on an epic railway adventure on the Trans-Mongolian railway. Check out her blog for tips on planning your own train trip of a lifetime.

Photo: Loco2

A safe and sunny cycle with Sustrans!

A young cyclist gets her balance on Route 754 by Edinburgh's Union Canal, part of a national network of safe walking and cycling routes provided by Sustrans

Photo: Chandra Prasad/ Sustrans


Copenhagen's round-the-clock renewable energy generator

"Being the 'green' soul that I am, I'm always on the lookout for cool things that do good rather than bad to our environment. On a recent holiday to Denmark, I haven't even landed yet and already spotted a big windfarm near the coast of Copenhagen. Apparently this is one of the largest windfarms in the world!"
Ksenya Kopilovsky, London

Camden's ultra-insulated social housing doesn't need central heating

"The London Borough of Camden is building 55 new homes to the world-leading Passivhaus standard. Construction should be completed in 2013."

Photo: Willmott Dixon

Matchmaking for lonely gloves

"This photo is from our big Glove Love giveaway last year. At Do The Green Thing, we match up tons and tons of single gloves that have lost their partners and then we gave hundreds away last winter to spread some warmth and some anti-waste messaging in central London. We cant wait to go out and do it again this year!"

Photo: Do The Green Thing

All aboard the solar powered barge!

"Gliding along Britain's canals on a solar powered barge."
 Yvonne McDermott, Oxford

Radiators run on solar energy!

"We are running two radiators from ten evacuated tubes. They are set to come on by the white box controller if the water temperature is above 25 degrees. On clear days they are hot. On less clear days they provide a  gentle warmth in the room. They keep a cold room warm for 9 months of the year if the weather is not overcast so no need to turn the gas heating on."

Maureen and Trevor Neal

A platinum Solar School

"Labour MP for Anglesey, Albert Owen giving us our first £5 donation for the Solar Schools project.

At our Platinum Eco Schools Award presentation day Albert Owen also awarded us with our eco platinum award and flag!"

Albert Owen and Rick Mills with pupils who want to start a project to install solar panels at Llandegfan Primary School.

 Photo: Llandegfan Primary School

My very first (home built electric) car!

"Here is a picture of me with my home built electric car :)

Zero pollution and only costs NZ$0.98 to charge up."

Anthony Field, New Zealand

Low carbon cupcakes in Cumbria!

"Cupcake making workshop at Riversmeet community centre. A building refit improved our energy rating from G > B and the carbon emission of the building was reduced by 72%."

Cathy Newbery, Cumbria

"Six bikes are better than one car!"

"I live in Portsmouth with my wife & two daughters. This was a family cycle that took us 14 miles around Portsmouth - no petrol, no carbon - just pedal power, a picnic & a great day out exploring the cycle paths of a busy city - great day at no cost to us or the environment!"

James Dunstan, Portsmouth

Cycling and scooting to school in Reading

Pupils and staff at EP Collier primary in Reading can focus on lessons without worrying about bike and scooter thieves walking off with their wheels, thanks to a new cycle store.

Photo: EP Collier

LED lights for a brighter kitchen

"This project came about when refurbishing a room to save energy in my kitchen. I simply replaced an old pendant light fitting with a CFL, that was unsuitable for a kitchen, with a brand new two-swivel arm 4 swivel-lamp device from my local electrical retailer, and got some new LEDs from him at the same time to ensure it's bright, targeted and efficient - with directional light aimed at cooker, sink, fridge and table.

It took just minutes to fit, and all runs on just a few watts - it is literally brilliant!"

Martin Fodor, Bristol

Brighton's solar-powered church!

"Shrinking the Footprint, the church goes green - solar panels going onto St George’s Church in July as part of the Brighton Energy Co-Op."

Ruth Knight, London

Mexico steps up

Mexican President Felipe Calderon signs the country's groundbreaking climate bill into law. Mexico is the second country in the world to establish a legally binding plan to bring down emissions.

Photo courtesy of the Mexican Embassy in London


Why I love my woodburner

"Getting a woodburner has definitely been the loveliest carbon reducing measure we’ve taken. Not only has it saved us around 2 tonnes of CO2 and £200 a year, but it’s also made our living room the toastiest ever, and we get the pleasure of watching the flames flicker. Gorgeous!"

Ann Kelly, London


Lovely local produce!

"Fantastic locally grown artichokes from our local greengrocer. Shopping locally has reduced our packaging and recyclable waste by 208kg a year. Our worms and compost bin means we have no waste going to land fill."

George Casley, London


Solar powered school!

"Nayland Primary school in Suffolk and its 15.5kW community funded solar install, organised by Green Energy Nayland."

Will Hitchcock, Suffolk

Loft insulation - keeping the heat in and bills down!

"Just insulated my loft rafters. That should keep the chill out - and the bills down! "

Jonathan Bown, Hitchin

Walking on sunshine!

"PV being installed on our home in Oxford. Watch the video here!"

Tim Nicholson, Oxford



Just the beginning...

It's good to celebrate progress, but #itshappening isn't the same as #jobdone! Let's use these images to show what's possible, and inspire the world to go further and faster to get climate change sorted!