Friends of the Earth highlight Brixton energy scheme

Repowering London apprentices who worked to instal the Elmore House solar scheme in Brixton
Repowering London apprentices who worked to instal the Elmore House solar scheme in Brixton

While Brixton and Lambeth residents are at the forefront of current Extinction Rebellion activity, the area is also home to practical steps to tackle the climate crisis.

Friends of the Earth has recognised Brixton as a community that is already working to find ways to tackle the crisis.

In the wake of last night’s Climate: The Facts documentary by Sir David Attenborough, Friends of the Earth identified communities that are resisting schemes that would worsen climate change and ones that are doing something about it.

In Brixton, it said: “Everyone wins from harnessing the sun’s power on a block of flats. Schemes like Brixton Energy Solar 1– the UK’s first co-operatively owned renewable energy project on a social housing estate – is showing how communities can fight back.”

The scheme involved the installation of a solar energy scheme – effectively a small power station – on the roof of Elmore House off Loughborough Road. Friends of the Earth said such schemes save carbon dioxide emissions from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming.

The group raised the funds through a community share offer, attracting more than 100 investors in less than a month.

“Community power, community energy, community solutions: the fight against climate change and being able to control energy sources are people-powered,” said Friends of the Earth.

Habiba Usman, a 17-year-old resident of the Loughborough Estate and a graduate of the Brixton Energy Solar training programme, with Agamemnon Otero
Habiba Usman, a 17-year-old resident of the Loughborough Estate and a graduate of the Brixton Energy Solar training programme, with Agamemnon Otero

Agamemnon Otero, Brixton resident and Director of Brixton Energy Solar Cooperative, said: “Direct climate action starts with choosing where your energy comes from.

“Investing in a local energy cooperative brings power back to the people. Every time you spend money you are casting a vote.

“In Brixton we chose to learn, work and invest together with our community so we can feel, see, and be the difference we want in the world now. And we recommend it to everyone else.”

Friends of the Earth said: “We need bold and immediate government intervention to deal with the full extent of the emergency, but while government dawdles, Friends of the Earth argues people can meet the challenge head-on.

“If more communities take the climate challenge, the government won’t be able to ignore the groundswell and will be forced into over-due action.”

It listed five examples of local action. As well as Brixton, it highlighted:

MANCHESTER, where campaigners have won funding for a network of walking and cycling routes

SOUTH WALES, where the Gwent Levels that sweep along the coastline from Cardiff are threatened by a new road

NORTHUMBERLAND, where just eight people started a campaign to stop the destruction of a pristine are by opencast coal mining,

GLASTONBURY, where a local Friends of the Earth group launched a massive tree planting scheme that makes space for nature while absorbing carbon emissions.

Friends of the Earth is encouraging people to sign up to register an interest in campaigning on climate change.

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