‘UK Aware’ Sustainable living – Danny Carnegie’s innovation comes alive

From The Observer

This Friday, London’s Olympia exhibition hall throws open its doors to reveal a cornucopia of sustainable living at the fourth UK Aware exhibition. But it is definitely not a green fair or fayre. “Nothing against them,” says its founder Danny Carnegie, 35, “but we’re all about doing something that shows normal, mainstream people how to be sustainable. We’re not just about preaching to the converted.” And so at this year’s show you can learn how the Feed In Tariff (where you generate your own electricity and sell it back to the grid) will work for you, book a session with the Carbon Coach or learn the art of downshifting.

Danny, a Shropshire lad, trained as a fire fighter in London and decided that he wanted to live with a lighter impact on the planet. However he couldn’t find a single event that would show him how to adopt a sustainable lifestyle so he cashed in his fire-brigade pension and set up the first UK Aware show.

For the past 10 months he has been juggling his fire-fighting shifts with organising the event from his garden shed, dealing with hundreds of exhibitors and speakers. “It’s hard work, but I love it,” he says. He would also love to have a corporate sponsor for next year’s event to allow the exhibitors, many of whom are tiny businesses, to exhibit for free. I ask him what his fire-fighting colleagues make of this double life. “Some of them really get sustainability – one has his own environmental initiative,” he replies, “but you also get fear, ridicule and scepticism, especially around climate change. It’s a microcosm of the real world, and this is exactly what spurs me on to run our own show.”

UK Aware is on 25-26 March (ukaware.com). Observer readers are entitled to a 50% discount on the £7 entry fee by booking tickets online using the code OBS2011




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