Though the Learning History research started with 5 iconic stories, it is clear that these are not the only stories of innovation there are. During story circles at the Learning History workshop in February 2008, 25 short stories of innovation were told by people from across the country in Local Authorities or connected organisations. These two-minute stories were taped and, from the recordings that worked (!), 20 were transcribed. They are reproduced here to inspire and to show the breadth of things people are doing and thinking in order to innovate towards a more sustainable future.
1.Pyrolysis parade tells how an officer found out about a new compact Pyrolysis system that could transform waste management in the future
2. The Green Team Challenge tells of how a team are currently trying to address waste in the offices of central government bodies and the challenges they face.
3. Policy on the hoof tells of how, by gathering key politicians into a facilitated workshop setting, a group were able to get comitted buy-in to ambitious targets for carbon reduction. The process normally would have taken several months.
4. Giving Local Heroes a Voice tells of how some wilful individuals with a keen interest in alternative energy got their voices heard by using the strutiny process.
5. Lime Mortar's the wrong colour tells of how a Local Authority led a restoration project to show that conservation and carbon reduction can co-exist....well almost.
6. No-one ever asks us! How a lone sustainability officer built a campaign to introduce sustainability measures in her Authority. Read how, starting with an inclusive Lunch, one step led to another and the chief exec ended up on his bike!
7. It's not me mate Read about a town in Russia where the politics and energy structures conspire to mean no-one can take a crucial decision. Result: A very cold February for inhabitants every year
8. Fourth Big Ambition Read a story that tells how, by getting a mix of people together in the same room, climate change and sustainability became the fourth big ambition for Sheffield.
9. Long Distance Intimacy Read how a new generation Video Conferencing system is so realistic that one user sometimes tries to reach under a table 3000 miles away! The impacts for reducing business-related air-travel are very real for at least one corporate employee as well as his colleagues.
10. On yer bike! Read an inspiring story about how an innovative cycle centre in the town of Middlesborough not only got people on their bikes to work but also spawned new projects and increased wider awareness of sustainability and environmental issues.
11. Grist to the Mill – Hydropower in South Somerset describes how Mill owners across Somerset were brought together to explore hydropower and what happened as a result
12. Quality Counts – Taking contamination out of East London describes how the problem of contamination in recycling waste in East London was addressed
13. Talking Heads – Communicating Climate Science tells how a group of scientists were brought together with members of the public to discuss climate science there were some striking differences in how different scientists communicated about the issue.
14. For Peat’s Sake – Enhancing Carbon Storage in the Peak District What have degraded peat moorlands to do with climate change? Read how work to re-vegetate this land is important for increasing carbon storage potential and so all part of the rich pattern of addressing climate change.
15. Retyred – The story of my pencil case A practical, recycled pencil case is wearing well and reminds its owner daily of how well recycled products can be innovative, useful and practical.
16. Local Lessons – Melting roads and open windows! Read how an assessment of Climate Change impacts (LCLIP) has been carried out and how it is being used to inform decision makers at a local level.
17. Be bold! Ask for a million £ A bold request for funding led to an energy efficiency project being run right across one Local Authorities LSP (Local Strategic Partnership) bringing them together around one table to discuss energy efficiency. Who knows where it might lead?
18. Tapping into energy on energy Read how a group of sustainability officers capitalized on the growing interest in the Private sector for climate by bringing all the big employers together and offering them a means to start practically addressing carbon reduction.
19. Going fishing – catching opportunity A sustainability director in a late starting Local Authority got good results by a combination of putting signals out into the world of carbon reduction as well as looking inward to capitalize and join up what was going on already.
20. Waiting for the cows to come home – a cautionary tale An ambitious climate awareness campaign faced many stumbling blocks when it came to getting it ‘on the road’. Read about some of the familiar realities that dogged this innovative project.