Reflections on the UK Workshop “Carbon Zero Europe” by Miss Isabel Ruiz Mattoon

“Let’s Do It Creatively ... and Environmentally with Renewable Energy” (CERE)

In partnership with

RRTC S.R.L. Romania, Euro Gestione Impresa. Italy, Centro de Educación de Personas Adultos, Cáceres Spain

Reflections on the UK Workshop

“Carbon Zero Europe”

by Miss Isabel Ruiz Mattoon

Wednesday 2nd May 2012:

The CERE workshop began with a voluntary visit to Moor Farm, in Buckinghamshire, where we went  see a watermill. Only three assisted with the visit: Carlo, Krzysztof and I (Isabel Ruiz Mattoon). The visit was interesting and Thomas Munday, the owner, explained how the watermill functioned in the past, and he spoke of  the farm surrounding it, which is not used as a farm much more. Some buildings are now rented for different activities. Krzysztof measured the watermill for a future project. I took some  digital photographs. Carlo was very interested in the farm history and spoke a lot with the owner.

After this visit, all the participants of the workshop were to gather in Metro bank Uxbridge, but only four of us, Veronica, Krzysztof, Maria  and I arrived. Finally, all the participants joined together at Thai Pan Restaurant, Uxbridge, for Asian food.  The dinner was very good and it was an occasion to get in touch with everyone, all the participants enjoyed the networking and most interacted.

Thursday 3rd May 2012:

This was the day of the floating classroom, on a narrow barge called Elsdale II. It began late because Italian people’s hotel was very far from Uxbridge and they had some problems with the bus. We had to wait one hour for them. In spite of that, this day afloat was fantastic! We took many photographs of the Grand Union Canal and we felt close to nature though we were in London.

Krzysztof, the captain of the boat and  Michael Moritz welcomed us on this electric narrow barge  which doesn’t emit any of CO2 and it was a perfect venue for a workshop about “Zero Carbon Europe”. Michael Moritz explained the safety rules with respect to the journey. On the boat, we assisted in several interactive presentations. 

The first one, by Kye Gbangbola who is a renowned International Standards Environmental Manager was entitled “Sustainable Challenge and Sustainable Reporting”, it was very useful. Kye explained how the companies including educational institutions use sustainability reporting can help preserve the environment and also save businesses money and those other companies that do not. He talked about the necessity of changing millions of English buildings in order to improve the energetic efficiency, and retold his experience of working on  the construction of the Olympic Games Park. This information was most up-to-date and it was a good example of recycling materials for construction, improving energy efficiency and using more sources of renewable energy.

Krzysztof Bahrynowski’ presentation was about the issues and alternatives to reduction of the Carbon emissions in Europe, and was called “Zero Carbon Europe Importance”.  He explained that 60% of the electricity which is consumed is lost during transport. It is important that  we use modern approaches of sciences in order to help to reduce the waste of energy so that we can  use renewable energy more efficiently. He reminded us of the conflicts between business, scientists and politicians and used as an example the conflict between Edison and Tesla as well as the financier Morgan and Tesla.

During the first coffee break, everybody exchanged their different feelings and impressions about the Elsdale II and the purpose of the floating classroom.

Pepe Calvarro of Caceres talked about the law and history of renewable energy in Spain. He explained to us that from the beginning of the 80’s until now, a lot of laws were created about this purpose, which came about because of petrol crisis in 1976/77. But this presentation was difficult to follow because there was no interactive support, and he spoke eloquently and passionately from his notes. Unfortunately we have no video.

Maria Luisa Gonzalez discussed about her organisation’s different activities realised with adult learners  in Caceres so as to educate them in the environmental awareness.  For instance, an activity that you can easily realise is to search in the newspapers and internet for  all the information about renewable energy and chat about that in some meetings to improve the knowledge about environment. 

Another example that she gave is an activity about the investigation realised by a company called AQUAPHYTEX, which uses seaweed water cleaning processes, which is a very good alternatives to chemicals. 

The last activity she talked about is an experiment of electricity production using a lemon, an orange or a grapefruit, in other words a biological battery.

The last presentation for the morning was done by a volunteer teacher  from Joanna Pinewood Education, Miss Veronica Campo-Alcolado. It was on “how to engage learner’s interest in renewable energy”.  She talked to us about her teaching experience of the renewable energy with learners. She showed us how when she meets new learners, she questions them to verify what they know about this subject. Then she builds her lessons on the foundation of what they know, because she doesn’t want to teach something they already know. I think this is a good way to teach people without doing anything useless. Then she dealt about the different activities she does, organising reflection groups or research groups about potential of renewable energies we can develop to reduce pollution or exhaust emissions engendered by transport, energetic consumption at home and factories. Please see her presentation for more information.  

For lunch, we ate on the boat from a traditional English sandwich buffet. It was great! and in the afternoon we had  traditional English tea and  fresh cream scones with strawberry jam.

The last activity of the floating class was a recycling activity organised by the ladies from Caceres, Spain and they showed us how to make jewellery from aluminium can ring pulls.

The UK coordinator organised a management meeting at the Travelodge  hotel. My impression for this day was very good.

During the evening we had  dinner in a marvellous Indian food restaurant, the Koh-I-Noor in Uxbridge.

Friday 4th May 2012:

This day was in the Clapham Centre,  Romanian and Spanish people travelled together by the tube.

The Italian people were an hour late again because they bought the wrong tickets. Whilst we waited participants were shown art done by the late Stanislaw Bahrynowski and Jerzy Bahrynowski in the library.  “Snow” and José were excited.   After coffee and biscuits  everybody was ready, the workshop began.

The first presentation was done by an Italians. Massimiliano Lo Iacomo explained the reasons for using photovoltaic energy and told that the Italian government had closed a nuclear plant after Fukushima’s incident and that it was buying electricity from French Nuclear Power Stations.  Then, Nicola Cantore dealt about biomass and methane.

In Europe, 25% of the energy consumption comes from the biomass, while in other countries it can reach 35%, so Europe could improve use of the technology, for a better efficiency. 

The last Italian person was Carlo Smaldone who spoke about all the energy alternatives in Italy besides nuclear energies. He explained to us  in detail the different kind of alternative ways to obtain energy, without emitting CO2.

Before lunch, I did an interactive exercise with the audience about the Sun. Everybody interacted together with me during this presentation. I think it was a good idea for the interaction for  the participants, but I would have preferred doing this exercise at the next  workshop, because my level of English is not sufficient at this moment.

The lunch time was a good moment for the interaction between the participants because we stayed  in the  Clapham  centre and cooked together salad, spaghettis and other foods for the 20 participants. One adult learner cooked Halal lasagne, chicken and tomato soup.

The last workshop session was a presentation by a Romanian, Ionut Ionescu, and was about the Romanian investigation concerning Carbon Zero in Romania. He concluded saying that the most important thing for us is to share our different ideas for teaching renewable energy, with innovative ideas and new activities with which to propose to the learners.

The workshop was concluded by a dinner in a traditional Polish restaurant, the white Eagle club  in Balham. A certificate was given to every participant by the coordinator Krzysztof Bahrynowski for their participation to this workshop.

Saturday 5th May 2012:

We took part in  some cultural activities like shopping in  Camden Town Market, British Museum and Piccadilly Circus. The day was fun but the weather was rainy. On the whole the workshop happened at the coolest May recorded in May 2012. The outdoor temperature was 13 C and for many participants used to 27 C it was uncomfortable.


The whole workshop was useful which dealt  with political and economic issues  of Carbon Zero problems in Europe. The information is complex. Teaching  renewable energies to adult learners needs more simplification.

Miss Isabel Ruiz Mattoon (Volunteer Manager, Joanna Pinewood Education Limited)