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Meet our Net Zero Heroes

Do you know someone who is going the extra mile to cut carbon? Nominate your Net Zero Hero.

Dr Steve Martin

Net Zero Hero Steve Martin

Steve from Matlock is one of the founders of a community benefit co-operative called Derbyshire Dales Community Energy Ltd DDCE is a group of Derbyshire Dales residents keen to take local action on mitigating climate change and promoting social justice. Along with fellow DDCE board members Steve has worked tirelessly to establish the group, putting in hundreds of hours of unpaid work. The group is currently aiming to have solar panels installed on many business and commercial roofs to reduce energy use and the impact on the environment. Steve lives in a very eco-friendly house, has solar panels, drives an electric vehicle and aspires to the values of a more sustainable low carbon lifestyle. Thank you Steve for all your hard work and achievements.

Cathryn Wilkins

Net Zero Hero Cathryn Wilkins

Cathryn from Allestree started buying from a Zero waste store in 2018 – refilling shampoo, conditioner and various household product bottles for her family. She became a great fan of this way of shopping to cut waste and wanted to encourage others to do the same.

However, many people don't live close to a Zero waste store or struggle to find time to visit one. Cathryn's solution? She would bring refills to people's doorsteps in Derbyshire, along the lines of a milk van, and R3-Fill was born.

Through her initiative people have greater access to products that are kind to the environment. All liquid products are delivered in glass milk bottles and empty bottles collected, keeping the bottles in circulation to be used over and over again and reducing plastic waste in the process.

Thank you, Cathryn, for making a difference.

Mark Day

Net zero hero Mark Day

Mark has strived to maintain high levels of sustainably and ethical practices within his refill/wholefoods shop Day Zero in Buxton. He researches extensively and ensures he listens to customer feedback. He continued this during lockdown, always ensuring the environmental impacts of the 'shopping' were first addressed and adapting to challenging circumstances.

He introduced a zero emission delivery service in Buxton by electric cargo bike and other High Peak areas by electric car.

Mark provides knowledge and tips to customers and is always there to answer questions. Net zero is at the heart of his practice.

Rosalynde Grum

Net Zero Hero Rosalynde Grum

Ros has overseen the creation of a community garden and orchard in Quarndon. This was a team effort involving residents and Futures Housing Group (FHG) who manage the land. FHG have been very supportive but Ros has designed, organised, co-ordinated, advised and wielded a trowel to make it all happen.

She also, almost single-handedly, created a wildflower roundabout in the village.

Both ventures have reduced the carbon footprint of mowing and brought much pleasure to humans and insects. What a star!

Isobel Shorrock

Smiling woman wearing glasses in a field on a sunny day cuddling her pet dog and surrounded by buttercups

Isobel has been instrumental in initiating and organising the Quarndon Repair Café, which launched in June 2021 and has quickly become established as a monthly event resulting in a wide variety of items being repaired and returned to use. This has a double environmental benefit from avoiding items ending up in landfill, and also avoiding the materials and energy cost of new replacement items being manufactured.

In addition to the items repaired, the monthly Quarndon Repair Café has proved to be a great social meeting place for people from the community to get together for a hot drink, cake and a chat, which for some has been a lifeline out of isolation, as the pandemic has eased. Great result Isobel!

Find out more about Repair Cafés.

The Whitworth and Darley Dale Town Council

Net Zero Hero Alan Long
Pictured is Alan Long, chair of the Whitworth Charitable Trust and Darley Dale town councillor.

Darley Dale Town Council, together with local charitable trust The Whitworth has launched The Big Green Pledge Campaign to help make Darley Dale a better place, take action on climate change and reduce fuel poverty.

Local people can make their personal pledges to reduce carbon in their own homes and lives on The Big Green Pledge webpage. Some example pledges are walk or cycle to school or work, eat less meat, only boil what you need in the kettle, grow your own food, and turn down your heating.

Pledges are recorded on the website which adds up how much carbon is being saved. A physical thermometer style display will also be in place near the Whitworth to record progress.

This is just the start of an ongoing program to help people understand more about retro-fitting their homes, greening their gardens and address the increasing problem of high energy costs.

Darcie Cousins

Net zero hero Darcie Cousins

When Darcie was unsuccessful in her search for a refill shop near her home in Hognaston, she decided to take matters into her own hands and set up her own mobile zero waste shop.

Now, almost 3 years on from launching her mobile business Refills on the Road, Darcie is busy travelling around Derbyshire, refilling her customers' reusable containers with cupboard staples, cleaning products, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and other plastic-free products. 

Through her business, Darcie has helped to prevent thousands of single use containers being sent for recycling or to landfill and helped to reduce food waste by providing a service that allows people to buy only what they need. Keep up the good work Darcie!

Mary Ann Hooper

Net Zero Hero Mary Ann Hooper

Mary Ann, who lives in Wirksworth, is committed to reducing her carbon footprint – and helping other people to do the same.

She has retrofitted her house to improve its energy efficiency and is very active in the Transition Wirksworth Community Land Trust, which was set up to improve the energy efficiency of housing in the Wirksworth and Middleton communities.

Through the trust, Mary Ann has informed local people about retrofitting their homes, advising on heat pump suitability and identifying property heat losses using a thermal imaging camera that has been purchased by the trust for local use.

Mary Ann is also a vegetarian and not owning a car means she cycles everywhere too. Way to go Mary Ann!

Jane Cooper

Net Zero Hero Jane Careless

When Jane Cooper began looking around for a replacement car, convenience was her number one motivation.

But since switching to a second-hand fully electric Nissan Leaf, it's sparked a whole new mindset for her and her family who now look for greener and easier ways of doing things as part of their everyday lives. 

“Time is precious – especially in a morning when I’m always rushing,”

explained Jane.

“I'll do anything to save a few minutes here and there. So I admit, it was the convenience that sold the electric car to me – things like switching the car heater on using a phone app so I don't have to spend time scraping ice off of the car, charging overnight instead of having to go to a petrol station and plugging in at the supermarket. Or on day trips out, bagging myself a parking spot, they all really appealed to me.

“But I am aware of the impact of climate change too. With local flooding in recent years, the problem suddenly doesn't seem far away and with 2 children at home I thought I needed to lead by example.”

Now Jane, who lives near Alfreton, says she wouldn't go back to driving non-electric and the good feeling she got from knowing she was helping the environment spurred her on to do more, reducing the family's environmental footprint by a third. She switched to a sustainable electricity tariff with cheaper rates offered to her as an electric vehicle owner, the family recycle more and use less plastic, they order sustainable toiletries such as loo roll and washing powder online and they eat meat-free at least once a week.

Jane said:

“Getting an electric car was great because it wasn’t a hassle. It's made my life easier, I’m saving around £80 a month on fuel and it didn't noticeably increase my electricity bill, plus it's better for the planet.

“But it's also made me realise that you can do things to help the environment and even the little things make a difference.”

Tom Gill

Net Zero Hero Tom Gill

Seventeen-year-old Tom used pedal power to make a big statement when he and his parents cycled 340 miles from their Darley Dale home to Glasgow for the COP26 climate change conference last year.

Tom, who regularly cycles to school and his part-time job, attended first day of conference as an observer with his family who used the trip to raise awareness of climate change issues on social media.

He said:

“The conference made me aware of how urgent the actions we need to take are. There were many great speakers explaining all the changes that need to take place for a sustainable future to be a reality.

“I also had lots of inspiring conversations with people on the way to Scotland who were keen to hear about our cause.”

As well as his epic bike ride, Tom tries to eat responsibly including less meat and buys second-hand clothes from an online fashion marketplace app as he says this has a lower impact on the environment and climate change – and is cheaper.

He also supports a British clothing company which saves clothes from going to landfill and recycles them into new ones, using renewable energy.

Tom is studying science at A level and hopes it will lead to a career being part of the climate change solution.

Jamie Hawker

Net zero hero Jamie Hawker

Fourteen-year-old Jamie is dedicated to helping other people to reduce their carbon footprints. From the age of 8, he has written to his local paper about recycling and ethical shopping. And more recently, he has co-written a book on climate change in which he wrote more than 130 tips on how to reduce carbon emissions.

Jamie tries to follow the tips himself. For example, he usually walks or cycles instead of travelling by car. And he wrote to the headteacher at his school to encourage travel for school trips by train instead of flying. He also encouraged the use of reusable face masks instead of disposable ones. Great job Jamie!