My Notes from my Speech to Open “A World of Clean Energy” Exhibition at the Wycombe Environment Centre, 19th July 2016.


34 years ago I was hoping I was about to become a world champion. My sport was lightweight rowing, and I was about to compete in the 1982 world finals, in Lucerne.



Those days I weighed in at spot on 11 stone.

Happily my GB rowing tie still fits me!



Last month I was delighted to be asked by Frances (Alexander) to open this energetic exhibition. I love the title “A World of Clean Energy” – we can all make a world of difference – and this subject is the most important in the world – community energy champions.

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Everyone is doing their own ‘renewable energy strategies’ right now – whether at global, national, regional, district, town and street level, or starting at home.


IMG_0092I really wanted to ‘bring’ an Olympian along with me today. Our modern Olympic heroes and sheroes are increasingly eco-friendly, and speaking out. Several I know personally, locally, are passionate about climate justice. But they couldn’t make it today – or it would’ve been them speaking right now – not me!


However, it dawned on me that we have our very own ‘Olympian’ lady here today in the shape of Frances herself. A veritable high performance human dynamo!  Brim full of sustainable renewable positive energy.   Dynamism. Thank you Frances, for all you do.

I think there’s a deep connection – between the Olympics and renewable energy. Do any of you know the three Olympic values?

IMG_3178They are friendship, respect, and excellence. (Doesn’t Frances embody these, see!)

In addition there are four Paralympic values to complete the set of seven Olympic values: these are determination, inspiration, courage and equality.   What better seven values could we ask for to underpin all our environmental efforts?  Olympic values are for life – the games legacy – not just for the Olympic Games.


A big thank you to everyone in the team here at Wycombe Ecobuzz. What a terrific exhibition you have created Roland!   This place is a force for good – and will spark innovation, cooperation, and positive disruption. Energy – Of the people, By the people, and For the people of Wycombe.

Frances is a force of nature and a true leader who goes the way, knows the way, and shows the way. A renewable source of energy in her own right whose passion and enthusiasm to clean up the world’s mess is contagious.

A quick word on the climate science. 34 years ago it was starting to become clear that man’s carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuel were causing an alarming and growing legacy problem for Earth climate systems. At that time scientists knew it was highly likely. Now we know there is no doubt; the urgency is acute. We have lost 34 years to a dubious strategy of doubt, dither and delay. But the good news is that the climate crisis gives us one more powerful reason to rethink everything. And re-powering our planet with clean renewable energy is one almighty purpose that we can all unite bravely around. Olympic style.

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May I make special mention of Eric, Frances’s dear departed husband of 52 years.   Eric was another hero of mine and a stalwart who stood fast in the face of the barrage of cynical attempts at ridicule in the local paper whenever he pointed out that the science was done and that the climate crisis was a real and present danger.

In recent years, Eric started watching the weather, literally and metaphorically he would watch the weather reports on Al Jazeera TV and he would join the dots because almost every evening brought news of climate catastrophe somewhere in the world whether it be flood, hurricane or drought. Or indeed heatwave as today.   Eric was a force of nature to.   And why did he bother? Because he cared about the grand children. As we all do. Thank you Eric.

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And thank you all who love this place – yes love’s the word. And this exhibition – whether you have been part of its past, or you are part of it today, or you will be part of its future – is a work of love – I want to bless this ship, and all who sail in her! #ShowTheLove

Talking of the wind. I had to go the doctor the other day because I’m obsessed with wind turbines. They told me not to worry as it was clear I was just a big fan!

A joke told by Bob Monkhouse RIP on hearing he had prostate cancer, told by Bob himself when he was ill. A useful reminder of the true urgency of the situation we are in – we don’t have much time left to act now. 10, 9, 8, 7…

IMG_3345I’m sure you have all heard of Jonathan Porritt, one of my former clients, one of our greatest environmentalists, and advisor to HRH Prince Charles. I’m pleased to call him a friend. Eight years ago on a sunny day just like this, Jonathan and I were climbing up on his roof. He didn’t have solar panels then, but he does now. He just needed a friendly helping hand to advise him and support him as he took one small step to reduce his footprint.

Has it changed the world? Has it made a huge difference? Did he need to do it? The answer to all these questions is no, and yes. Individual action cannot change the world but the world cannot be changed without individual action. Although our deeds might sometimes seem like drips in the ocean, oceans are made of drips. And as it says on the poster here, small actions x many people = big difference. Everything we do to reduce our footprint is a random act of kindness, planting an ok or a RAOK, paid forward invisibly to future generations.


My final thank you is to you the audience for listening patiently, and for being here to celebrate this exhibition launch today. Please go forth and be actively involved. Bring friends to the centre – because seeing is believing. Let’s all follow Frances’s strong lead. Because this stuff really matters.

We can jumpstart High Wycombe and surrounding areas to become a beacon of excellence in clean energy.  We can bring about an Olympic-grade cleanup.   And build community energy hubs true to the seven Olympic values. Let me repeat: Friendship, Respect, Excellence, Determination, Inspiration, Courage, Equality.


So, we are all Olympians of Clean Energy now!


I think that’s how we do it: Building a Zero Carbon Britain together for our kids and grandkids.   And it will be worth the effort.

I declare this exhibition (games) open.

Let’s do this.

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