Hoverflies, shield bugs and froghoppers filled Alton’s Butts Green on July 23rd as children and even some adults took up Sabú’s offer of free face-painting as part of ACAN’s Eco-Streets party.

A long queue quickly formed for the free face painting

The party launched ACAN (Alton Climate Action Network)’s Eco-Streets project, a grass-roots community project in the Butts area of Alton’s Whitedown ward, which aims to find out where its residents stand on the climate crisis, what the problems are for them and what action they want to take. 

The project is led by environmentalist Scott Gudrich and ACAN hopes it will become a blueprint for future similar projects elsewhere in the town. 

There was plenty for people to think about, but in an enjoyable way.  One challenge was to distribute 9 beans in 9 bottles according to which climate change aspects most interested them. 

Another was to decide how many of 10 so-called recyclable plastic containers could really be recycled in the Council’s wheelie bins (2.5 here – all 10 in Germany!).

Eco-Streets Project Manager Scott Gudrich speaking with Mayor Cllr Ginny Boxall, with the plan of the neighbourhood on display.

A large-scale plan of the neighbourhood was on display for visitors to add stickers about where they thought their environment can be improved – be it fewer cars in the streets, areas to be rewilded or other ideas. 

ACAN’s youth group, Young ACAN, organised a children’s nature trail and there were games improvised from articles already in the home, such as knocking down a pyramid of tin cans or throwing water-filled plastic bottles in a bin.  And so many hoverflies and shield bugs wanted to try out ACAN’s litter picking equipment that the Butts has never been so litter-free!

ACAN itself and its groups were there in strength, to make people aware of all the services and support that ACAN offers – Cycle Alton, Energy Alton, the Repair Café, Plastic Free Alton were all delighted that people had heard about them.

One visitor said: ‘This is really good; you should do it more often.’  ACAN representative Eleanor Hill commented on how much she had enjoyed meeting people from the local area and introducing them to all the different things that ACAN does, while colleague Jenny Griffiths was delighted that so many young families were involved.

The emphasis was, of course, on the young, as they are the generation who will have to cope with the most serious consequences of the man-made climate emergency if we don’t act now.  Young ACAN Ambassador Isobel Goldie gave a speech in which she lamented the lack of action from the government, but encouraged everyone to do something as ‘there is a lot we can do on a community level and an individual basis. ‘

“We have a large and beautiful planet’ Isobel continued, ‘and if everyone does their bit and looks after their local areas, it will make a difference.’  After mentioning some of Young ACAN’s achievements, including their second ‘Back on the Rack Thrift Shop to be held on 23rd September, she finished by exhorting everyone to ‘Please look at what you buy.  Cut down on meat, avoid plastic and try thrifting and buying from charity shops.  Get stuff locally or organically and don’t buy what you don’t really need.  Re-use whatever you can.  It’s about changing habits and it does make a difference.  Even if you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the next generation and our future.’

The afternoon was filled with music – first Martian Max and finally Scott and Sabú reappeared as their band The Lürxx and rocked for the planet.  The perfect end to an action-packed day!

Some useful links:

ACAN’s Eco-Streets project:



Young ACAN: Instagram @youngacan. 

The Lü 

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