Open accesscreativecommonsEdiorial reviewed/Short paper
Published online: June 2023

Egalitarianism and sustainability at the Centre for Alternative Technology

Stephen Jacobs

Vol 56 No. 1, pp. 29-34

How to cite this article:

Jacobs, S.(2023).Egalitarianism and sustainability at the Centre for Alternative Technology. Journal of Co-operative Studies, 56(1), 29-34.


The Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) is situated in an old slate quarry just outside Machynlleth in mid-Wales, UK. It was founded in 1973 as an experiment in sustainable living. However, CAT was never just an experimental community, but is primarily an educational centre endeavouring to inspire people to respond to environmental issues. In 1974 CAT opened its doors to the public and began to offer short courses in topics such as renewable energy and organic gardening. In the first decades of CAT’s existence, collective decision-making and egalitarianism were considered core principles. In this short article I will address why consensus decision making was regarded as integral to CAT’s vision of an environmentally sustainable way of life and the challenges it faced in implementing an egalitarian organisation. This article is part of a larger project about the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT), funded by the Leverhulme Trust. This research has now been published by Routledge: Sustainable Living at the Centre for Alternative Technology: Radical Ideas and Practical Solutions (Jacobs, 2023).



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UK Society for Co-operative Studies is registered in England and Wales as a charitable incorporated organisation Number 1175295. Our registered office is Holyoake House, Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS.
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