There are moments at Lochranza when the freshness of the air, the beauty of the place and the absence of traffic noise can make you feel that you are in a new world at the dawn of time.Turn on the TV though and any news relating to human impacts on our planet tends to be bleak. However, one positive statistic I came across was that on one windy day last summer Scottish wind turbines generated more electricity than was used. Another change-for-the-better I’ve noticed is a result of the ban on free plastic carrier bags; trees in winter festooned in out-of-reach tattered plastic is a sad sight but one I’ve seen less of lately. Unfortunately, there seems no end in sight to the daily washing up of plastic tidelines on beaches everywhere- not just unsightly but deadly to marine life.
With these issues in mind we joined the Green Tourism business scheme in 2016 which “means that a business works responsibly, ethically and sustainably, contributes to their community, is reducing their impact on the environment and aims to be accessible and inclusive to all visitors and staff. Green Tourism is the market leading sustainable certification programme for the international tourism sector”. When we arrived on Arran seven years ago one of the first island principles that we grasped was that you should not throw anything away because you never know when it would come in useful. In fact, last Autumn, Nigel was able to build an entire shed out of reclaimed materials that we had on site, so it all cost nothing. Meanwhile, a friend of ours at Lochranza Field Centre has been raiding the bins regularly for discarded two- litre plastic drinks bottles which he fills with sand and uses as ballast in his sailing boat.
North Ayrshire Council was the second highest recycling performer in 2016 in Scotland, and is working towards the target of Zero Waste but, on Arran, to reuse or reduce rather than to recycle is important because all waste is shipped daily off the island, which contributes significantly to the island’s carbon footprint. Good news on the waste front is that Arran Eco-Savvy and the Arran Community Land Initiative (both based at Whiting Bay) have been successful in applications to the Climate Challenge Fund and granted amounts up to £115,000. Eco-Savvy plans to create an island-wide network of reuse and up-cycling sites, ‘Arran Eco-Savvy Reuse Micro-hubs’, whilst the Arran Community Land’s ‘Arran Fabulous Community Food’ project aims to increase the amount of food grown locally. Both initiatives will support carbon reduction on the island.
We can all do our bit. If you have undamaged camping gear you can leave it with us and we can make it available to visitors who have lost or forgotten camping items. You can also donate items to the Arcas shop at the Pier at Brodick which raises a lot of money for cancer charities each year. If you have unused food which others might appreciate, you can leave it in Basecamp, clearly labelled that it’s available for use.
If you’re interested in knowing more about Arran and green issues, have a look at these links:-
https://www.facebook.com/TheBayKitchenStores/ (organic produce, local produce, eco-friendly products)
Oh! And last one out turn the lights off please!