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Newsletter 24

Climate action news from Skye and beyond
Wood anemones and bluebells
Welcome to our June newsletter
with news and actions on the climate emergency in Skye and beyond

 
Skye Climate Action is a collaborative network, aiming to share information and encourage all those who are taking action to reduce our carbon footprint and prepare for the changes happening to our climate.

Whether you are taking a personal stand or are joining with others, whether on issues of food, transport, plastics, building, energy or anything else, do get in touch by email  or Facebook to share what you are doing and inspire others.
 
This month we highlight lots of exciting events and discussions you can participate in, updates on what we've been up to, news of the Climate Fèis, the launch of a carbon literacy course for Skye and Lochalsh, the Co-op's response to the climate emergency, news from Highland region and lots more. Do keep an eye on our website, as news and events are continually being added.

UPCOMING SCA EVENTS
 
SCA Reduce, Re-use, Recycle! (SCARRR!)
Tuesday 1st June, 7.30-9pm
Meeting to discuss setting up a repair workshop on Skye. If you have skills or views you would like to share do join the discussion. Every idea and suggestion welcome.
Contact anne@skyeclimateaction.org for more information and for the Zoom link.  

WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) and ILM
Tuesday 8th June 7.30 – 9pm
Claire Weaver, Business Development Manager for ILM in Alness, will explain ILM's work towards a circular economy based on sustainable employment and WEEE. Can we apply some of their ideas to Skye?
Contact  anne@skyeclimateaction.org for Zoom link.

Plastics: Film and Discussion
2nd - 15th June and Wednesday 16th June
Watch the documentary film The Story of Plastic on Vimeo in your own time, and join us on 16th June for a Zoom discussion of the film and local follow-up actions.
Vimeo and Zoom links from anne@skyeclimateaction.org

Cycling and other green transport on Skye
Thursday 24th June, 7.30-9pm
Cycling and walking reduce emissions and are good for physical and mental health, but active transport presents challenges in rural areas. We'll hear about some of the pros and cons, with an update on cycleways, and other aspects of low-emission transport. Come along and share your views. You can email questions beforehand to be addressed at the meeting, or just come along on the day. Zoom link from anne@skyeclimateaction.org

South Skye Electrical Amnesty
Wednesday 30th June, 11 am -1 pm at Ashaig Camp Site

Drop off your unwanted domestic electrical items - anything with a plug or a battery. Items will be collected by ILM Highland to be either fully recycled or selected for reuse following thorough testing, cleaning and refurbishment. 

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WHAT WE'VE BEEN UP TO
 
Skye Climate Action supporters and our planning team have been busy encouraging conversations, making connections and developing ideas.  

Energy. We held a meeting on 4th May with emerging local hydro schemes in Sleat and Raasay to continue development of our discussions with SSEN. The long term aim is to achieve local energy security by 2030. Our planning group will meet with SSEN on 2nd June to organise the next SCA Conversation as a public meeting with the electricity company (probably online) at end of July. SCA supporter, Henrik Micski, has been asked to take the lead.

Growing Good Food. Our Inspirational Pop-up discussion on 24th May was led by SCA supporter, Phil Knott, and featured speakers from the crofting community, commercial growing and permaculture: Hanno from West Coast Organics (near Dunvegan), Donald Murdie from Robson and Murdie Skye Local Produce (Galtrigill), and Ludwig Appeltans from Rubha Phoil (Armadale). This was a follow-up to the brainstorming meeting held online in April with local food representatives from crofting to the food bank, to develop a way forward linking growers with consumers to promote a just and healthy sustainable local food chain. John Coghill of the Hebridean Hotel is taking a lead in exploring setting up a Local Food Enterprise Company.

Our pop-up Sustainability meetings bring together people to discuss topics relevant to the climate crisis and how we can live and work more sustainably on the island and enjoy an increasingly resilient, healthy, caring and thriving community. Please get in touch if there is something you would like to have discussed. You could suggest potential contributors or just tell us what you want to hear about and leave it to us to find people willing to share their knowledge and experience to stimulate discussion – and action.

Golden Skye competitionThe SCA GOLDEN VILLAGE award was presented to the winning community, Isleornsay & Camuscross, on 25th May at An Crùbh community hub. Dunvegan gained the second prize and Portree the third prize. Altogether 10 communities participated in the challenge of growing 100 daffodils to display prominently in recycled containers in their community, as a way of creating awareness of Skye Climate Action and encouraging thought about soil and recycling. Read more about the challenge here.




Golden Skye winners in front of the winning display at An Crùbh.
From left: William Edgar (Portree), Marian and Innes Grant (Isleornsay and Camuscross), Beanie (Dunvegan) and Flora MacLean (Armadale and Tarskavaig, runners up). 

 

Facebook Chat
Thanks to our Facebook admins Tricia Petri-Clark and Cathy Prentice, our Facebook group has increased from 150 members to 230 members in the last six weeks. At least 60 people joined in response to the first South Skye electricals recycling collection, showing that this issue struck a chord. The boost in membership has stimulated some great discussions on the pros and cons of having waste collected and taken off the island. Recent topics include fisheries marine waste, 'forever' clothes pegs, Co-op soft plastic recycling, beach cleans, petitions to sign and films to watch. If you have questions, views and ideas have a look at the page and join in the conversation. All welcome. 

Highland Climate Network. We met on 10th May with other climate action groups in our region to develop an online network (working title: Future Communities Highlands and Islands) to share information and resources, reduce duplication and improve our effectiveness. The group may move onto joint events and discussion forums. The members so far are Transition Black Isle, Assynt Development Trust, Knoydart Climate Conversations, Thurso Development Trust, Planet Sutherland and Skye Climate Action. 

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Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh Climate Fèis
by Trish Rogers
 
Preparations for SCA’s Climate Festival throughout the whole of August are hotting up. HOW TO MAKE THE CLIMATE FÈIS ... YOURS. Go to the website: www.climatefeis.org 
If you’re not sure exactly what you would like to do, check out the ‘Activities and Artivism’ and ‘Don’t Forget’ pages. Firm up your idea. Fill in the Participate form, sending information of the person to contact for details, location, description of the activity/idea you are planning, and permission (to fulfil data protection regulations). When the calendar of events is starting to be built up on the website in June, final details will be requested.

We are still looking for help with admin and technical issues such as maintaining and building up the website, publicity and helping in the office at Skye Bridge Studios 123, Kyle. Please fill in the online form if you can offer any assistance (an occasional hour or so, or a little time each week) or contact info@climatefeis.org.


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SCARRR! - Skye Climate Action Reduce Re-use Recycle!
by Anne MacLennan
 
Repair Workshop
Stimulated by the South Skye electricals re-use and recycling scheme, the idea is growing of setting up a Repair Workshop, initially in the Broadford area. This could apply to clothing, tools, toys, furniture, machinery, buildings, shoes …. Let’s share skills and creativity to teach, learn, and work together. Wouldn’t it be great if this could be intergenerational? 

If you'd like to be part of the discussion, join our Zoom meeting on 1st June -  there's no obligation to commit to future involvement. Do you have innovative ideas, do you have cautions? Would you like to learn how to mend things, or teach maintenance and repair? Any ideas about facilities and equipment – or would you just like to listen in to the conversation to begin with? 
 
Building a circular economy
Many thanks to SCA supporters Tricia Petri-Clark and Tom Stephens who worked with the company ILM, based in Alness, to organise the uplift of unwanted electrical items from South Skye.

Claire Weaver, Business Development Manager for ILM, will join us on 8th June to talk about the history and development of ILM, a charity and social enterprise, which aims to support sustainable employment while working towards a circular economy. ILM provides recycling and refurbishment for collected items, and they also have a retail shop for new and used appliances, provide Care & Repair and Handyperson services for local elderly and disabled residents, and they are about to set up a Spares and Repairs service. There are other potential projects in the pipeline. Can we apply some of these ideas to Skye?
 
During this meeting, we will also watch the short animated documentary, ‘The Story of Electronics’.

Plastic
During the first two weeks of June, SCA supporters will have access on Vimeo to the documentary film The Story of Plastic which was released in April 2020 by the Story of Stuff. We’ll then get together on 16th June to discuss the film and how we could tackle some of the issues locally. We'll have background materials to guide this discussion. 
 
Stay tuned for our pop-up Zoom during Plastic Free July. Details will be announced later, but in the meantime you can take up the challenge to reduce single use plastic at home and work, using some of the resources and suggestions at Plastic Free July – Be Part of the Solution. Tell us how you get on.

For more information on any of SCARRR!'s work and events contact Anne.

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Watch the Story of Stuff's animated short film on how the fossil fuel industry is driving the massive increase in plastic production.
 
Climate Champions - a carbon literacy course for Skye & Lochalsh
by Roz Birch and the Selkie Collective

The Selkie Collective Projects team in collaboration with Skye Climate Action is proud to soon be launching “Climate Champions”an accredited Carbon Literacy course during SCA's August Climate Fèis.
 
The course will be fully accredited by the Carbon Literacy Trust and participants will receive a certificate in Carbon Literacy alongside becoming a member of the Climate Champions community of Skye and Lochalsh. 
 
The course is open to all, and especially for anyone who wants to learn more about climate change science and who desires to be a champion for climate action in their community, school or workplace. 
 
The Climate Champions Carbon Literacy Course will include:
 
1.     Introduction to climate change science
2.     Introduction to local climate action and solutions focused approaches with the aim of featuring short video contributions from local groups, projects and businesses as inspiration.
3.     Introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals and the relationship of climate change to social justice, global interconnectedness and biodiversity.
4.     Exploring climate action on a personal level in our lives and communities 
5.     Exploring practical and achievable climate action for schools, workplaces or communities 
6.     Establishing a network of Climate Champions through peer-support to put climate change mitigation into action
 
The course will be delivered as a blended programme of online/e-learning and in-person workshops. After the training, participants will be supported to put their Climate Champion ideas into action during November in parallel with COP26 in Glasgow. We have also been invited to feature Climate Champions on the Carbon Literacy Trust blog and to showcase the Champions climate action projects during the Trust's Climate Action Day on November 1st.

The Crowdfunder will be launched on Monday 14th June for course bookings and for funding donations towards course costs, accreditation and certification, and for support to sustain the Climate Champions community across Skye and Lochalsh. We’ll be sharing the launch widely across Social Media, local press and our networks and the support of the Skye Climate Action community will be greatly appreciated. We look forward to sharing the journey of the Climate Champions with you. 

For more information contact projects@theselkiecollective.com

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What are your priorities for Skye and Raasay's future?

The Skye and Raasay Investment Plan will set out the priorities for the future of Skye and Raasay and how we can work together to make it happen. The plan, led by the Council in conjunction with HIE, aims to follow a collaborative and place-based approach. They are asking for your help to identify the main priorities for the people of Skye and Raasay, thinking about your day to day life now and how you would like it to be in the future.

Please take 10 minutes to complete the survey of four questions. It's an opportunity for you to reinforce the message about what needs to change for a sustainable, climate-friendly future.  

You can access the survey at https://www.highland.gov.uk/skyeraasay  Click on "Comment on the investment plan". The same page contains a link to the report of the first public meeting in January, which contains a lot of interesting views and suggestions.

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Children and Youth Climate Action

by Roz Birch

June has two fantastic World Days to celebrate our wonderful planet and learn more about climate change and the biodiversity of our land and oceans. World Environment Day is on June 5th and World Oceans Day is on June 8th and there are lots of great resources and activities to enjoy!
 
Children’s Climate Action
Open Air Laboratories Project (OPAL) have designed some great ‘Bug Count’ activities and  Water Surveys. All resources are downloadable.

The Click Effect is a short documentary capturing the communications of dolphins and sperm whales with two free divers. Inspired by the ‘clicks’, Going Coastal suggest a lovely activity for children to experiment with sound and play with communicating like dolphins and whales.
 
Young People’s Climate Action
Surfers Against Sewage are calling all young people aged 11-18 to join their Youth Ocean and Climate Summit being held on June 8th this year.
“The Summit is an action packed, one-day virtual event, that will cover a range of exciting and engaging activities hosted by some of the nation’s leading, influential youth activists. The aim of the Summit is to produce a clear and impactful Youth Ocean & Climate Manifesto, outlining key, innovative solutions that will combat the ocean and climate crisis.”

If you are a teacher or parent who would like to offer some activities, the World Ocean Day website has a range of links and resources for all ages.

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Nature friendly crofting on Skye

In this short video Phil Knott, SCA supporter and Scotland vice-chair of Nature Friendly Farming, explains how trees are playing a key role in the nature friendly management of his croft, by creating habitat for wildlife and pollinators as well as giving shelter for the growing of fruit and vegetables.

Watch more videos on nature friendly farming across Scotland.

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The Co-op and the climate emergency
by Roz Birch 

The Co-op is the predominant food supplier on Skye. Its members have repeatedly voted for the supermarket to recognise the climate emergency and ramp up its response. The Co-op's Ten Point Climate Plan sets out how it intends to do this, including reducing its own carbon footprint, making low carbon choices easier for customers and aligning pension funds to low carbon investments. However, the Co-op appears to still be including carbon offsetting in its plan.

The Co-op is scrapping its Bag for Life and will charge 10p for compostable carrier bags. In a link up with Ecosia, the green search engine, Co-op colleagues' internet searches will contribute to tree planting projects around the world. Co-op Power buys 100% renewable energy from guaranteed REGO sources, including five wind farms which it has developed
 
Co-op donate through their stores' Food Share partnerships to Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust’s community fridge and Broadford and Strath Community Company community fridge. In Portree the Food Share partners are Skye and Lochalsh Mental Health Association. These partnerships ensure as much fresh produce as possible is distributed to the community and not wasted. In other areas in the Highlands groups also run community meals and community composts as Co-op food share partnerships to create a circular food economy. Co-op has launched its partnership with Hubbub and will be funding 100 Community Fridges across the UK to reduce food waste and support community food networks.
 
Skye Co-op's member pioneers, Roz and Holly, are getting active on climate issues. Roz, based in Portree, has been working with primary schools to get them signed up as Fairtrade Schools across Skye. Struan Primary combined their Ocean School and Fairtrade School status for Fairtrade Fortnight to explore many features of sustainable businesses, just incomes and how Fairtrade benefits other children globally. Holly has been promoting SCARRR! and the Skye Community Litter Project across South Skye and Lochalsh as part of her community connecting, and a Co-op grab bags project has been proposed and will hopefully be set up with Skye and Lochalsh Food Bank in 2021.

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Highland News

Highland Good Food Partnership

The Highland Good Food Conference has evolved into the Highland Good Food Partnership, which aims to create local resilient food communities across the Highlands, including Skye and Raasay. The Partnership now has four working groups: Local food economy, Community food resilience, Education and training, Health and wellbeing. Skye Climate Action is maintaining links with the Partnership, and with the Community food resilience group and the Circular Economy project group. The latter is focussing on community composting at the moment. This turns out to be a complex issue!
 
Do have a browse through the website, read some of the materials, and watch podcasts. It’s not too late to join in with this exciting movement, or to make suggestions. Contact the partnership at hello@highlandgoodfood.scot
 
The Highland Good Food Partnership now has a network on Slack for commercial growers and producers, and people with surplus produce to sell. The aim is to share ideas and help people who want to develop commercial production. You can join the Slack group here


Highland Council Pension fund investments

Highland Council's Pension Fund has £45 million invested in fossil fuels and also invests in an arms manufacturer whose weapons are deployed in the middle east. Highland Charter for Responsible Investment is calling on the Highland Council Pension Fund and Committee (HPCF) to adopt a responsible investment policy and rethink their investment strategy. In response to Highland Charter's recommendations, HPCF members committed to holding a workshop to develop a Responsible Investing Policy Statement.

This is a very welcome development. However, the debate at the HPCF meeting showed that its members are unclear about modern fiduciary duty and how much ethical principles and the views of the wider community should influence the fund’s investment decisions. There was disagreement as to whether to engage with companies vs divest, and to what extent decisions should be delegated to fund managers. You can watch a recording of the meeting here.

Highland Charter for Responsible Investment will hold a meeting on Sunday 6th June at 7 pm to discuss how to build on the progress achieved so far. Fossil fuel divestment campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland will join the discussion. If you would like to add your voice to the campaign, please email r.i.charter@btinternet.com for the zoom link.
 
 
Highland Council News

Izzy Flower, our liaison person with Keith Masson and his colleagues in Highland Council’s Climate Change & Energy Team, is now based in Dunbar. We welcome Eilidh Towers, who has taken over the liaison role. Our thanks go to Izzy and Eilidh for maintaining this vital link to the Council's Climate Change activities. Please let Eilidh know of issues relating to Highland Council and climate, that you’d like her to raise

The Council's Climate Change & Energy Team has moved to Performance and Governance, giving them a more direct line to Highland Council's chief executive and potentially more resources.

The Highland Adapts scheme has launched, with Emma Whitton as project manager. The scheme is a partnership between Highland Council, Changeworks, Highlands & Islands Enterprise, NHS Highland, NatureScot and Zero Waste Scotland. Its aim is to help the Highlands adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. The scheme will identify adaptation and mitigation priorities for communities, areas and sectors, using a fair and inclusive approach, and will make sure that disadvantaged and underrepresented groups are involved and benefit equally. A Skye community may be used in planning work.

A dedicated hydrogen/low carbon Project Manager should be in place from 7th June, looking at the Council's own fleet decarbonisation, as well as EV car shares and charging points across the region.

Communications officer Katy Andrews will be working with Skye Climate Action on our Climate Fèis, as well as the Just Transition within the Highland context, and ensuring equality across the region in the Council's climate actions.

The EDF energy company aims to install Smart Meters in Highland schools that don't currently have them. This ties into the Council's Energy Sparks project encouraging kids, teachers and parents to be more aware of energy use.

The meetings of the Council's Climate Change working group are available to watch on Youtube.  

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Energy saving: generous grants available for businesses and households


Did you know that you can get substantial funding to install energy saving measures in your home or business?

Domestic households and businesses are eligible for generous Scottish Government grants/cash backs for Electric Vehicle chargers and other energy saving/carbon neutral investments. For example, homes and businesses can get a 50% grant for installing EV chargers. Small to medium-sized businesses can obtain up to £7,500 for air/ground/water source heat pump, biomass boiler or solar thermal renewable technologies.

Follow these links to find out more.

Domestic electric vehicle chargers
Business electric vehicle chargers

Funding available for household energy saving
Funding available for business energy saving

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Let's get back to re-usables - World Refill Day 16th June

Did you know that 20 companies produce 55% of the world's plastic waste?

The COVID19 pandemic was an opportunity for the plastics industry to try to convince us that single-use disposable plastic is the safest option, creating confusion and leading to many businesses banning reusables.

World Refill Day on 16th June calls on businesses, brands and governments to help make single-use plastic a thing of the past. Visit the website to see how you can choose to refuse, find places to refill and tell businesses to act.

125 health experts from eighteen countries have released a public statement to reassure  businesses and consumers that reusable containers do not increase the chance of virus transmission and are safe to use, providing basic hygiene is in place.  It's pretty simple. Follow “basic hygiene” steps, spray household disinfectant on hard surfaces. For dishes and cutlery, use a dishwasher. And of course, wash your hands and keep them off your face.

Find out more on the City to Sea website, including guidance and support for businesses to help them return to refill.

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Net zero by 2050 means no new oil, gas or coal from now on
by Anne MacLennan

The International Energy Authority, the world's foremost energy authority, has produced an energy roadmap showing that government actions to rapidly boost clean energy and reduce fossil fuel use can create millions of jobs, lift economic growth and get to net zero by 2050, consistent with a 1.5˚C limit of global heating.

The energy sector accounts for three quarters of greenhouse gas emissions so, to achieve this goal, exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year and no new coal-fired power stations can be built.

“There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.”

The International Energy Authority calls for rapid scaling up of solar and wind energy this decade to reach four times the record levels set in 2020. We already have the required technologies to reach the 2030 target. Thereafter, some new capabilities are assumed.

"Achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 will require nothing short of the complete transformation of the global energy system."

The scale and speed of the change requires sustained support and participation from each of us, citizens as well as governments because so many aspects of life will be affected, from transport, heating and cooking, to urban planning and jobs. While reducing emissions in advanced economies, the report also factors in energy access to those that currently lack it, by 2030.

On 21st May, energy and environment ministers of the UK, US, EU, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Japan and South Korea agreed to end direct government support for coal production overseas. That leaves China as the biggest source of such finance in developing countries.

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Graphic of the month
The International Energy Agency's milestones for reaching net zero by 2050 (www.carbonbrief.org)
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