Hello, and welcome to the October edition of the Voice for Arran.
“The government needs the guts to make these changes”, was the prevailing message that came out of the Big Climate Conversation event in Brodick last month, and remains the standout point for me last month. It speaks to and for the many people who have come together across several issues affecting the island just now. With parts of the Arran community contesting the Scottish Salmon Company’s fish farm proposals, Arran is a hive of environmental and political activity. Reflecting the growing determination of people across the globe this last month, which has seen another series of strikes and summits, here in Arran demonstrations for the climate and against the fish farm have become part of our social and natural landscape too. The image of the protest at north Sannox in the middle of September, showing islanders linked together to represent the size of just one of the proposed salmon pens, is not just visually stunning but represents the energy and feeling with which people are invested in this matter and demands councillors and ministers to take note.
The last few weeks has seen a lot of hostility over the proposed fish farm, with the Letters page of The Banner filled with back and forth arguments, and a two page advert sent in to the paper by the Scottish Salmon Company to put their case for a fish farm over as fact. Surely it is now time for the Scottish government to put a line under this, look to the long term, and wonder if their aim to double the production of salmon farming by 2030 is really feasible. How can an industry, that is unsustainable at its core, sit in line with the government’s recent commitment (passed into law last week) to cut carbon emissions by 75% by 2030? So to quote the above Climate Conversation participant, can the government find the guts now to make the changes the world, and our island, needs? People are crying out for positive action and some concrete plans that shift us from talking about a ‘climate emergency’ to actually dealing with one.
As well as these pressing issues, in this edition of the Voice we also take a look at some of the other things that have been happening on the island and also share some of the exciting things to come. There has been a productive Arran Ferry Action Group meeting with Cal Mac, a magical concert at Alice’s Wonderland, and a Harvest Open Day at the Arran Community Land Initiative.
Things to look forward to in October are the now (nearly world!) renowned Corrie Food Festival on 19th and a very special visit to the island by Scottish author James Robertson on 23rd organised by The Saltire Society. And of course at the very end of month is that witchy time of year, a treat for those of us who love carving a candlelit pumpkin for a chilly Halloween night! We hope you enjoy this issue of the Voice and have a great month.