Hello and welcome to the May edition of the Voice for Arran!
April has been a busy and possibly even a transformative month, with signs appearing that the messages from the recent environmental demonstrations are reaching at least some of the bodies in power. In Westminster the shadow cabinet has invited activists to a meeting, and at the SNP spring party conference last weekend, Nicola Sturgeon declared there to be a Climate Emergency. There is also news from the SNP of the establishment of a citizen’s assembly on the future of Scotland. If there will be one on the issue of independence, how about one for the climate crisis, and also as COAST suggests (see their call to a Marine Rebellion) a community led response to aquaculture in Scotland?
As several of the pieces in this issue highlight, there can be a lot of reassuring committed talk from politicians and a range of actions, from delaying, to apparently doing the complete opposite. Marine scientist Sally Campbell points out this disparity in her article on the PR structures in the fish farm industry, where prizes for the ‘best’ or ‘most Scottish’ fish are handed out to companies abundantly, meanwhile the fish in the farms are far from healthy, or ‘best’ (and can they ever really be ‘Scottish’?!). And in his article, ecologist Scott Leatham looks at the phenomenon of climate delaying, saying, “This ‘deliverability gap’ between rhetoric and action is one of the main hurdles we face.”
Leatham also talks about how the constant drive for producing and consuming doesn’t give nature the chance it needs to restore and rebalance itself. Much can be done by letting the natural world do its thing and re-wild. This was perhaps the most striking and touching thing for me in the reports from activists in London. Aside from the sound of the political protesting, people in the camp at Marble Arch reported hearing bird-song for the first time as the traffic stopped, and measurements of air pollution in these usually congested areas dropped within hours.
Among the work going on around these issues in Arran, there are also lots of other events happening on the island in May. There are talks and workshops at COAST, an evening of jazz in Lamlash, a night of Breton folk in Corrie, and in Whiting Bay a whole weekend celebrating the history of the village. Events over the 11th and 12th include a special exhibition in the village hall on the Arran Gallery at St. Colomba’s, arts and crafts, children’s activities, a ceilidh and much more.
We hope you enjoy this issue and have a great month!