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Hello everyone, we hope you are well and have had a great month. Here on Arran, October is literally blowing herself in and we have news of many island events to look forward to in the coming weeks. There is a Ceilidh in Whiting Bay in the middle of the month, a chance to help craft an Ogham alphabet with Arran Geopark, a celebration of All Hallows' Eve at the end of the month, and Corrie Film Club is at last able to meet again! Also at the very start of October is the final chance to vote for COAST to become the RSPB’s Nature Champions of the Decade!
As we take in the global picture, this month heralds the final run up to the much anticipated COP26 UN Climate talks which start in November in Glasgow. This is set to be an epicentre of protest and hopefully, finally some significant coordinated governmental action as well. But first, last month saw a couple of local protests, including one objecting to the state of our ferry service and in WTF from the OAPs, Barb Taub gives her amusing interpretation of events. Then at the end of September a gathering at the Peace Tree in Whiting Bay was organised. The group met as part of Climate Fringe Week to highlight the urgent need for action on climate change and also to oppose the government’s recent proposals to increase its military capacity and spend billions on nuclear weapons. (At the same time as this peaceful action was happening, next to us in the Firth of Clyde a huge multinational military exercise was starting).
Last month also saw the 50th birthday of Greenpeace, and as this issue of the Voice has formed the twin concerns of militarism and ecological crisis (and their opposites ‘green’ and ‘peace’) have developed. As a long-time supporter of the organisation, Sally Campbell reports on the work they have been doing to both protect our natural world and also boycott the militarism that is part of the systems that support the destruction of it. Over the past five decades, “Greenpeace has grown from a handful of people setting sail to stop a nuclear test to the present day, an unstoppable worldwide movement of millions. The name came from the first time the words “green peace” were said together in Vancouver in 1970 (after the decision was made to confront US nuclear weapons testing).” Since then, the organisation has had some amazing successes, managing through creative campaigns to galvanise public opinion and forcing some substantial changes in policy.
It is possibly more than can be said for the Agreements that have been established over the last 30 years or so at the COP meetings. Nicolas Eliades provides us with an overview of these international climate talks in A Short History of COP. He gives a clear sense of the missed opportunities and lack of commitment from many participating nations that have beset the Conferences and resulted in the subsequent lack of progress. The climate scientists attending these meetings over the years have been “struck by the near total disconnect between what science demanded and what was delivered in the form of meaningful action.” Rex Wyler (a co-founder of Greenpeace) explores these themes further in Why is the political process so slow to respond to our ecological crisis?
While we joined together at the Peace Tree, there was a palpable sense of energy and hope in being part of the positive changes that need to happen, but also incomprehension that these problems could still be plaguing our world. In the next months, many of us will be looking to governments to reflect our aspirations and wish for radical change in their leadership. Will the world leaders get it together this time (or in time) in Glasgow? I am eager to see. Meanwhile we hope you enjoy the issue and wish you a lovely month, Elsa
Stories from a Scottish Island
Stories from a Scottish Island has a collection of podcasts in which residents of Arran tell their stories.
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Mary Davies Trust
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Corrie Film Club 2020
Check out the schedule for Corrie Film Club's 2020 season.