Over 50 people of all ages gathered at the Peace Tree in Whiting Bay last Sunday 26th September. In the run up to the forthcoming COP 26 in Glasgow there has been a renewed focus on the environment and the issue of the Weapons of Mass Destruction based in the Clyde.
At the same time some Arran CND members went to the gates of the Faslane submarine base for a protest whose particular emphasis was on the specific implications for the marine environment of radioactive pollution and the more general carbon footprint impact of military resources.
Those who gathered in Whiting Bay marked the event with a 2 minute silence to show their regret for the thousands of lives lost due to past military actions and also for the recent decision of the UK to increase by 44% its stockpile of nuclear warheads. This is despite the urgent need for international cooperation and investment in measures to mitigate and adapt to climate breakdown. At the time the gathering took place, local newspaper The Banner reported that the largest military exercise in Europe was starting with much of it due to be taking place in the Clyde and around the West of Scotland. The exercise, Joint Warrior 212, will see the arrival of 25 warships, three submarines, over 30 aircraft and around 6,750 military personal from 11 NATO nations over the next month.
The opening paragraph of a widely praised essay by Arran High School pupil Louis Gray entitled “There is No Planet B” was read out:
“We are living on this planet as if we have a new one to move to. Mother-nature can only take so much of a beating until the biosphere of this gentle planet collapses. Right now we are at an important point in history – we choose if future generations get to live on a prosperous biodiverse earth or one that has been reduced to ruins. Throughout previous decades we have found out more about the complex workings of our climate and maybe a few decades ago you could be forgiven for not doing anything about climate change, but now we have the facts, we have the knowledge and there’s no excuse for not playing your part in saving the planet.”
A lively discussion ensued about the possibility of an Arran Greenpeace Branch and starting a Reading Group based on the recently published Penguin Green Ideas Slipcase of 20 short classics of the ecology movement.
With many thanks to John Page for sharing these words, and much gratitude to Louis Gray for permission to reprint his essay in this issue – see post There is no Planet B.