Hello and welcome to the December issue of the Voice for Arran.

It’s set to be a busy month both locally and further afield, and we have a range of interesting pieces that give a snapshot of some of what is going on! Before we even get to Christmas there is lots happening, in Arran and more globally. There is the UN Climate Change Conference COP25 taking place from 2nd to 13th in Madrid. Controversially the conference has relocated from its original place of Chile amid the protests that are happening there due to the growing inequalities in the country. For readers on the mainland who might be interested, there is a solidarity event , ‘Putting people and planet first, from Chile to Glasgow’ in Glasgow right at the start of the month.

Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change has said in a COP25 press release: “This year, we have seen accelerating climate change impacts, including increased droughts, storms and heat waves, with dire consequences for poverty eradication, human health, migration and inequality. The world’s small window of opportunity to address climate change is closing rapidly. We must urgently deploy all the tools of multilateral cooperation to make COP25 the launchpad for more climate ambition to put the world on a transformational path towards low carbon and resilience”.

Let’s hope governments attending the conference will take her words seriously, (see our articles The Climate Emergency and A Global Ocean Treaty for further discussions on these issues), as we also hope we can take (most of) the party leaders in the UK seriously, in their pre-election pledges on tackling the climate crisis. It seems that finally political parties here have understood the gravity of the situation and are planning to do some far reaching things about it. Jeremy Corbyn has even promised that under a Labour government two billion trees would be planted by 2040 and that a total of £3.7 billion will be invested in habitat restoration and creating 10 new national parks.

Back on Arran, the National Trust and Arran Ranger Service are already well on the way to doing a huge part in recovering natural habitats with the Glen Rosa Woodland project. In their article, the rangers tell us about the arrival of 32,000 native broadleaf saplings, including oaks, hazel, and willow, ready for planting. The plan is to plant 40,000 trees this winter, and they have made a fantastic start over the last month, with working volunteer groups and pupils from Brodick school and schools from the mainland, planting well over 3,000 already. There is a volunteer tree planting day planned for 5th December, and more will be planned for 2020. To give us a further idea on the precious and extensive ecosytems that even a single tree can support, we have included a fascinating study on the oak by Gordon Eaglesham.

Conferences, elections and trees aside, we also have several previews of exciting things happening in Arran including a performance of The Storm Bride by storyteller Martin Ross on the 4th. A fundraiser for Eco Savvy’s shop in Whiting Bay, it is billed as an environmental fairytale for the modern age, and sets to be a lovely festive night with music from the Daiko Drummers as well. There is too this year’s panto Peter Pan taking place in Lamlash from 5th – 7th, and also an interesting screening and talk, of Dream Big, on 8th, which tells the story of Mel Nicholls recovery from a series of paralysing stokes to becoming a GB paraolympian and record-breaking Handcycler. We have added the Arran Community and Voluntary Service newsletter to the Voice website, so if you miss the tree planting day on 5th check out the many other volunteering opportunities that you can get involved in, from Arran lunch clubs to helping at the Geopark interpretation centre, to spending some time at Coast in the Octopus Centre.

And finally after all that, there’s Christmas! From all at the Voice we would like to wish our readers a very happy and peaceful time, and we look forward to seeing you in time for New Year.