Hello and welcome to the June edition of the Voice for Arran. We hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather and making the most of our new possibility for meeting up and actually going out to do things! The island is getting busier and there are lots of things to get involved with over the coming weeks. This issue is full of news of events and activities, from the Arran Geopark guided walks and free Qigong classes on Lamlash Green, to Well-Being Cafes and a national Big Seaweed Search – a citizen science project which needs our help to monitor the effects of climate change on the marine environment. We also report on a new initiative, the Arran Repair Café (ARC), which is being developed to look at how we can do more to reduce, reuse and recycle whilst being creative and inclusive too. ARC are looking for people to help take the project forward and are keen to hear from you if you’re interested in helping to set it up, share skills, or donate tools and equipment.

Projects like this are one of the practical means of addressing our society’s current dependence on consumerism, a theme that a few of the pieces in this issue pick up on. Sally Campbell, in her article, ‘The Good, The Bad and yes, the Ugly too’ writes, “Consumption – of fast fashion, flights, discounted gadgets, new cars – has become the driver of the ecological crisis… Shopping has been cast as a positive act, retail therapy a civic duty.” But in ‘How to get rid of throwaway culture’, Sarah Lazarovic suggests instead of shopping we use what we have, and keep what we have in use for as long as we can by repairing our things. We need to think in terms of the least amount of stuff we can get by with, not the most, and to fight throwaway culture at the source, by advocating for policies which demand the right to repair, and extend producer responsibility.

The success of these practices however also depend on a wider systems change. While these personal lifestyle changes are necessary, it can become too easy for climate change to become an individual problem. We do need to consume less and think about our relationship to objects and things, but the reality is that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Fortunately, as Sally Campbell writes elsewhere in her article, last month there was a landmark ruling in the Hague district court that determined “Shell must cut its emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels” in line with global climate policy. With this historic verdict, “corporations can now be ordered to comply with the goals of the Paris agreement”, and so at long last the possibility of some real structural change is looking more likely.

In ‘We had forgotten we are ecological beings’ Patrick Lydon takes a look at the slower pace of life that has been brought about by the pandemic and the chance it has afforded us to spend more time in nature, whether a city park or rural farm. Perhaps the pre-Covid normal for many, of sitting in traffic or at a desk in an office, was not so normal after all. Farmers in Japan where he lives have a saying that “everyone has the ability to know nature, to listen to nature and to follow nature”, and Lydon wonders whether “this pandemic will have slowed us down just enough…to ask ourselves what, exactly, we are working in service to anyway. Is it to technology, industry, progress, and gross domestic product?” Or rather could it be “to pigeons and herons in the park, to blue skies, to our neighbors, and to living fully and truthfully this precious life?”

We hope you enjoy the issue and have a great month…Elsa