Hello dear readers, we hope this issue of Voice for Arran finds you well as we head into the last month of 2022. There are scientific reasons for why time, or our perception of it, speeds up as we get older, but still I can’t quite believe we are already back in December! Nevertheless I find it a lovely time of year for its sense of anticipation – of (hopefully!) joyful gatherings, of the sparkle of lights, of the promise of longer days returning at the darkest point of the year.

In this issue we have news of events that have been happening over the past month as well as of the Christmassy things to come. Amongst a sprinkling of carol concerts and festive markets, over the next weeks we can look forward to the return of the Arran Christmas pantomime, some winter crafting workshops with Eco Savvy, and a really interesting talk organised by the Arran Natural History Society on ‘The amazing power of bees to change lives’.

We also have reports on wider events that have been taking place across the globe, where it seems a great deal of change has not been happening. In News from COP27, we hear about the lack of action characterising the COP process once again. The strong commitment needed from governments to decarbonise and reduce emissions has been left for yet another year. This outcome is especially disturbing given that before the start of the climate conference, the UN published a report stating there is ‘no credible pathway in place’ to keep the rise in global temperatures below the 1.5 degrees mark.

It would be easy to get lost in a sea of despondency at this news. Yet one theme to emerge from several of the pieces is the concerted community activity that continues, regardless of the lack of direction or coordination on a global level. In Arran, as elsewhere, such instances are clear – from those who met on 12th November for Arran’s day of climate action, to the ongoing work of organisations such as COAST, Eco Savvy, and the Arran Ferry Action Group. The minutes (published in this issue) from AFAG’s recent AGM indicate both how much this group are doing for the island, and the numerous challenges they are working against. They also reveal the kind of focus and determination needed to bring about change in an opaque political and economic environment.

And there are always wee gaps. Perhaps the picture we have posted above, taken last month by an Arran resident, captures this state of affairs perfectly. Photographed at Brodick pier just a week ago, the image of a tiny Antirrhinum or Snapdragon growing amidst the landscape of tarmac and stone is astonishing. Not only for the lateness in blooming (more evidence of unseasonal warmth?), but for its bright and tenacious beauty, and its remarkable ability to flourish in such apparently adverse surroundings.

I love these examples from our natural world, of bees changing lives and flowers growing through cracks in an unyielding concrete environment. And while much of the time it seems humanity is doing its best to destroy these things, we can learn a lot from the qualities of resourcefulness and fortitude they reflect. Qualities which many people are trying to uphold, and which, in order to protect such life, we will certainly need much of in the coming year… From all of us at the Voice, we wish you happy and inspiring times this Christmas! Elsa

With thanks to Eleanor Winship for permission to use her image.