Hello, and welcome to this month’s edition of the Voice.

There are many things happening in Arran this month, from the Arran Community Land Initiative’s Open day on May 5th, and Origami Crane Making on May 7th in the Library, to the Arran Mountain Festival from 18 -21st May to name a few. So in this issue we have a mixture of local news, reviews and previews, and also pieces about the on-going concerns of plastic pollution and salmon farming.

With news from the Isle of Skye that two new salmon farms have just been approved, COAST is among many organisations that have now called for an immediate moratorium on salmon farming expansion, until the problems identified by the recent parliamentary committee (ECCLR) have been comprehensively addressed. Meanwhile the related problems of antibiotics in aquaculture and beyond are considered in an article by Dr Sally Campbell on Antimicrobial Resistance.

The issue of plastics is fortunately not going away from the political agenda and last week there was news of a Plastic Pact, involving 42 major retailers and businesses, who are committed to changing all the plastic packaging in their products to reusable, recyclable, and compostable materials by 2025. Why wait until 2025 we may ask? Seven more years of preparing to use less plastic is a long time, and a lot more plastic. But at least some of the major businesses such as Tesco’s, Proctor and Gamble and Coca Cola, seem to be absorbing the seriousness of the issue and are taking action towards ameliorating it.

This can only help the work of grassroots enterprises such as TAP – Think About Plastic, the new organisation set up in Arran to work on our island’s plastic consciousness. In this issue, Sue Weaver reports on the progress of the group and on some of the plans they have. They also highlight an important aspect about plastic use which big companies apparently miss, which is the way we think about plastic as a throw away commodity. Like another community group, Plastic Aware, on the Isle of Wight (another island seeking to be ‘plastic free’), TAP raises the issue that we need to start thinking about plastic differently, as a durable resource that is not just unthinkingly disposed of each time we open a bag of salad or have a drink of coke, or water.

To round off, there is nothing like a long walk back into prehistoric times to remind us both of the value of our earth, and its archaeology and social history, and to the tiny period that we modern humans have existed on it. Articles on Robert the Bruce’s exploits and on Prehistoric Arran can help us reflect on this humbling fact, as can taking advantage of the upcoming Mountain Festival with its amazing range of walks in Arran’s stunning landscape. So happy walking in May, in all its literal and metaphorical ways!