Hello and welcome to the April edition of the Voice for Arran.
Twenty four hours ago it was Earth Hour and along with the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, we turned our lights off at 8.30pm. For just 60 minutes, it could be Earth Hour every night. I wonder how much energy it would save the planet. This coming month, on 22nd, is Earth Day. A part of me thought – another designated day for another campaign, and for an issue that we need to be working on every day, not once a year. Looking beyond any initial scepticism, Earth Day has an interesting history. It came into existence in 1970 and is widely credited with being the start of the modern environmental movement. Millions of Americans were driven to action by the pesticides, polluting factories and the extinction of wildlife they were witnessing around them. The government was quick to respond and the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Environmental Protection Agency were set up.
The similarity to the situation today is striking, where millions of people are galvanizing (and not just around the climate issue), and the 15th April has been declared an international day of rebellion by the growing climate justice movement XR. Climate activists are preparing for acts of non-violent civil disobedience in cities worldwide. National governments however are not responding as quickly as they apparently did in the US in 1970. The Scottish Greens are trying to tackle the issue with urgency, and tabled a motion last week calling for the Scottish government to declare a climate emergency. The motion was rejected by all but 6 MSPs at Holyrood.
Several of the pieces in this month’s Voice look at current environmental and political issues. One Arran resident has sent us a report on the Brexit march in London last month and also a campaign piece against the proposals for another salmon farm off the north east coast of Arran. When faced with yet more environmentally damaging plans as this I wonder what have we learned from the previous generations campaigning that began with Earth Day, nearly 50 years ago? In this issue we also have a number of reviews and previews for you, from endurance running events, to vibrant Breton music, and an exciting visit from the Company of Wolves Theatre Company to look forward to as well.
So whether you’re out on the 2nd in Lochranza meeting the Scottish Salmon Company, or further afield on 15th taking part in a climate action, or at home having conversations about what we can do about all this, we hope you have a good month! And maybe consider keeping the lights turned off too!