Much of the wild land in Scotland is under threat from large scale developments to meet our future energy needs. In contrast to this approach to the future, we have a vision of a more sustainable future where communities in remote areas meet their energy needs without ‘costing the earth’.
I work for the John Muir Trust within the Climate Change and Sustainable Communities project. The Trust protects some of the most beautiful, remote and wild land in Scotland, both directly and in partnership with local communities.
Many of the rural communities we have a relationship with have already started investing in a more sustainable future. You can see what these communities are doing by checking out my blog.
One example we are keen to see replicated comes from the Isle of Eigg – with whom we have been sharing experiences. This remote island community leads the way in Scotland as a model of what is possible. Two women, Lucy Conway and Maggie Fyffe, along with Project Officer Tasha Lancaster have spearheaded the exciting work here. They have developed a two pronged approach which aims to make the community self-sufficient in energy terms within three years.
The first strand of their plan focuses on the ‘software’ through an education and outreach program called Islands Going Green which recognises the permanent changes needed to bring about a more sustainable future will only come about when there is major buy-in from the whole community.
Islands Going Green encourage people to take action in small communities of around 100 people as that is a human scale. This could be a street, a social club, a workplace where you commit to having your own ‘green island’. They have had lots of fun social events on their journey and have gained huge community support.
The second strand is focused on the ‘hardware’ elements – looking to energy efficiency and conservation measures along with a cocktail of micro renewables to decrease their use of fossil fuels. They wisely are not relying on one source alone for renewable energy but have invested in a mix of wind, solar, biomass and hydro schemes. Already they seem further advanced in their thinking than the government.
Article by Fran Loots
Energy without costing the Earth – http://jmtcommunities.blogspot.com