Sustainable Times

Sustainable Times

Welcome to the new section we are calling Sustainable Times. These days there are so many buzz words and phrases such as sustainable development, climate emergency, food security, circular economy, biodiversity and net zero to name a few and so it becomes difficult to keep up and know what they mean.

The aim of these pages is to highlight the important issues, explore what they mean and offer advice on what we can all do to take action in a balanced, non-preachy way. Those actions often have multiple benefits such as reducing your ‘carbon footprint’ which is good for the planet but can also save you money and reduce bills, something that we can all relate to at the moment with the cost of living on the increase.

The fact remains that they are all important issues and will affect us all. As a Development Trust we are deeply involved in planning for the island’s future and aligning ourselves with the guidance and advice from a variety of organisations from the Scottish Government to the United Nations.

We also invite you to take part and contribute. It can be sharing simple tips to your transformation into an eco-warrior. For my own part I have recently been accepted as an Island Ambassador for Island Innovation. I have also received my Carbon Literacy certificate and am personally focusing on reducing my energy usage that has led to some big changes and benefits.

You may still wonder what this is all actually about? This where the other two words come in to play – People and Planet. Hopefully, if you continue reading over the coming issues you will see that it is such a vast, wide area it is impossible to easily sum it up but let’s start with the name. We use the word Sustainable here in the context of Sustainable Development and the short answer explained by the United Nations

Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs

Sustainable development calls for concerted efforts towards building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future for people and planet

To address this the United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Click the image below for more info.

As a Development Trust these are also our goals and run through everything that we do. We have more influence in some than others but you can hopefully begin to understand and appreciate our ambitions and purpose.

Community Garden Project – Part of the plan

If there is one project that ticks a lot of the Sustainable Development boxes it would be the Community Garden. The Community Garden really has grown (no pun intended) and developed over the past few years into a space for the whole community to enjoy and benefit from.This has only been possible thanks to the help of Development Trust volunteers under the leadership and guidance of our amazing community gardener Alan Cole.For those that don’t know the community garden is located opposite Heilsa Fjold and is open to everyone to visit.

The Community Garden is a multipurpose space that is not just about growing plants but somewhere to relax and explore the many different sections, from the sensory areas to the Standing Stones. It is not a show garden of the Chelsea Flower Show variety and is never meant to be. It is a celebration of nature, recycling and zero waste. Click on the link below for more info

Working towards our future

Climate change, global warming and all manner of related topics are common news headlines these days. Often, and unfortunately they are associated with protests that tend to focus us on the disruption caused rather than the message.

Worse still are the conspiracy theories that confuse and dilute the reality even further making it just easier to ignore the whole subject altogether.

The truth is that even if it was all untrue (it isn’t) the changes we can make will still have a dramatic and positive impact on the future. The world is a big place but as humans it does not seem that we are doing a very good job of looking after it.

So many of the things we can do to benefit the environment will also directly benefit you regardless if you do it for the environment or not. We are seeing the price for energy continuing to rise and that along with other events in the world are causing the cost of everyday essentials from food to fuel increase. Lots of the changes we can make can be good for the planet and for your pocket.

Regardless of anything else we do know for sure that these issues will effect us all as the Scottish Government has pledged to reach Net Zero by 2045, that is 5 years ahead of the UK Government. There will plenty of incentives and pressure for us all to make changes. Click the image for more info

As a Trust we are already being advised that the majority of all future funding applications will need to incorporate Net Zero goals. That is not a bad thing, but it is significant.

Of course, Net Zero in itself is not a fix. It is like switching off the tap after the flood has happened, we’ve stopped the flow of water, but it does not undo any of the damage.

So, what can we do?

As an individual a good start is to understand your contribution to the causes of global warming. There are many online sites that will help visualise your impact but a good one is provided by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and can be found at

My favourite one however is PawPrint. You do need to create an account, but it provides much more useful information and scores four main sections separately (home, diet, travel and other)

The overall statistics for Scotland (2019) show that transport is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Click the image below for more info.

Next Time – When did we first know about greenhouse gases and rising global temperatures from 1800 to 2021.

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