Community group Eco Savvy is an outstanding example of the kind of community action that the California summit has in mind: community-based and working energetically and creatively to do all it can to help Arran folk reduce their carbon footprint.
Starting in 2014 with a community shop run by volunteers in Whiting Bay, and awarded charitable status in 2015, Eco Savvy set out from the beginning to have a great environmental impact by focusing the shop and related events on waste reduction, saving huge amounts from going into landfill by encouraging re-homing, upcycling, repairing, re-using and even cooking up a free feast from good food no longer wanted. It is vital work for an island community where everything comes and goes by ferry, including the so-called rubbish.
These activities were expanded around the island in April 2017 by Eco Savvy’s first external grant, from the Climate Challenge Fund, which supported the establishment of eight microhubs. More than 100,00 tonnes of carbon dioxide were saved from the atmosphere, and over 6000kg of items saved from landfill. In 2018, the Climate Challenge Fund has rewarded Eco Savvy with a further grant of over £100,000 to support home energy audits to reduce domestic energy consumption – and save islanders money.
In the immediate future, Eco Savvy is buzzing with ideas around developing sustainable island transport, and home food production – watch this space. However, medium-term plans are on a grander scale – we know Arran must step up a gear if it is to keep pace with the need to mitigate climate changes already unavoidable, and to stay within the Paris Climate Agreement targets of keeping warming to within 1.5 degrees. Eco Savvy is looking at ideas for acquiring land, to deal with compostable waste, even an eco park.
The Eco Savvy team promoting energy audits back in June are Whiting Bay shop manager Sarah Kelly, project manager Jude King and Ruth McLaren.