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More Talking, Less Eating!
Isn't it funny when you're all sitting around the table and most plates are empty and one person's plate is still full. "Must have been talking too much" is the usual comment.... 

But seriously, most of us buy too much, eat too much, waste too much and don't talk enough - about climate change. With our thoughts turning to Christmas, this year we can make a real difference by planning ahead and not buying plastic stuff or glittery xmas cards, and thinking about how better to use leftover food. And, with more of us getting together now, we have a greater opportunity to raise the question of climate change in our discussions. It's hard to do, but with many not really coping with thinking about the issues that are coming along, raising the topic is one of the best things we can do right now. You never know where the conversation will go, but you can lead it into a positive place: personally, recent conversations have developed ideas for new orchards and tree nurseries.

We have events coming up this month too, to help with home energy use, local food production and plastic recycling, and do please have a look at the three Scottish Government Food consultations. 

Grab a coffee, there's been alot happening this month.

ps: If you've received this newsletter from a friend, please do sign up here to make sure you get our newsletters and updates on our projects, and don't forget to Forward to a friend, Thanks.
Events

Planet Sutherland Working Group Meeting.
5:30pm, Tues 16th Nov

 

Farm Plastic Recycling


Yip, we're back here on the track of Farm Plastic and Recycling. Come and join us at 5:30pm on Tues 15th November to hear about the exciting steps forward that have been made, thanks to Kevin from Lairg.
Email anna@planetsutherland.com for the meeting link.
 

Future Communities Highlands and Islands, Scottish Government Local Food Consultation
6pm, Weds 17th Nov


If you are a group or individual or business looking to respond to the Scottish Government Local Food Consultation and would like to join our Future Communities Highlands and Islands network meeting to discuss it, then please email anna@planetsutherland.com for a link.
Read more about this and other food consultations below.
 

Home Energy Improvements
7:30pm, Tues 30th Nov.


We all know that we need to do something to reduce the energy consumption in our homes. However, we also know that this is truly difficult given our housing stock, the difficulties with retro-fitting and the significant costs involved. Join us on Tues 30th Nov at 7:30pm to hear from Jamie Noble at Home Energy Scotland.


We will discover:
  • How HES assess householders’ circumstances, detailing the impartial telephone and home visit advice
  • How we all can reduce our energy use and move to low carbon generation with renewables
  • How Home Energy Scotland can help you have a warmer home, lower energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint
  • What Scottish Government-funded financial support is currently available.
There will be plenty of time for questions and answers and general discussion. Perhaps local groups could be formed to work together, potentially saving more money.

Find out more and book on Eventbrite here - https://ps-hes-301121.eventbrite.co.uk

There's also a great book on retrofitting existing buildings which was organised by the Pebble Trust - here's the link - https://www.thepebbletrust.org/sustainablerenovation.asp. More info coming soon.
Scottish Government Food Consultations

These are all closing in the next couple of weeks.


Local Food Consultation

Everyone, from private individuals to businesses and organisations are invited to help shape a local food strategy for Scotland. This consultation is the first stage in a strategy to make high quality food accessible to all and promote the benefits of local food.
Link - https://www.gov.scot/publications/local-food-everyone-discussion/
 

Ending the need for Food Banks

In this day and age and in Scotland and The Highlands, the fact that many are living in food (and fuel) poverty it truly ridiculous. Take part in this consultation here - https://www.gov.scot/news/national-plan-to-end-need-for-food-banks/
 

Agricultural Transition Consultation

And shouting out to all farmers and crofters - Have your say on the first steps towards our national policy
Link - https://www.gov.scot/publications/agricultural-transition-scotland-first-steps-towards-national-policy-consultation-paper/

Conference News

Highland Council Climate Change Conference - 21/22 Oct


This years Highland Council Climate Conference was truly excellent.  The first part of each day consisted of several talks grouped around particular themes: Energy, Land and Sea, Net Zero and Resilient Communities. Then, we had sessions in the afternoons where we discussed each area in more detail and put forward our questions and suggestions. The talks were all recorded and are available here:  https://www.highland.gov.uk/info/1210/environment/982/2021_highland_climate_change_conference
Included is a wee talk from yours truly where I suggested a wee challenge for us all:

AOCB - We see this on agendas but what does that mean to you? Why not make it Any Other CLIMATE Business and get the climate crisis on every single agenda. You may hear sighs around the table, but truly it doesn't have to mean more work for an already over-stretched committee. It simply means that every issue could be viewed through a climate change lens and thus ensure that the right decisions are made. Do please get in touch if we can help get the ball rolling.

COP26


Our newsletter of course wouldn't be complete without mentioning COP26. Significant promises have been made which we're truly hoping that the governments and institutions will uphold.

You can view recordings of the main event talks and discussions here - https://unfccc-cop26.streamworld.de/program

However, the energy on the streets and side events has been completely amazing. And, this can only help to accelerate and encourage more action by individuals and groups from the ground up. The Green room is for youth groups, civil society, academia, artists, and business from all across the world.

You can go back and catch up on all the green room talks and events here https://www.youtube.com/c/cop26 
What we've been doing

Food Systems

We continue to focus on our crazy food systems. 
Did you know, for instance, that the UK currently imports 70 per cent of the apples used for human consumption from countries such as Spain and South Africa. Crazy when we can grow apples here perfectly well. So, if you're interested in Orchards, you can join our Facebook group here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/hiorchards and if you're interested in working with the team to get orchard projects going, you can join our HI Orchard Network (just email anna@planetsutherland.com). A couple of events are being planned on pruning and general orcharding. Details will be in our next newsletter.

Christmas time is a crazy time for food too. We buy too much, eat too much, waste too much. Did you know that: collectively, people living in Scotland could save more than £90 million by not wasting food this festive season. WOW!  Zero Waste Scotland has some excellent tips to help us all from Christmas pudding ice-cream to freezing stilton. Read more here. And then there are some excellent meal plans on Love Food Hate Waste to help us plan for xmas - read more here.

60 million to zero? Can we do it? 60 million meals go to waste in December! That's shocking but even more so when we consider the levels of poverty in our regions. 

More top tips:
  • get together with friends or neighbours to plan your festive food - swap leftovers to add variety
  • plant lettuce !! well you know i'm a lettuce fanatic, but it's still not too late to get fresh mini leaves growing in time for xmas. Look for Hardy Winter Lettuce Mix. The seeds will grow in pots inside, but if you've got a polytunnel or greenhouse then even better. Let's truly extend the season.
  • Have a read at this blog from our very own Highland Home Cook for loads of ideas on reducing food waste.
  • And eat seasonally, we really don't need strawberries on xmas day (they never taste that good anyway!) - Go here to read up on what's in season and sign up to the Soil Association Pledges
Two New Iniatives

Highlands Adapts

The Highland Council Highlands Adapts team is having its initial meetings with community and business groups, helping us all work together.

The North Highlands and Islands Climate Hub

This is now fully staffed and building its plans - https://www.nhclimatehub.co.uk/ . This is the renewed Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund scheme. It’s based with Thurso Development Trust and is one of only two pilot schemes in the country. You can also find out more on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/nhclimatehub

Why do we need more groups?

Well these two groups will form the core for all the environmental and climate groups. The Highland Good Food Partnership is an integral part and Planet Sutherland and the Future Communities Highlands and Islands group are represented in both of the above. Moving forward and working more closely together will help to share out news of what's going on, help to remove any duplication and share knowledge and ideas.

What Can I Do Now?
  • Truly the best thing we can do is to talk about it! 
  • Get outside and enjoy the last of the autumn colours. It's all too easy to stay inside and keep warm, but we all feel better from a walk in the fresh air or some gardening.
  • Why not switch off your outside house lights when you're not outside at night.
What Can I Do Now - Part 2 - Christmas
Let's try to make this Christmas, the most sustainable yet. Come share your ideas on our Facebook group.

Have a look at the special xmas courses and event at our Lairg Learning Centre and The Kyle of Sutherland Hub. The LDCL have courses on making xmas cards, gift bags, decorations, and a xmas special for Love Food Hate Waste. Read more here. And, the Hub have a xmas craft workshop on the 17th Nov. Read more on their FB page here.
Thanks for getting to the end!
Join us here to #buildbackbetter. We're a welcoming, collaborative group and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas for local projects.
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