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Planet Sutherland Climate News & Info August 2020

Well, back to school time. I do hope everything's going well with the new school term and that all our parents and teachers are managing to cope with the new schooling patterns. We'd love to get going on some school projects now too, so if you have any ideas for e.g. recycling, school walking trains, cycling to school etc, then please do get in touch. Your school could be the first! 

Some other great news this month too:  

First, we are now a formal charity, and are therefore able to gain access to additional funds, support and discounts etc for our many projects. We're also able to move ahead with building our committee. If you'd like to join our board or just help out with climate focussed projects either in your area or with your specific expertise, then please do get in touch. It would be great to be able to accelerate our projects.

We've also received funds to build a Poly Tunnel at Gledfield School in Ardgay. (More info below.)
August Events

Carbon Cafes

Restarting Carbon Cafes continues to be a difficult challenge when only 5 families can get together in any given day. We are looking at various topics for on line talks that will help and we're developing a wee crib sheet to help us all run mini cafes. It's really simple to start a carbon cafe - all you need is 4 friends, and then simply start your Climate Conversation. Share your stories with us and we'll be happy to answer any questions or help to move your project ideas forward. We're all so stressed out about so many things in the world just now. Talking about our worries can really help us to feel better.

Top Picks Events in August.

Fruit for the Future - 24-28th August - A free on line event with various expert speakers talking about their research findings on many soft fruits from black currants to honey berries. If you're thinking of moving into growing more soft fruit, this is sure to be invaluable. also have several events covering The Soil & Nutrient Network work in Orkney & Thainstone and there's a workshop for Women in Agriculture on preparation for going to market. 

Some may wish to attend Stop Climate Chaos Public Consultations on The Right to Food - exploring what the human right to food means and participating in a public consultation on its inclusion in Scots Law.

Coming Up in September.

The Highland Environmental Forum are running an event over two days on the 10th and 24th Sep on the topic of Climate Change in the Highlands: How can we respond. The first event covers opportunities for large scale change and the second is on the benefits and responsibilities of working together with nature. Details for both events can be found here -
Project News

Gledfield Polytunnel, Ardgay

We're over the moon that Anne Duchess of Westminster's Charity has allocated funds to enable us to go ahead and build a new poly tunnel in Gledfield Primary School, Ardgay. The Garden Group team have been working with the pupils for several years in the main garden grounds and this will be a fantastic new opportunity to help the pupils learn how to grow and eat more fruit and veg. If you'd like to help out with building the tunnel or help with the gardening tasks, please do get in touch. The more folks we have helping the better.

Scottish Government Climate Challenge Fund Review

The Climate Challenge Fund has helped many communities and projects move forward with their climate change projects. However, it has been realised that a refresh would be beneficial. We held and attended several meetings on the topic. The concept being proposed is that Climate Hubs are created with a view to making it easier for community projects to move forward more quickly. At present, we understand that pilot hubs will be created at the beginning of September. Whilst there will no doubt be teething difficulties, it is in essence a great idea and will help to bring all the projects together.

Climate Emergency Training and help for Communities & Business.

Keep Scotland Beautiful are also running various training events and offering help for communities to benefit from expert help to develop climate action plans. The next training courses start on 31st Aug and our committee can heartily recommend the courses, having attended these last month. Find out more about Community Leaders Climate Emergency Training here (sadly this session is fully booked, but there will be more coming along). Courses are also available for businesses. We know that many are struggling just now, but there are many financial and marketing benefits regarding taking on board these additional challenges.  If you'd like to attend a Planet Sutherland Climate Crisis for Business event that introduces the topic, please do get in touch.

Golspie & Brora Projects 

Following on from our field trip to Brora & Golspie, we're pleased to report that the Golspie community is looking at renovating the Millennial Garden at Seaforth House. Various options are being considered and, of course, the community is being consulted regarding the best options. Whilst discussions took place regarding the Faskally site in Brora, this is a much larger project which we'll perhaps get involved with at a later stage.

Farm & Croft Plastic Recycling 

Through the SAGES initiative, we've had a couple of students working with us over the last few weeks to try to make some inroads with this tricky problem. We sent out a survey to gain some understanding of the scale of the problem, and are just now completing the report. The next stage will be to set up a small group to pilot some solutions. Thanks to all who filled in the survey and also to those who noted interest in becoming involved in the next stages. We'll be in touch soon with the report. Should anyone wish an early copy of the report or to help further, please get in touch.

Plastic Free July

Thanks to all who took part in Plastic Free July. We held some interesting conversations and many more of us have now ditched more single use plastics. Each week throughout the month, we focussed on a different area: Kitchen, Bathroom, the Garden and Kids Stuff. Various changes have included stopping clingfilm use; home made dish washer liquid; and even significant reduction in crisp munching! Probably the biggest discovery was that the Terracycle project takes all forms of garden plastic, including compost bags and gnomes! It's something we'll be looking at in the weeks to come. 

Shop Local with the Open Food Network.

If you produce food locally and want to look at new outlets, please get in touch to join our wee team looking at very local food supplies and networks. This is only one possible solution that may help us all to buy and sell both surplus produce and all our fab, healthy local food.
News From Our Friends
The Rusty Coo, Lairg - The shop is moving to better premises, just up the road and will be stocking more product refills.

Lairg & District  Learning Centre - Look out for their My Rainbow Garden Autumn / Winter Growing projects coming soon

Transition Black Isle -  Read all about a new Holistic Health & Sustainability Centre, Our Local Larder, Seed Saving and many other topics and events in their August Newsletter, packed full of projects and ideas.

If you'd like a mention here with your eco projects, please just let us know
What Can I Do Now?
Go off line on Sundays
Switch to a Green Energy Company
Join us and develop your climate projects
Swap Crisps for Savoury Biscuits
Shop Local
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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