Plastic, and in particular single use plastic is a hot topic. Who could not be moved by what we saw on Blue Planet? Anita Rani and Hugh Fernlea Whittingstall have declared ‘War on Plastic’.
Plastic is great at storing food safely, but awful in its environmental impact because it uses oil to make it, and does not rot away.
Public events can use a large amount in a very short space of time and so their impact can be higher. We can all think and act on how we use plastic, even - or especially - festival managers.
HebCelt is ahead of the game here. The twitterfeed of @HebCelt had fun with our English cousins in Glastonbury: “Loving the love for @GlastoFest for single use plastic ban #hebcelt did it last year. Reusable drinks cups five years ago, banned plastic straws, all adult wristbands made of rpet and are partnering with @TIGinfo1 for climate change info. #onestepatatime #greening #justsaying”
Travel to HebCelt has been raised as a climate change issue. Loganair recently commented on the Scottish Government plan to not implement the cut to Air Passenger Duty.
They took on the issue of flights producing more emissions than ferry journeys to the islands: “The emissions for a car with two passengers from Glasgow to Ullapool and then ferry from Ullapool to Stornoway are higher than for a typical passenger flight from Glasgow to Stornoway”.
However for visitors to HebCelt, many young folk take public transport to Ullapool and then the ferry.
Talking about the steps they are taking to become greener Calmac, explained: “CalMac’s carbon footprint is 5% lower than it was in 2016, this equates to 208 cars never reaching the road.
“The significant reduction in carbon produced is mainly down to the use of fuel monitoring systems, increasing operational efficiency and by working with industry academics to deliver energy efficient vessels.”
It is a great first step in the battle to secure greener transport links, but the reality is we live on islands and this requires essential travel.
It is not realistic, nor desirable, to cut numbers of visitors. However agencies of government must look at transport emissions and develop new options for our communities.
Point and Sandwick Trust are working on a hydrogen powered ferry – generated by wind energy produced locally.
Electric aircraft are possible – why not have them for the Inverness to Stornoway route. Even better, the Benbecula to Stornoway route, and reintroduce the Barra to Benbecula and Stornoway route!
Humans are pack animals. We love, we partner, we raise families, we pray, we build societies together. We celebrate together. Some argue festivals create a huge amount of emissions. This is true. But surely if we manage them well – in the model of HebCelt – then we can celebrate our culture, diversity and love of the arts in a way which mitigates impact?
This year I shall be going to HebCelt to talk with people, share ideas and yes, do dad dancing to KT Tunstall.