Sustainability musings from the Costa del Solway
Just back from a wonderfully relaxing week in a cottage in Kippford on the Solway coast of Scotland with the family. And boy did I need it – 2021 has been manic with 2 months of home schooling followed by a 2 month election campaign, all on top of a workload the like of which I’ve never experienced before. The latter is not only good news for me, but for Sustainability, as suddenly everybody seems to want to do it properly – my fellow Sustainability consultants are reporting a similar surge in demand.
Anyway it was a great week – the weather was gorgeous, the view from our verandah like a different oil painting every night, the costal walks lovely and there were miles of gravel forest tracks between us and the nearest shop, so my morning cycle for a paper and groceries was a lot more adventurous than usual. I did try out a ‘moderate’ mountain bike trail that crisscrossed the forest and found it tested my nerve more than I expected – although I did complete it in half the time suggested on the route guide. Life in the old dog…
One odd thing was the ‘house rules’ told us to mix all waste together as the Council would separate it for recycling. We are so set in my ways on recycling and composting that it just felt wrong to scrape coffee grounds into a bin on top of cardboard packaging. We ended up setting aside paper and card (the most likely materials to be contaminated) and brought it home with us – possibly negating the environmental benefit of recycling it, but this was about feelings, not calculations. This is the ultimate goal of behaviour change – when ‘the old way’ feels dirty.
One lovely thing about the village was the community nature reserve which had been under development since 2018. This really was quite a substantial initiative with a couple of miles of paths, several reasonably-sized ponds and what must have been several thousand saplings. It was clear from the community notice boards that this project is a real source of communal pride. I’ve found in the past that nature is a wonderful way of engaging people in wider Sustainability issues – it is a nice entry point to understanding our place in the natural world.
Lastly, I hate the media use of the word ‘staycation’ for holidays like this as it suggests there is something unusual about not flying somewhere. A staycation is where you stay in your house for a holiday – unusual but quite fun if you treat it as a proper holiday. A UK holiday is the default for me now – we only go abroad every third year or so and that is no great sacrifice.