Arisaig’s Eco Project: Arisaig Community Trust recently launched an ambitious project to reduce the coastal community’s CO2e emissions. Scientists predict that our actions now could result in a level of global warming that would have very harmful effects in the future and it is our use of fossil fuels that is adding to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere whereby heat from the sun is retained. The Trust are embarking on a number of activities aimed at tackling behaviour on a local level. All projects are geared towards finding local solutions to climate change and reducing the collective carbon footprint of the village.
1. Built environment: A community building for the 21st century
Starting with a major thermal upgrade of the community-owned Land, Sea & Islands Centre, this will include draught-proofing and insulating walls, floors and roofs and installing highly thermally efficient triple glazed windows and doors, an LED lighting system and a responsive and efficient heating system to replace inefficient storage radiators.
This thermal upgrade will improve the quality of the facilities and services on offer so that operational CO2e emissions are reduced and a comfortable internal environment is created. ACT will use the refurbishment process as a practical means of demonstrating to the community how they can reduce their own household CO₂e emissions, and will work with householders to achieve specific reduction targets.
2. Local food production and waste: ‘Produced locally, consumed locally’
The LSIC will offer an outlet for the sale of surplus garden produce to improve the availability of locally produced food in the village. We want to build on the growing interest in locally produced food by enthusing and educating our community about its positive benefits which we hope will lay the groundwork for a future community growing scheme. Workshops on growing and seasonality, cooking and nutrition, and smart shopping will offer practical help in reducing food waste, making our local food economy more sustainable. With this in mind, reducing local food waste going to landfill and diverting compostable waste to a community compost scheme will contribute to reducing the community’s CO2e emissions.
3. Local transport initiative: As Arisaig is a sparse and widely spread community with high car usage among locals and visitors, there is a need to put in place measures to reduce CO2e emissions from transport in and around the village. The project will actively promote walking and cycling in and around the village through graded cycle and walk guides available at the LSIC, and through the purchase of two electrically-assisted hire cycles, we aim to enable and encourage those less able to explore the area without resorting to the car. The installation of secure cycle racks at key local amenities will also make cycling a more attractive mode of transport for both locals and visitors.
Arisaig will join Scotland’s electric vehicle network with a public electric vehicle charge point at the LSIC’s ‘green transport hub’. This will not only enable visitors and members of the community to charge their vehicles whilst out and about but also make choosing to invest in an electric vehicle a more viable option in a remote and rural area.
We will promote the positive benefits of car-sharing to work, meetings and activities through an awareness-raising campaign. We will make connections between people offering or requesting car space simple and easy by setting up social media car-share accounts. We will encourage links with the existing West Wheels car club, which has already enabled some local people to give up car ownership entirely.