John Muir Day and Earth Day Coincided with 'Bag the Bruck' weekend here in Orkney this year. Along with a (temporary) slight rise in temperatures after a long cold winter it felt like the beginning of a new year. Lots of community groups joining forces over a weekend made a real difference to the amount of waste lying around on our shores and made the big spring clean an authentic community event.
|St Andrews School bagging bruck at Dingieshowe.|
It was great to see schools involved with Bag the Bruck and even better to know that the idea of taking stewardship for a local beach or shore all year round is spreading. Hopefully the wider community will engage and take action, and looking after our locality, waterway or our shore won’t be seen as something to leave to children and schools.
|Stromness Primary taking stewardship for their shore.|
Last year the Keep Scotland Beautiful ‘National Spring Clean’ campaign ran through April and May, but this year, The Year of Natural Scotland, the campaign has been re-named ‘Clean-Up Scotland’ with the emphasis on year round cleaning and ‘adopting’ a local area either as an individual or as a part of a group. The idea is to get the place looking great for hosting of The Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and The Homecoming 2014. Let’s make sure it doesn’t stop there!
|Bruck gathered at Deerness.|
The idea of taking active responsibility for the environment is a timely one which is gaining momentum around the world. Social media is helping create active networks of individuals and groups, formal and informal, who are getting out on a regular basis and picking beach litter up. From ‘crowdsource cleanups’ to individuals, sharing what we have achieved online helps us to understand the aggregate effect of our actions. Why not visit the PU3P Facebook page and post a photo of what you have picked up?
|More than can be carried at Dingieshowe.|
As Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of 5 Gyres Institute, says, ‘How do you clean the ocean? You clean your local beach!’
|The final haul gets bigger each year.|
The idea of Picking Up Three is that no one needs to feel overwhelmed by the problem and understands that every piece counts. There is a ripple effect of picking up litter. When other people see you do it – they are more likely to feel comfortable doing it too, and less comfortable dropping their own litter. It’s harder to litter a litter free area. People become aware of just what the litter actually is and what it is made of – mostly stuff we use on land and mostly plastics and foams. In turn this is more likely to make us conscious of our choices as consumers.
|A liitle bit each time...|
Next – Orkney Nature Festival! By finding out about the biodiversity around us, and accessing, enjoying and celebrating it, we’ll have even more motivation to look after it.