We get lots of emails sent to us personally about the work we’re doing on Eigg. This was one of the most recent – lovely, so we thought we’d share it.
Dear Maggie, Camille and everyone else we met.
We would just like to thank you all very much for making our short holiday on Eigg so enjoyable and stimulating. We felt welcome almost as soon as we stepped from the ferry, and certainly by the time we had got to the tea room ! It was much more satisfying than the usual tourist experience to feel that simply in being on the island we were contributing in a small way to the success of a unique community.
We were particularly impressed by the immediate and very rare sense of having found a community which is thoroughly committed to improving its environment through self-help and adherance to ecologically sustainable living. You have made great use of all the means available to you to communicate your dedication to these principles; as soon as we left the slipway we were hit by your Big Green Footsteps sign on the quay and this set the agenda for the rest of our stay. Your other displays around and inside the tea room / shop building reinforced the message very lucidly and engagingly, and we quickly understood the ethos behind your achievments, as well as the technical basics, without feeling preached at or being blinded by science and jargon. Your very well designed leaflet, which we re-read many times as we explored the island, continued to impress upon us the depth of your commitment, and communicated a sense of excitement at what we can all do, rather than the despair that it is all too easy to fall into at what we can’t.
That excitement and commitment were even more evident in all the conversations we had and, most significantly, overheard. We were only with you for five days but we lost count of the number of times we heard details of energy efficiciency and conservation being casually discussed around the tea room in a way we have never experienced anywhere else. It was truely inspiring to witness it. In what you are doing, and your determination to publicise it beyond your shores, you are ,we believe, making a profound contribution to the fight against the frighteningly dangerous consequences of unfettered individualism and consumerism. By demonstrating so clearly how a strong, mutually supportive community can be so much more self-controlled, creative and effective than its members acting alone are ever likely to be, you are teaching a lesson which it is crucial that we all learn, and fast.
As just one example, the creation of a local power grid and the training of community members to look after it is itself a brilliant idea, but to actually build it and keep it working as well is a tremendous stimulus to the rest of us as we struggle to convince ourselves and others that changes away from established ways of doing things really are possible. The answer is, as you are showing, to work together, sharing risks as well as benefits.
We both offer you all our very best wishes for the future, and hope you enjoy continued success in building on your great achievments.
Andrew McCullagh and Mavis Fawcett