Over the last month we have survived some serious storms, had our fair share of some beautiful sunshine joined with a touch of frost and now all we await is a lovely sprinkling of snow for Christmas!
On Monday the 14th we held the draw to pick our 3rd household to get a solar water heating panel fitted. We have been running a pilot scheme to monitor fuel usage prior and post panel installation. We have already completed two households using coal and kerosene to heat their water with them being in the post monitoring stages and yesterdays draw was for a wood burning household. Wee Breagha picked a name from a hat and now the lucky winner is to monitor the wood consumption for six months and then it is planned to install the solar water heating panel in June. For a following six months fuel usage will continue to be monitored to then compare data at the end of the year.
As was planned Tasha and Kathleen represented Eigg at NESTA’s reception in the House of Commons, which was a chance for finalists, key stakeholders and other similar climate change campaigners to meet, mingle and network. This
was all a little overwhelming for us with the amount of interest for Eigg and of course the fact we had been on the overnight sleeper that you don’t get any sleep on, getting caught in the morning rush of the underground where you share your personal space with three strangers, and getting to grips with the general fast pace of city ways like standing to the right on the escalator or else you have to run up the left to save emm, a minute!?! The reception was kicked of by encouraging speeches made by Nick Starr the Big Green Challenge judge that visited Eigg in September along with Paddy Tipping MP for Sherwood and David Kidney MP from the Department of Energy and Climate Change. They all expressed how inspiring the finalist’s projects have been and how stimulating and energising it is to see communities work together in such positive ways, wishing all groups the best in the competition and for the future. After the reception all the finalists and a couple of people from NESTA were taken out to dinner and a well needed glass of wine for a chance to meet one another properly in a more relaxed environment. The following day we resisted shopping on Oxford Street and participated in a learning seminar in the NESTA offices. There was near enough two members from each finalist group and everyone gave very honest and informative feedback towards the trials and setbacks each group faced throughout the year. It was very refreshing to hear everyone had similar problems like excessive surveys that didn’t really benefit the community directly like the WWF Behaviour Change survey and the online household monitoring database not being ideal to measure co2 savings effectively. All groups registered that we should have been in contact more throughout the year, although the point was raised that if we had made links it may have taken the competition element away.
NESTA has made it known that an awards ceremony will be held on the 13th of January in the NESTA offices in London to announce the winners of the Big Green Challenge. Unfortunately it falls on a Wednesday so for us this will entail being away from Monday until Friday!! All finalist are encouraged to attend so a couple of us have signed up to take the epic journey and winners or ‘non prize winner winners’ we look forward to sharing a wee dram with all the finalists and congratulate everyone on the extreme commitment and hard work over the last year.
On the 23rd of November in the Science Centre in Glasgow there was a conference, Human Rights and Climate Change organised by the Scottish Government, the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and BTCV Scotland. Lucy did a fantastic presentation with an added mention to cutting out non essential air travel just especially for some of the main organisors of the event who had flown from London! The presentation generated much interest for Eigg from the audience and brought attention to our stall amongst other groups and organisations. Tasha, Ian from Eigg and Emily Read from Eco Drama manned the stall and many folk came chatting with numerous leaflets being given out and a few CD’s sold. It also generated much interest from school groups and universities wanting to take field trips to Eigg next year.
Our woodfuel feasibility study has moved along a pace with the final draft being circulated for final comments and additions before bound copies are made. It looks positive stuff towards creating a small woodfuel business although how that might be structured is yet to be decided.
The Car Club feasibility study is also on the move with a succession of meetings being held in Mallaig, Morar, Arisaig, Knoydart and the Small Isles throughout the last week in November to the beginning of December. Philip Igoe from Common Wheels hosted each meeting with all being well attended by residents to the area apart from Mallaig where no one turned up! However Philip has had positive feedback from those that did attend along with helpful and interesting ideas on how a scheme might work in this area. Without looking into the full figures he assumed with the level of interest shown that a car club could certainly be viable. Now we await Philips suggestions on pricing and basic rules of the scheme which will be circulated for suggestions and further discussion to see if it meets expectations.
An idea that has been in the pipeline for awhile has been encouraging the wider public to take on a 5kw challenge. This has come up through the use our own electricity system and every household being capped at 5kw which we all find a comfortable and adequate amount to live within. We have drafted in the expertise of Osbert Lancaster from Footprint Consulting Limited to assist in the process. So far we have come up with, instead of us attempting to find willing participants, Osbert has suggested and agreed to organise a meeting with an invite to leading electricity providers to the Energy Saving Trust and similar bodies to adopt the concept and encourage their customers and the general public to take on the challenge. A meeting is planned in Edinburgh on the 15th of January. In the meantime if any of you out there want to take on the challenge ahead of time please feel free to do so and tell us how you get on!
I would just like to take this opportunity in wishing you a merry wee time over the festive season, a huge thankyou for your support over the last year and all the very best for 2010!