The Last Galloway Footstep?
The final Galloway Footsteps, delivered by Galloway Glens Landscape partnership, focussed on “Outside the Home”. It was a great end to the four-event programme, bringing in guests from Borders Forest Trust, Dumfries and Galloway Council, and the Galloway Glens' own chairman.
The previous events have covered “What we Buy”, “What we Eat” & “Inside the Home” and encouraged people to sign up to Giki, the website which gamifies your carbon footprint reductions. It’s a great website to sign up to as an individual or a team. This programme ended with a team of 38, all working to reduce their carbon footprints. So far, the team have saved 2.5 tonnes of Carbon, and all the commitments they are working towards will save a further 45 tonnes! In addition, the average footstep of the team is well below the UK average.
This event brought Nicky from Borders Forest Trust in to talk about tree planting, focusing on smaller scale, garden species for the most part. There was great advice in how to source the trees, and how to give them the best possible start (including what species to plant here) – anyone interested in this should keep their eyes peeled for the recording when it is uploaded to the Galloway Glens’ Youtube channel.
The next speaker was none other than Dougie Campbell, the council’s Environment Champion. He first set out the scope of the climate change problem and how it may impact on locals, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Campbell went on to talk about some of the things the council is working on, from new forestry and woodland strategies, biodiversity action plans, regional stakeholder networks, climate change citizens panel, partnership working with D&G’s many community organisations, and so on.
Even so, he said that the council needed to “move further and faster.”
This is no surprise – Dumfries and Galloway council declared a climate emergency on 27th June 2019 and went on to commit to being carbon neutral by 2025 – an even more ambitious target than the Scottish Government’s already ambitious 2045 plans.
The council produced a 12-point plan for this target, which happily also mentions biodiversity and the natural environment, not just climate change.
After looking at a wider, council-led approach, we were then taken on a more individual journey with Galloway Glens’ own chairman, Ted Leeming (self-described as an ‘eco-nerd’, which we love). He spoke about some of the changes he has made to his life and business, including no longer travelling for his photography business which had previously been global (and so changing its whole model), and listed some of the best changes we can all make in our lifestyles – including to write to our MPs.
The Carbon Centre has been part of the programme as a member of the steering group, and also as one of the speakers for the “What we Eat” event which you can watch here. It’s been great to see the programme evolve from just a few ideas, into something that is now being taken on by the Biosphere.
At the end of the event, Jenna from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere told the audience that they will be borrowing the concept of the Galloway Footsteps to rollout to some of their communities – this is the result that any new initiative strives for, so it’s wonderful to hear that the programme will have a legacy.
Importantly, the Footsteps programme isn’t stopping there. An early September coffee morning will allow the audience to meet and hear about the next steps – such as what climate change groups may already be operating in their area.
You can still sign up to the Giki team by emailing Helen at Helen.Keron@dumgal.gov.uk.